Today, I was blinded by large comic sans typeface and pixelated photographs for almost an hour in class. The teachers are getting more “tech-savvy” these days and adapting new methods for teaching (or they do it just to complete the syllabus on time). They get too excited and dump in large diagrams flicked directly from university websites (without mentioning the source) and are happy to just read from the slides than teach by themselves. I think it is my duty to respectfully (ahem) point out some basic powerpoint design etiquette to all the teachers (who’re still in the transformation stages) out there.
Dear teachers, believe it or not, a simplistic direct PPT does work quite effectively on students. No need to exaggerate content just because you have an open digital medium that let’s you do many number of things that traditional methods usually don’t.
- First and the foremost -use decent or plain backgrounds for slides! I know that you get excited seeing many grunge textures and punk pattern templates that microsoft offers, but please refrain from using them against non-elementary reaction flowcharts and kinetics data analysis equations.
- Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – avoid comic sans. Looks like it is your second favorite font after Times New Roman.
- Use fonts that are simple and clear to read – preferably sans serifs. Keep the typefaces & size consistent throughout the presentation.
- Learn color basics (It’s not too late to learn something that doesn’t pertain to your course work. We students learn a lot of non-study related things everyday and it kind of makes us much smarter in the real world). Red on brown, Ink blue on black, yellow on bright orange, etc (you get the drift) will eventually lead to some kind of disorder of vision. Plus, you don’t want us to go blind for the later half of the day.
- If you want me to cite references in my project report, I want you to credit the photographs/illustrations/diagrams in your power point presentation as well. This is a personal thing, but I’d respect you a lot more if you did.
- Don’t use animation/transitions on texts! I really don’t want to see words rumbling and rolling all over the place while reading about atomic force microscopy or something. Save the animations for demonstrating real experimental processes instead.
- 6 x 7 rule – No more than 6 lines per slide and no more than 7 words per line. Use bullets and short-hand writing (consisting of keywords only). We really don’t want to see tons of textbook material copy-pasted on the slides :-|
- Why oh why, did you type EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS?
- Make lists. We all like reading lists that are progressive and lead us to a final result.
- Clipboard is not your toy house! Ok.
- I prefer (personally) if the subject and topic name is mentioned in the footer of every slide. Helps me stick to the theme and not drift away after a couple of slides.
- Important words could be in a different color.