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SOME TIPS FOR GOOD SLIDES
1. Don’t put too much on any slide. A few questions, headlines or bullet points are much better than solid paragraphs. You can include more information in the notes sections to make them useful to students who can’t make the lecture or need to read the notes ahead of time for access reasons.
2. Use large fonts. It’s really useful to ensure that everything can be read from the back of the room. Check this out - or get a colleague to run quickly through your slides with you sitting at the back yourself.
3. Check which colours actually work well. Some text colours (notably orange and red) don’t come across clearly at the back of the room. Software allows you to have dark text against light backgrounds and vice-versa. However, light text against dark backgrounds works rather badly if you can’t dim the lighting in the lecture room (for example if there are windows without good blinds). It’s also important to get expert advice on choices of colours suitable for anyone with visual problems or dyslexia.
4. Try to  ll only the top two-thirds of any slide. Students may have to peer around each other’s heads to see anything right at the bottom of a slide - you can tell if they need to move their heads as you reveal a ‘last bullet point’.
5. Use images often. Use video-clips, pictures, cartoons, and graphs, when they help to bring your subject to life. Do, however, use copyright cleared images or make sure you’re not breaching copyright laws when using other people’s images - there are online collections of copyright cleared illustrations you can use without fear of this. Images should be explained verbally if there are students with visual impairments in the class.
6. Don’t include detailed graphs, tables or  owcharts. It is highly likely that the detail would not be clearly visible at the back of the room. Such detail is better made available in downloadable materials.
7. Don’t include ‘slide numbers’ on slides. The software allows automatic numbering if that’s what you want, but not including slide numbers gives you the freedom to pick-and-mix your slides, without your students realising that you’re skipping some of them! It also allows you to post to the programme or course Vision site after the lecture the slides you actually used, and miss out those you might have skipped.
8. Consider carefully whether to publish your slides in advance. When some students may already have seen your slides, it robs you of opportunities to ‘surprise’ them with unexpected quotations, or even ‘fun’ slides. Especially if you’re going to pick-and-mix from your slides as in the ‘hint’ above, only issue later the slides you did actually
use. However, you may want to selectively release slides
in advance to students with special requirements. If your lecturer is to be interpreted in sign language, please ensure the interpreter has a copy of the slides well in advance so they can revise the signs they might use.
9. Don’t cause ‘death by bullet point’ - or animation dizziness! It gets tedious for students if successive bullet points always come one at a time in exactly the same predictable way.
10. Learn from other people’s use of slides. Whenever possible sit in on colleagues’ lectures, and conference presentations and see what works well for others - and what doesn’t.
(At some point you may want to take part in peer support of teaching to continue your development. www.hw.ac.uk/services/academic-registry/quality/ learning-teaching/peer-support-of-teaching.htm
POWERPOINT USER TIP
Remember to switch the display right off now and then - and know how to get it back easily. There are few things worse than a slide staying up on screen too long after it has been used -
for example when you’ve moved on to talk about something else, or are answering a question from your audience - it then just becomes a distraction for your students. An easy way of switching your slides off when using PowerPoint is to press ‘B’ on the keyboard - ‘B’ for black. When you want your slide back, all you need to do is press ‘B’ again - ‘B’ for back. (Alternatively, ‘W’ for a white screen, and ‘W’ for getting your slide back).
This is far safer than risking switching off the data projector with its remote control - some machines take minutes to warm up again if switched off.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS IN LECTURES
A good lecture should be a shared learning experience for all present (not least, you - you  nd out more about the students’ needs, preferences and aspirations each time you give a lecture). Another way of putting this is that any student who misses the lecture should have missed something much more than just the PowerPoint slides, or video-clips and websites you visited. Those who did attend should emerge with much more than just the information on the slides.
Questions and answers work both ways. During your lecture, you’ve got the opportunity to help your students to think and asking them questions helps them to make sense of the topic, and lets you know how well they are doing and alerts you to areas where they are not yet succeeding to get their heads round the subject material being addressed. Allowing, and indeed encouraging students to ask questions helps you to  nd out what your students still need from you on their journey towards achieving the intended learning outcomes. Asking for verbal responses can be highly effective in smaller to medium sized groups and can be incorporated relatively spontaneously into any teaching situation. With some forward planning, digital tools can be used to elicit responses. Commonly referred to as ‘classroom clickers’, most of these audience response systems can be operated via a smart phone. There are a number of advantages over asking students to speak out in class: responses can be anonymous; such tools have been found to be an effective way to include students who speak English as a second language
or who may be reluctant to speak; a class’s answers can be displayed immediately on screen in graph form and can be used as a stimulus for further discussion.
Contact the Learning Technologist in your School or the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Service [LTES] for further support.
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