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Amy Newman, lecturer of management communication at Cornellís School of Hotel Administration, has created a study room for Cornellís CyberTower on Using Visuals to Support a Presentation: PowerPoint.

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Why use PowerPoint?
How can you design an effective presentation?
How can you integrate PowerPoint into a course?
Should you provide PowerPoint presentations electronically?

Why use PowerPoint?

When used appropriately, PowerPoint can:

  • Frame a lecture.
  • Promote student engagement.
  • Highlight important material.
  • Incorporate complex graphics and video.

How can you design an effective presentation?

  • Consider what information and key concepts you want students to focus on.
  • Provide visual organizers, such as agendas or chevrons that indicate where you are within a lecture.
  • Keep text to a minimum to avoid students merely taking notes and listening passively, and be conscious of color choices for accessibility.
  • Use PowerPoint to convey visual ideas, such as graphs, tables, and images that are not easily represented in other ways.
  • Incorporate questions directly into the slides and give students time to discuss and answer them. Also consider also using i>Clickers.
  • Incorporate a video and frame it with questions students can discuss.
  • Support your PowerPoint presentation with other forms of communication such as classroom discussion, handouts, and videos.

How can you integrate PowerPoint into a course?

  • Think of your PowerPoint presentation as a tool to support rather than replace your classroom instruction.
  • Pay attention to how students are responding to the information.
  • Allow time for questions and clarifications at regular intervals.
  • Turn your screen black (press the "B" button on the keyboard) or white (press the "W" button) when your class lecture or discussion has nothing to do with a slide.
  • Aim to integrate a couple of interactive activities during each lecture session.
  • Have students create their own PowerPoint presentations as part of an assignment.

Should you provide PowerPoint presentations electronically?

PowerPoint enables you to provide your students with class presentation documents electronically.

  • Providing students with presentations before or after a class can reinforce ideas and make learning material easily accessible, but may interfere with class attendance.
  • Providing students with skeletal presentation slides can support note taking, but may interfere with students’ ability to organize their own thoughts to take notes.
  • Providing students with slides, questions, or videos before a session can introduce students to the class topics.
  • Providing electronic slides only to students who request them.


CTI PPT Breathe Life Into Your PowerPoint Presentations pdf (CU NetID required to access. Link redirects to login page.)
CTI Faculty Seminar Series

Places to Go Next

Getting Started with Classroom Technology
Classroom Response Systems


Bart, M. (2009, Aug 3). PowerPoint: Going beyond bulleted lists. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from:

Clark, J. (2008). PowerPoint and pedagogy: Maintaining student interest in university lectures. College Teaching, 56, p. 39-45.

Codone, S. (2010, July 23). Effective PowerPoint presentations. Undergraduate teaching stories [Web log post]. Retrieved from: presentations.html

Crobsy, T. & Stanton, T. (2012, January 23). Every presentation ever: Communication FAIL [Video file]. Retrieved from
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