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Ban PowerPoint in Lectures? Yes! Here’s Why

by Bent Meier Sørensen

Any university teacher who does not harbor a painful recollection of a failed lecture is a liar. On one such occasion, I felt early on that I had lost the students entirely: those who hadn’t sunk into comatose oblivion were listless and anxious. Ungracefully, I threw myself even deeper into my PowerPoint presentation to save me from total ruin. Years later, I can still hear myself reading aloud the bullet points from the overhead and see myself turning around to the students to sell these points to them.

Luckily, I have no recollection of what the students thought of it, but my most painful memory is the experience of boring myself. When that happens, it is time to change one’s ways. That’s why I’ve led a move to ban PowerPoint from lectures.

There are a host of possible reasons for a lecture going wrong: a badly planned course, inadequate preparation, feeling uninspired on the day, disengaged students, a crowd that’s too big, a poorly designed auditorium. To this bulleted list of catastrophes comes PowerPoint.

The physical face-to-face lecture is potentially a complex and open event where the students, the readings, the lecturer and a case-based or

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