1. Introduction The purpose of this report is to describe the results of why PowerPoint should be incorporated into interpersonal communication lectures at the University of Minnesota. The findings in this report end with a recommendation to the professor of Communication 3402, stating that when PowerPoint is effectively planned and used it can enhance classroom instruction. I have noticed that when class is instructed in Comm. 3402, the message is targeted towards students’ that are auditory learners.
For an example, most lectures usually involve you speaking the entirety of class, or you have us form into groups and discuss amongst ourselves. This delivery method is not engaging to students’ that learn visually because, visual learners need presentation slides to actively visualize the topic being studied. This report will outline the research methods used, results, discussion of the results’ meaning and lastly a conclusion. 1. 1 Background PowerPoint is a Microsoft designed software program used for creating electronic presentations.
PowerPoint, formally known as Presenter, was created by Thomas Rudkin and Dennis Austin, who worked for the company Forethought Inc. (Austin, D. 2009). At first, Presenter was developed for the use of only Apple Macintosh, but on July 31st ,1987 Forethought Inc. and Presenter were bought by Microsoft Corporation. On May 22, 1990 Microsoft PowerPoint was officially launched as a part of the Microsoft Office package. The reason why Microsoft came up with the name PowerPoint instead of using Presenter is because of licensing issues. The differences between Microsoft PowerPoint and Presenter is, PowerPoint is compatible with oth PC and Mac computers and it allows you to create a custom “look” for your presentation (Funk, E. S. , & Rybin, A. 2010).
1. 2 PowerPoint Operation PowerPoint can grant users’ freedom, meaning they can create simple or highly complex presentations. Some of the features included are pre-made slide designs, transitions and animations. 1. 2 a. Pre-made slide designs- Slides in the PowerPoint world are an empty page that allows users to add videos, texts, graphs and much more. Currently, in the 2015 version of PowerPoint, there are over 25 pre-made slide designs.
Some of the designs included are Droplet, which features a grey background with raindrops and Gallery, which has a beige background with wood flooring. (See Image A and B on Appendices) 1. 2 b. Transitions- are effects added to slides as a user moves forward to the next slide. Some transition effects include Push, which pushes the slide upwards and Wipe, which pushes the slide to the left. (See Image C and D on Appendices) 1. 2 c. Animations- are effects that are added to text or objects as a user enters the slide. Some animation effects included are the Wheel, which pushes the text or object in a circular manner.
Grow/Shrink, which expands and contracts the text or object. (See Image E and Fon Appendices) 1. 3 Cultural Impact PowerPoint has increasingly gained popularity in education and in the workplace over the years. For example, imagine being a teacher, student, or business professional, also imagine it’s a time where PowerPoint is non-existent. Now, imagine that you have a major presentation that is due and that you are responsible for creating visual slides. Does the idea of cutting and gluing graphs and text on to display board sound appealing?
This example displays just a small percentage of how essential PowerPoint has been for professionals since its creation. For example, in a sales class at the University of Minnesota, students use PowerPoint to add graphics to supplement their presentations. Another example, statistics professors at the Carlson School of Management use PowerPoint for posting lecture notes and homework. 2. Methods The information for this recommendation report came from three different types of sources. Most of the sources in this report are peer-reviewed journals.
For electronic sources, I searched through reputable school’s websites, lastly, I held interviews with 5 classmates from Comm. 3402. Together, 1 believe that these three different sources provide information that is necessary to prove my recommendation. 2. 1 a. Print Source – The print sources that are used in this report, all originated from Google Scholar. I consulted journals such as Computers and Education; and Technical Writing and Communications and Active Learning In Higher Education to get a sense of what kind of classroom lectures and presentation research tools show to be the most effective in engaging students. . 1 b. Electronic Source – A potential downside in using electronic sources is dealing with credibility, or biasness within the text. The source that contributes to this report comes from the University of Central Florida. To get to this source, I googled “effective use of PowerPoint”, then I looked for results that were from educational institutions. When I opened the source, I read through the information searching for biasness and credibility issues and I found that there were no issues.
This source stays neutral by listing rewards and draw-backs of using PowerPoint in education. 2. 1 c. Empirical Source (Interview) – L interviewed 5 students in the classroom, I randomly selected the students. The interviews were located in Comm. 3402 classroom. Usually, there are students that show up to class at least 20 minutes early, I conducted the interviews then. There were no recording devices used for the interviews. I asked the interviewees 5 closeended questions (See Image G on Appendices). I choose to use close-ended questions in order to get straightforward answers.
I selected the questions by consulting academic sources that highlight the topic of using PowerPoint in academics. The interviewees all requested to remain anonymous for this report. So, I used pseudonyms (A, B, C, D, E) for each of the five interviewees to maintain confidentiality.
3. Results Edward Tufte who is a professor at Yale University, strongly believes that PowerPoint is “making us stupid, degrading the quality and credibility of our communication, turning us into bores, wasting our colleagues’ time through non-narrative slides and inferior graphics (Amare, N. 2006). From the results that| have gathered, I have evidence that proves that PowerPoint doesn’t harm student learning. 3. 1 a. Experiment at Southern University-In an experiment done at a Southern University, four classes in a technical writing course were studied (Amare, N. 2006). There were a total of 84 students in the experiment, two sections of the class were instructed using PowerPoint and two sections were instructed without PowerPoint. The questions that were asked in the survey measured students’ perceptions through open-ended questions. (Table 1) shows the students perception of PowerPoint vs.
Traditional lecture, as expected, students from the four sections preferred having PowerPoint in lecture. Students who preferred PowerPoint remarked that they “stay focused more consistently on the visuals of PP,” and they like the ease of printing slides, which allows them to review the material anywhere. The results in (Table 2) show that there was a wide variety of majors within the 84 students studied. Approximately one third of the students are in humanities majors, and by no surprise, the students in that major preferred having PowerPoint in lecture over traditional lecture.
3. 1 b. Engaging Students with PowerPoint- There are many effective techniques found that can increase interactivity and engagement between students and students or students and instructor. The first technique is creating a slide at the beginning of the PowerPoint that projects an opening question such as “Take a moment to reflect on____. ” (Teaching with PowerPoint, n. d. ).
The second technique is adding a slide that can be incorporated in the PowerPoint that is titled; “Think-Pair-Share. This technique allows the students to think about what they know, it also allows the students to partner up with other students to discuss, as well as it gives students in the entire classroom an opportunity to share their knowledge. The last technique is having a slide at the end of PowerPoint called the “Muddiest Point”. The point of this slide is it allows student to provide feedback on topics that were challenging. All of these techniques help engage students that are visual learners.
3. 1 c. Content Level- There are three common approaches in which slides can be designed, (1) text heavy (2) some images (3) heavy image (“Effective Use of PowerPoint,” 2017). Text heavy slides are slides that are completely covered in text (See Image H on Appendices). Some images slides are slides that incorporate images with the text (See Image I on Appendices). Lastly, Image heavy slides are slides that rely exclusively on images (See Image J on Appendices). Later on in this report I will make a recommendation on which method will work best for the class. 3. 1 d. Interview Results