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September 30, 2009

Cut down those PowerPoints!

It's such a relief hearing so much talk about how cramming tons of words and information into PowerPoint slides is so... yesterday.

One of the big proponents of that is Guy Kawasaki who created what he calls the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. "It's quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points." Hallelujah!

Check out his entire posting here - http://holykaw.alltop.com/102030-rule-of-powerpoint-0

If there was one rule of thumb we all took into our lectures, workshops, etc., I vote for this one!

September 11, 2009

Ten Teaching Tips

Our Information Literacy Collaborative here at the U of MN came up with this list of teaching tips for our librarians. Great advice - take a look!

1. Less is More. Avoid too much content. Remember the brain can only remember 5 to 7 bits of information--after teaching content include a short activity to help refresh student's brains and allow them to take in more information. Include additional details in a handout or CourseLib page for students to refer to.

2. Write 3-5 learning objectives as you prepare materials for an instructional session. They will help focus your teaching in the limited time you have available. Also ask faculty and instructors for their syllabi or assignment description so you can tailor the objectives.

3. Add a 5-minute "Think-Pair-Share" to help students process. For example, 1.) Ask a question (What are your biggest challenges with doing research? Let's say you are working on a project on health care reform-what is the best place to start? How can you avoid plagiarism? ) and 2.) have student think for a minute then talk to a fellow student for 2 minutes and 3.) then have a couple students share with the group.

4. Make content available after the instructional session such as with a CourseLib/PageScribe page, department blog, handout, PPT, etc. Ask the instructor to forward an email with the material to the students or post it in the course site.

5. Refresh your use of PowerPoint. Look for examples of good PowerPoint usage or presentation tips:
* Presentation Zen
* How NOT to use Powerpoint (Warning: Humorous)
* Doing a 15 Minute Presentation in 10 easy steps

6. Start with an open-ended question ( "What are your questions about the library and research?" "Where do you start your research?" "Do you think research is easier or harder than it used to be?") to get the students engaged in the material.

7. Try a small-scale experiment with technology such as the clickers. Instead of trying to redo your whole presentation just add three questions at the beginning or at the end.

8. Students learn by doing--build short hands-on activities to help students practices what you are teaching.

9. Analogies and stories are powerful teaching tools. Write down a couple or ask colleagues about analogies or stories they use in instruction.

10. Here are a few more readings and resources:
* Eric's Top Ten Teaching Tips
* Adventures in Library Instruction Podcast
* 10/20/30 Rule of Powerpoint
* Less is More: Making Your Presentations Zen-tastic