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Slides and presentations

Brief description

Slideshows and digital presentations are often used as alternatives to classic blackboard teaching and for supporting the teacher’s spoken word by including text, images, audio or video. The material is presented in a predetermined order during the lecture, typically on a large screen in a classroom.

Motivation

You may use slides to structure and gather the academic content for your lecture and to ensure that key points are not forgotten in the lecturing process. Slides can be used as your own notes on the topic, so that you do not need to remember the content by heart. They also enable you to reuse the content for similar presentations in the future.

Slideshows and digital presentations can help alert students’ attention and can support your lecture using visual aids or specific key points that make it easier for the students to remember the content. Slides can also help the students take good and structured notes from your teaching.

Activities

You may use slides and presentations in many different ways. For instance, browse our list of concrete activities and examples of practice in the right margin of this page, or find inspiration in the following brief examples of more general activities:    

Structuring your lecture

You may use slides to structure the content of your teaching, taking into account how best to communicate this. To assist students’ understanding, you may withhold information temporarily and explain basic issues before moving on to more complex matters.

Visual communication

By using models, images, videos, diagrams etc., you can more easily communicate complex issues to the students. You may use concrete tools for visual overview and mind mapping, which you may embed in your slides. Visual aids can make complex data more understandable and can explain misunderstandings in the academic material. They can also prepare the ground for questions in sessions.

Interactive teaching

Use your slides to involve the students, either by including questionnaires along the way, or by embedding exercises and activities at regular intervals to break up the classic lecture.

Student presentations

The teacher may ask the students to prepare presentations on specific topics, for instance in study groups. This will shed light on the students’ understanding, reflections or argumentation techniques and serve as notes for their fellow students. Based on the presentations, you as a teacher can then give the students feedback.

Digital tools

If you do not know which tools to use for the different activities, or what the differences are between them, you may read more about tools below:

The classic program for making presentations. The program is easily accessible and will be familiar to most students. Aarhus University also provides a number of templates for the program, which makes it easily accessible for teachers, who will not need to make an extra effort to design a layout, but can focus instead on the content of their presentation.

Prezi is a more layout-heavy program compared to the classic slideshow tools. The program offers good possibilities to link slides and create an overview. It has many features and is therefore slightly more difficult to get into than the other programs. Like Google Slides, the program can accommodate several users simultaneously, which is convenient for group work, and the extra complexity offers opportunities to prepare more aesthetically sophisticated presentations. 

Google Slides can be seen as a light version of PowerPoint; it has fewer features, but offers similar functionality. This program can be run through a browser and can therefore be accessed from different PC’s at the same time, which makes it particularly convenient. This means that a presentation can be prepared simultaneous by several people, which is convenient for students who are working in groups, but also for teachers collaborating with other teachers or guest lecturers.

Worth considering

Should slides be circulated to the students in advance? Student notes will often follow the outline of the presentation, and some students prefer to write notes directly to the slides or insert elements from the slideshow in their own note-taking software during the lecture.

Which key points and concepts should the presentation communicate, and might these be visualised in a manner that supports the students’ understanding?

Example of a Prezi

The content in this page was developed by Pernille Risør Elving, research assistant at Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media.