PowerPoint Overload

As I print thirty pages of PowerPoint slides for my courses this week, I can’t help but wonder when PowerPoint became such an integral part of the classroom experience.

At the risk of sounding nostalgic (or curmudgeon-like), I am forced to think back to my undergrad experiences.  As an engineering student, I only took a handful of courses that utilized PowerPoint as a teaching tool and I occasionally used it as an aid for my own oral presentations.  However, it was far from a standard part of every classroom.

But flash forward just five years, and (at least in the business school) there is a projector in every room and four out of my five MBA courses are taught primarily using PowerPoint.  I’m not sure what to think of it.   It does seem to be pretty effective and some instructors have found innovative ways to teach using the medium: one instructor encourages “active learning” by distributing slides with blanks in the places of key terms and ideas—as we cover the material in class we are encouraged to fill in the blanks.

Are there any thoughts on the use of PowerPoint as a teaching technique?  Have instructors lost the ability to lecture or lead a discussion without a using it as crutch?  Or is its pervasiveness an indicator of its effectiveness?

Reposted from aaron360.com.


[caption id="attachment_824" align="alignnone" width="490" caption="PowerPoint handouts for this week 092709"]PowerPoint handouts for this week 092709[/caption]