The flu could make Slide:ology required reading for UF faculty

slideologyIn preparation for the potential of a flu outbreak at the University of Florida, the UF administration has announced ways that teachers will be expected to make their course materials available online for those students who cannot attend class because they have the flu and those who do not attend class because they do not want to contract the flu.

UF is wiring auditoriums that seat 250 or more with Mediasite that will provide video recordings of classes.

The other major option is for faculty to upload their slide presentations to eLearning. Almost every classroom on campus — even seminar rooms — has a projection unit and either a computer or a connection for a laptop. The underlying theme is that ALL of us should be teaching with PowerPoint — and now uploading those slides to the course management system.

What good timing for tomorrow’s reading assignment in Mass Communication Teaching — Nancy Duarte’s “Slide:ology — The art and science of creating great presentations.” I look forward to a lively discussion with the grad students in the class, most of whom are teaching assistants on campus.

Three students in the class have provided some of their slides for us to critique in class. In e-mailing their slides to me, two said they are providing “before” and “after” slides, showing how they originally created the slides and how they revised the slides after reading Slide:ology.

I think those of us who have seen PowerPoint presentations would agree with Duarte when she says that most slides contain too much information. She describes three categories of slides:

1) The slideument – This is a slide that contains more than 75 words and has become a document. If you really want your students to read this information, you should provide the slide to them before class so they won’t be trying to read it while you are teaching.

2) The teleprompter – Slides with 50 words are more of a teleprompter, providing a script for the teacher. Not only does the teacher who has teleprompter slides often read them but the teacher often turns his/her back to the class to read from the screen.

3) Presentation – This is the slide that effectively uses visuals and limited text to reinforce the teacher’s presentation.

But there’s a difference between using slides to accompany one’s teaching and using slides as THE teaching. Whereas a slideument would not be effective in teaching a face-to-face class, that’s the very kind of slide that will be encouraged for providing course content by uploading slides.


  1. […] The flu could make Slide:ology required reading for UF faculty « Thoughts on Teaching – view page – cached Sharing ideas, experiences and tips about teaching — From the page […]


  2. thanks for the nod and helping cure the world of swine flu AND bad slides. I have a great tool I can send you if you’re collecting before/after samples. Pop me a note if you’d like a copy.


  3. […] but they fail to warn instructors of the pitfalls of that approach, and they don’t all offer guidance about good ways to make material available online. Just as swine flu propagates through close contact and bad […]


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