Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The mind boggles.

A colleague in my department forwarded the slide, which I initially thought came from The Onion.

Then I followed the link to this article in The New York Times today.

I use PowerPoint in my teaching, mostly as an organizing tool to help me keep my thoughts connected as I talk and to provide a "map" for students to follow - I think it helps them maintain focus. Also, I admit, I sometimes like to have them look at something other than at me.

I do not, however, regard PowerPoint as imaging information any more than I imagine myself necessarily conveying information. I see myself as a guide in the process of learning how to ask and think and answer. In other words, I see part of what I do in my teaching as arguing and persuading. So, I found this striking in the Times report:

Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point.

As a college professor who received an undergraduate degree in English and aspired (and still aspires) to write, it warms the cockles of my heart to read such complaints, coming from the military chain of command.

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