Originally posted by pyr3
[B]Supplementary material is fine to post after class, but if you're talking about something like a PowerPoint presentation or a lecture outline it's better to post it online first. Like giant said, most students will just print out the slides on paper and annotate them with the additional information that is part of the lecture.
Sign of a lazy prof. Sorry, it's true.
An aside on PowerPoint:
I don't see how 'bulleted lists' are somehow a bad thing. Sure, you can take something like a bulleted list and make each bullet a separate slide with some sort of complementary graphic or relevant diagram (if there is a relevant diagram it probably deserves a separate slide anyways), but the major point of slides is to be an outline of what the lecture is about. You are right that the entire lecture shouldn't be in the slides, but a general idea of what was discussed should be.
Why? Why use slides at all? Any prof worth their pay should be able to give a lecture off the top of their head, talking only, and get the point across clearly.
PowerPoint presentations are a crutch for the *lecturer*. Presentations that are just text outlines are useless IMO - might as well just flesh out a few more bits, and not even bother giving a lecture.
Worse, it's lousy prose. If you're going to give that much text, try *writing* it, instead of using a silly format like bullet lists.
The PowerPoint slides should supplement the lecture with the current topic and maybe a couple of major points about it. It makes is easier on the lecturer in that it frees them up to talk about the material rather than being limited to standing in front of the chalk board writing the entire lecture.
Any diagrams that would have been drawn on the board can be put into the slides. This allows the professor (or grad student) to actually talk about the diagram and point out parts of it rather than spend a bunch of time trying to draw it on the chalkboard.
Quite true - and that's how they should be used - as illustrations, perhaps with a single quote on it that is expounded on for several minutes by the lecturer, etc.
But there should be nothing on the slides (short of complex diagrams, or animations... which the prof should distill into something digestible) that the student cannot reproduce in under 10 seconds, and isn't part of the natural flow of the talk. In other words, the slides should be strictly optional - if the power goes out, the prof should be able to give the same lecture, and the students should be able to get just as much out of it. Relying on canned presentations is just a sign of a lazy prof, and frankly, I feel like I've been cheated when I take a class like that. I mean my god, I can read slides without spending huge sums of money to listen to a prof read them off the screen.
None of this is *very* new stuff. Slides could be make on transparencies and displayed with an overhead projector, but using the computer just makes the task easier. It also makes the task easier on the students. I took a economics class a long time back where the professor used handwritten transparencies and an overhead projector. The problem was that most of the slides were just packed with handwritten text in outline form. He went through the slides so fast that I was not able to write down all of the information in, let alone digest it.
BINGO. Lazy prof. All he did was read the material he could have handed you in print form, saving you all time. The fact he used transparencies is irrelevant.
Now, had he been using PowerPoint slides with the file posted online. I could have printed off those slides and just annotated them with stuff he didn't have on them. It might not have made the slides better, but I would have had an easier time digesting the information without having to worry about writing at 1 page per 1 minute.
NO tool, NO technology is going to make a bad prof better. I also fail to see how this is any different than him handing out lab packs.
Just using PowerPoint as a bullet list maker is lazy, lazy, lazy. There are better ways to get that material across than being limited by PP, if the prof insists on using the outline form for pre-canned notes. Like, say, an RTF file of the outline? You can expand on sections, your notes become a part of the outline, instead of scribbles on the side, and the printout can actually be *more* interactive, yet follow the flow of the talk. Shockers.
Also, you can use a blackboard, overhead projector, *OR* PowerPoint to just present a bulleted list. I've seen it done in all those mediums. It seems foolish to disregard PowerPoint as a tool just because you think that the conventional wisdom around usage is wrong. You claimed that you created an awesome PowerPoint presentation that 'broke all the rules.' If that's so, couldn't you do the same for your classes? There's nothing forcing you to use bulleted lists in PowerPoint. It's like decrying hammers because most people use the head of hammer, but you think it's easier to use the side.
Lazy profs are lazy profs, and they breed lazy students who don't learn much of anything. It's a feedback loop. A lazy prof puts everything into PowerPoint, meaning that they really don't need to be there, and students expect not to have to put any effort into it - so now the students expect PowerPoint bullet lists to have everything pre-digested for them and handed to them. Learning doesn't work that way, no matter what medium you choose to use to disseminate the information.
That's fine, but what we're hearing from people like hardeehar is that "I can learn better without a laptop, so that must be true of everyone." Just as the anti-laptop crowd in this discussion are shooting down anyone that claims to learn better with a laptop, they then go on to use "I do better without a laptop" as proof that it's better for everyone. I don't see how "can I use a laptop in class" is supposed to be some huge concession that's akin hardcore muslims allowing their women to run around without being 'covered up.'
Talk to hardeehar if you have an issue with his viewpoint, I've been very clear in stating that my issue with laptops in the classroom is with people who abuse the privilege (and it *IS* a privilege, not a right) to distract others. When the student starts distracting others in the class *regardless of how they are doing it*, they need to stop. Period. To paraphrase a famous quote: "My right to determine my own learning style in the classroom stops at the point of distracting others." That's all. As long as they aren't distracting others, I really don't care what they do.
However, I'm not going to pander to lazy students, because I'm not a lazy teacher. I work hard to craft accessible and clear lectures, I expect them to meet me halfway. I've printed out, or made accessible my slides for students, beforehand, and the feedback has been nearly universal that they got more out of the lecture than the slides. Many students have been really shocked at how thin the slides are, since they expected to be able to just download them and have that replace the lecture. Nope. I'd be doing them a great disservice if I was replacing myself with slides - they wouldn't be getting the learning experience they're putting out good money for. On the flipside, I make sure that I'm accessible for students who missed a lecture.
Besides, the trend now is that it forces students *to use* a laptop. I can't tell you how many times I've had a prof just sleepwalk through a lecture, commenting every so often "Well, I'll just skip this, it's in the slides online." What about the student that isn't as comfortable with a laptop, or can't afford one? (And yes, there are many who fall into those two categories.) Suddenly they're at a disadvantage for *no good reason* other than a lazy prof and lazy fellow students.
Pushing PowerPoint, or any other shiny new technology, does NOTHING to improve the learning experience for students. Good teachers will use their best tool - their brain. So will good students. The more layers of crud you put between those two, the slower and more diluted the learning will be.