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Testing The Effect Of Sentence Headlines In Teaching Slides

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Use of Technology to Improve Teaching and Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

15

Page Numbers

11.1246.1 - 11.1246.15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/485

Download Count

30

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Paper Authors

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Michael Alley Virginia Tech

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Michael Alley is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is the author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations (Springer-Verlag, 2003).

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Madeline Schreiber Virginia Tech

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Madeline Schreiber is an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. She teaches the introductory level course Resources Geology and higher-level courses in hydrogeology. She has an MS and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BS from Yale University.

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Katrina Ramsdell Virginia Tech

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Katrina Ramsdell is a rising senior in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech. She has performed undergraduate research both in engineering education and in chemical engineering.

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John Muffo Virginia Tech

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John Muffo is the Director of Academic Assessment at Virginia Tech. He is widely published in the fields of institutional research and assessment and is a past-president of the Association for Institutional Research

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Maura Borrego Virginia Tech

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Maura Jenkins Borrego is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She received a bachelor's degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and master's and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 2000 and 2003, all in Materials Science and Engineering. While at Stanford, she studied adhesion of microelectronic packaging interfaces and participated in a number of teaching and mentoring activities. Her current research interests are focused on engineering education research infrastructure, including measures and perceptions of rigor and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Testing the Effect of Sentence Headlines in Teaching Slides

Abstract For the teaching slides in engineering and science classes, instructors often follow the defaults of Microsoft PowerPoint and choose a single word or short phrase as the headline. This paper challenges that practice with experimental evidence showing that a different design using a succinct sentence headline to identify the main assertion of a slide leads to statistically significant increases in the transfer and retention of that assertion. The experimental tests occurred in a large, lecture-based geoscience course that typically had 200 students per section. For the study, the same instructor, during five class periods, used about 100 slides with mostly phrase headlines to communicate the information to two sections of students and then used the same number of slides with succinct sentence headlines to communicate the same information to two additional sections. In the slide transformations, other changes occurred such as typographical changes and conversions of bullet lists to more visual evidence. However, for the fifteen slide transformations considered in this study, the principal change was the conversion of a traditional headline to a succinct sentence headline. For example, in one transformation, the phrase headline Placer Deposits in the original slide was changed to Placer deposits arise from erosion of lode deposits in the transformed slide. When asked to recall the main assertions of slides, the students in the sections taught with the sentence-headline slides had significantly higher recall. For the fifteen questions in the study, the average score for the students viewing the sentence-headline slides was 79% correct, while the average for the students viewing the traditional slides was only 69% correct. A chi-square analysis shows that this difference is statistically significant at the 0.001 significance level. On seven of the fifteen questions, the students in the section with the sentence- headline slides achieved statistically significant higher scores (three at the 0.001 significance level, three at the 0.005 significance level, and one at the 0.025 significance level), while on only two questions did these same students achieve lower test scores that were statistically significant (both at the 0.01 significance level). In this classroom situation, all four sections of students not only viewed the slides during class, but also had access to the slides as notes after the presentation. The results of these tests have implications in the way that educators design not only their teaching slides, but also their research slides.

Introduction The typography and layout defaults of Microsoft PowerPoint, which has 95 percent of the market share for presentation slide software [1], compel presenters to create headlines that are single words or short phrases. Not surprisingly, in a typical

Alley, M., & Schreiber, M., & Ramsdell, K., & Muffo, J., & Borrego, M. (2006, June), Testing The Effect Of Sentence Headlines In Teaching Slides Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/485

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