June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1193.1 - 11.1193.11
Taking Materials Lectures Beyond PowerPoint
Before the days of successful powered ﬂight, aircraft were designed to ﬁt the capabilities of available engines. Orville and Wilbur Wright succeeded in part because they designed the engine to ﬁt the needs of the aircraft. When it comes to presentation software and hardware, most instructors ﬁnd themselves in the position of the Wright brothers’ unsuccessful competitors – designing the classroom lecture and handouts to ﬁt the default capabilities of available presentation technology, rather than designing the presentation technology to ﬁt the needs of the classroom lecture. Most instructors who deliver Materials classes and other survey classes with presentation software use the market leader, Microsoft PowerPoint, not because of its suitability for technical presentations, but because it is widely available. While it is impractical for an instructor to write presentation software, it is certainly practical to improve the selection and use of existing software and hardware to ﬁt the needs of the classroom. For example, the standard handout formats available in PowerPoint lack the ﬂexibility to change individual image sizes, font sizes, line thicknesses, and strategic placement of white spaces for notetaking. However, these capabilities exist in word processors. Today, there is a wider choice of hardware: for example, an iPod is smaller, lighter, and faster to boot than a laptop. This paper documents the evolution of two Materials courses and two other survey courses, from chalkboard lectures, to PowerPoint lectures with standard PowerPoint handouts, to the next step “Beyond PowerPoint”.
First Year of Teaching
When I attended college in the 1980s, all of my professors taught by writing on a chalkboard. Students spent nearly the entire class period transcribing notes from the board. There was very little time available for interactive discussion with the instructor; the traditional lecture occupied the entire scheduled class time. In-class experimental demonstrations were a rare treat, because they took too much time. Twenty years later, when I started teaching at a university, I used the same approach as my former instructors: create a set of notes on paper, then deliver the lectures with a chalkboard. To supplement the lecture material, handouts contained pictures, graphs, and tables that could not be replicated well on the chalkboard. Some handouts were mini-lessons that covered additional material not in the lecture or textbook,1 such as the impact test data in Figure 1. In addition, homework assignments were listed on separate handouts as shown in Figure 2.
Dupen, B. (2006, June), Taking Materials Lectures Beyond Powerpoint Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--156
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