We’ve all heard it, ‘death by powerpoint’, and we know that we might want to do things differently, or even break away from the whole 55 min standupandlecture thing, but it’s just so hard to do, right? For myself, I saw a presentation by Dick Hardt some time ago that changed how I created presentations, and I’ve done few bullet-pointed ones since, unless absolutely necessary (it’s probably never absolutely necessary, read: when I can’t come up with something more creative in the time!). Dick’s keynote (you can fool yourself that it’s easier to do it in an invited keynote than when you have 20 weeks of lecture content to cover if you really want…!) was about identity – digital identity, which I suspect certainly at the time interested me a lot less than identity, but after watching once, not only was I hooked on his style, but I also could remember loads that I now knew about digital identity that I still in fact remember, and that I suspect know I’d have had no chance with a death by powerpoint presentation. This is quite a long post, and (yes, it could be several, but then you might not get to the others) it might eventually turn into a bit of a pimp my presentations short course, but it’s worth investing the time in. Honestly!

To begin with, check out Dick’s presentation, and see how it compares to your powerpoint slides. Don’t make excuses!

Need reminding/reflecting back some of what you might should have thought? There’s a light hearted version:

and there’s a powerpoint version (nothing like using the medium!).

If you’re now desperate to do things differently, never fear. You may think you have no time to learn anything new, but heroes are at hand. If you’ve never done anything with PowerPoint 2007 other than worry about what’s changed from 2003, then maybe it’s time to grab 5 mins to see how easy it would be to be different. Yes, you can find 5 minutes, and yes, it could be that easy. Obviously, if you have more than 5 minutes then you can do loads more. I say 5 minutes because some of the very best resources on the web I’ve found in ages is screenr tutorials and the Rapid E-learning Blog by Tom Kuhlman and David Anderson:

To ease you in to thinking differently, skim down this advice on client logos. Guess the brand here? Obvious, huh?

Yes, I know that it’s different on campus, they’re not clients with logos (usually) but the E-learning Team could still help you create some visual theme for your module – from a Blackboard banner to header images to folder icons and Word or PowerPoint templates. Drop us a line! And when you’ve skimmed down past the idea of bullets (if you must!) pause a moment on the screenshots of different ways bulleted info could be displayed on screen. And then scroll back up concentrating on the right hand side of the screen, where there are links to many little video tutorials on creating things for PowerPoint. These videos use Screenr.com, where 5 minutes is the maximum, and that some campus staff have begun experimenting with for really simple screen casting help for students. We do recognise that time is precious, but there’s a whole page of tips here to save time which you can re-invest in doing creative things (or recoup, once you’ve invested).

Remember that

To successfully use PowerPoint for rapid elearning, you need to do two things:

  • Rethink how you use PowerPoint. Most people approach it from a linear presentation mindset, building slides the same way they would for face-to-face presentations. That just doesn’t work for elearning.
  • Learn to use PowerPoint’s features. Once you scratch the surface of the tools available in PowerPoint, you’ll see it’s more than adequate for building great elearning. In many ways it’s the ideal choice because it offers a blend of speed, ease-of-use, and cost savings.

There’s a long long set of choices to up your skills bit by bit from here. There are many places to find photo clip art and free images, and some great free softwares to edit pictures to need (or ask the E-learning Team for help)

Perfecting PowerPoint (how can you not read this?!)
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