Thursday, August 21, 2014

PowerPoint for First Class Session

The file for download.  (A preview is given, but for the actual file you must download it.)
A pdf version.    (Here the preview has pretty much all the functionality that the file itself has, so download may not be necessary.)

Why am I showing this?  PowerPoint is so ho-hum.  First, let me say that I plan to email currently registered students with these links before the session, then I'll only go over the latter part in class with the actual PowerPoint.  The first part we'll discuss but I will leave the projector muted and try to get class participation going throughout the discussion.  Second, since undoubtedly some students will add after the first session, this gives them something they can use to catch up with their classmates.  But third, the style of presentation is meant as a model for student created presentations (that they can do for extra credit).  It's this third bit that I want to briefly discuss.

The style is meant to mimic a white paper with an executive summary.  The full paper is seen in the notes, with the slide then acting as a header for that section.

The executive summary part can be seen by watching and listening to the presentation when in Slideshow mode.  It should play automatically and can be paused at any time by right clicking on the slide.  (Mac friends - I haven't tested this on a Mac and would be curious to know if it works.)  Most of the slides have images and are very spartan on the text (slide title and back link to where the image was obtained only).  The issue is whether that conveys the gist of the matter.

There is accompanying music.  It may seem gratuitous at first, because the song is not related to the displayed content.  But there are a few sensible reasons for having it.  First, if the song is already familiar to the viewer, then it gives an intuitive way of communicating to the viewer how long the entire show is (in this case 2:32).  Second, it means that if the viewer is watching the show then the viewer is not listening to other audio from the same device.  (In contrast if the slideshow were of much longer duration and there was voice over of the slides, a fairly typical approach for flipped classroom presentations, then it is my experience as a viewer to listen to the voice but view some other content while doing so.)  Entirely prohibiting the viewer from multi-processing is impossible, but maybe this encourages the viewer to pay attention only to this slideshow for the brief time it takes to go through it.

It takes much more time to make a PowerPoint in this manner.  The big deal is image selection.  The person making the presentation has to give some thought to what sort of image is desirable and then must match that ideal with the images that turn up in a search.  It is my contention that this activity produces very similar thinking to the type of thinking one should go through when writing an executive summary.  This is why the presentation style is attractive to me.

I'll close with a mention of Fair Use.  My sense of things is that on the images I'm pretty much okay. (Though on one slide I noticed a mark on the image of the instructor, after viewing it in Slideshow mode.  I hadn't noticed the mark beforehand.)  But on the music, I'm probably not.  I've used an entire song and it is still under copyright.  On the other hand, the music is from fifty years ago, so it should be in the public domain.  And there is a video of the song in YouTube.  So...

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