Author: Paul Ralph

Why Universities Should Get Rid of PowerPoint and Why They Won’t

Do you really believe that watching a lecturer read hundreds of PowerPoint slides is making you smarter? I asked this of a class of 105 computer science and software engineering students last semester. An article in The Conversation recently argued universities should ban PowerPoint because it makes students stupid and professors boring. I agree entirely. However, most universities will ignore this good advice because rather than measuring success by how much their students learn, universities measure success with student satisfaction surveys, among other things. What is so wrong with PowerPoint? Overreliance on slides has contributed to the absurd belief that expecting and requiring students to read books, attend classes, take notes and do homework is unreasonable. Courses designed around slides therefore propagate the myth that students can become skilled and knowledgeable without working through dozens of books, hundreds of articles and thousands of problems. A review of research on PowerPoint found that while students liked PowerPoint better than overhead transparencies, PowerPoint did not increase learning or grades. Liking something doesn’t make it effective, and there’s …