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Presentation Design for Instructors

Whether you use PowerPoint, Keynote, or some other application, showing slides in class has become a standard method for lecturing in higher education. But are your presentations effective?

There are ways to make presentations more engaging for students and more effective at getting them to retain information:

  • Don't read your slides. If you need lecture notes, don't project them
  • A few words or lines of text on a slide is enough
  • An image or question on a slide is even better (it makes students think, not transcribe)
  • Pause, then talk about what is on your slide, don't read the words
  • Don't use bulleted lists, ever
  • Only create the number of slides that you have time to show (about 2 minutes = 1 slide)
  • Use a variety of types of slides (mix images, charts, phrases, diagrams)
  • Use title slides to introduce topic sections within your presentation
  • Use placeholder slides to indicate time for activities and discussions
  • If you are going too fast for your students, drop the slides and write on the board
  • If you are a great lecturer or storyteller, you may not need slides


Want to learn more?

Contact the Instructional Media Lab (545-2823, or come to one of our workshops on presentation design.

The following resources also have useful information on creating and designing effective presentations: