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The Sciences

Hiding Text in Powerpoint Lectures

Cosmic VarianceBy Julianne DalcantonNovember 13, 2009 8:03 PM


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Uncertain Chad is, well, uncertain, about how best to deal with two competing ideals when using Powerpoint (or Keynote) for lecture classes. On the one hand, nobody likes a cluttered slide. In science lectures it's much better to show a single plot augmented with a verrrry limited amount of text. The clarity focuses the student on the most important point, and frees them to actually listen to what you're saying. On the other hand, it's useful for the students to have a more detailed record of what you discussed while explaining the plot. Yes, they can and should take notes, but there is a natural tendency for students to write down Every. Word. You. Say., since they have no context for prioritizing the importance of the information spewing forth. I prefer to be explicit about what the key points are. My trick for balancing this is using black text on a black background. The text doesn't show on the screen, but it does show up when printed as a handout, since the black background defaults back to white. Thus, you get the following:



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