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Using PowerPoint in class: PPT lectures. Mitchell S. Sommers Dept. of Psychology Washington University. Overview. Deciding whether to use powerpoint Advantages Disadvantages Personal experiences Most examples from Psychology Appropriate for many fields. Art History.

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Using PowerPoint in class: PPT lectures

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using powerpoint in class ppt lectures

Using PowerPoint in class: PPT lectures

Mitchell S. Sommers

Dept. of Psychology

Washington University

  • Deciding whether to use powerpoint
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Personal experiences
    • Most examples from Psychology
    • Appropriate for many fields

Art History

Highlight specific points

Albrecht Durer,

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,

Woodcut, 1498

  • Genus Helianthus
  • flower typically 10-12” wide
  • edible seeds
  • yield oil
  • grown primarily in Southern U.S.
should you use powerpoint
Should you use powerpoint
  • Extremely useful for
    • Maintaining organization
    • Highlighting important points
    • Legibility (especially in large classrooms)
    • Integration with the web
    • Keeping people’s attention-

“pizzazz” factor

should you use powerpoint1
Should you use powerpoint
  • Not very good for:
    • Discussion based classes
    • Creative feedback
    • Flexibility
other factors to consider
Other factors to consider
  • Time
    • New prep: 3-4 hours/1 hour lecture
    • Convert old prep: 2-3 hours/1 hour lecture
  • Previous knowledge
    • Very easy to learn
    • Learn basics in about 1 hour
other factors to consider1
Other factors to consider
  • Do student like the powerpoint presentations
  • Fall course evaluations for Psych 100
general guidelines
General guidelines
  • How I’ve used powerpoint
    • As general outline
    • Minimal text
  • General design guidelines
    • How much information per lecture
    • How much information per slide
how much information
One slide for every 2 or 3 minutes of lecture time

5-6 items per slide

For every 50 minutes of lecture time, you can display 15-20 slides (2-3 minutes per slide). If you plan to have too many slides, you will not give your students enough time to read each slide and comprehend what you are trying to teach them.

Do not go over 5-6 items per slide, or it will become too crowded to read. The font size has to be reduced due to the amount of information displayed, so legibility suffers with long bulleted lists or text passages.

How Much Information?
general design guidelines 36 point

Recommend at least this size

General design guidelines (36 point)
  • 10 point
  • 20 point
  • 30 point
  • 40 point
  • 50 point
  • 60 point
which background is best
Which Background is Best?




  • Temptation is to get very fancy
    • High contrast (light on dark works best)
    • Red on black (looks great on monitor, projects poorly)
integration of multi media
Integration of multi-media
  • Real advantage of using powerpoint
  • Can integrate almost any medium
    • Pictures
    • Sound
    • Video
    • Animations
    • Web pages

Using pictures as examples

Written points

  • Can perceive things that aren’t really there
    • Can get people to perceive a triangle by using other shapes to create the three vertices

Side by side comparisons

Is the image of man in tie the same size?

With depth cues

Without depth cues

adding pictures not always better
Adding pictures not always better
  • Too much information
  • Generally one graphic per slide
  • Graphic should be focus
  • Text should complement graphic
sources for pictures
Sources for pictures
  • Scan from textbook, pictures, or slides
  • Web – ok but very inefficient
integrating sound
Integrating sound
  • Useful applications
    • Music or music theory courses
      • Compare same music by different orchestras
    • Language courses
      • Present different dialects
    • General background music
      • Can be distracting
    • Demonstrations
      • Hearing loss

What does hearing loss sound like?

Severe hearing loss

Moderate hearing loss

Mild hearing loss

No hearing loss

integrating video
Integrating video
  • Allows for playing short segments
  • Many videos available on Web
  • Leaves lasting image
  • Example
    • Stanley Milgram experiment
    • Telling vs. seeing
milgram experiment text only
Milgram experiment-text only
  • Study on obedience to authority
  • Confederate acts as a “learner”
  • Real subject acts as a “teacher”
  • Teacher and learner put in separate rooms
  • Teacher reads lists of words.
  • If “learner” makes a mistake Milgram tells teacher to give next level of electric shock
    • No shock actually delivered but wants to see how far subject will go
  • Finds most subjects will deliver shocks even when the “learner” screams out loud
powerpoint and the web
Powerpoint and the web
  • Can publish slides to web after lectures
  • Can publish before lecture
    • Especially useful when have many diagrams
  • Convenience of having lecture always available
  • Latest is to use PDA for showing powerpoint lecture
real life example
Real life example
  • First few slides from initial lecture in Psych 100
    • Start with film –showing history of mental health in America
    • Show several pictures of early Psychologists
    • Helps make history more realistic
structuralism first school of psychology

Wilhelm Wundt

Structuralism – First school of Psychology
  • Founded by Wilhelm Wundt
  • First laboratory for study of Psychology
    • Leipzig, Germany 1879
  • Basic ideas of Structuralism
    • Components of experience
    • Study through introspection (science?)
    • Integration of components
    • Example
  • Powerpoint advantages
    • Useful for many disciplines
    • Integration of multi-media
    • Increased student attention
    • Convenience
  • Basic design considerations
    • Avoid having too much information
    • Avoid excessive use of multimedia

End with a bang!!