Re: [xmca] Subtleties of Presentation Media

From: Ed Wall (
Date: Sat Feb 17 2007 - 11:08:21 PST

     Tufte who is worth, at least, browsing speaks
against ppt for a number of reasons although you
could say there are different varieties of ppt. I
use it to present certain information that
doesn't lend itself to quick drawing or writing
(or the disappearing blackboard space) and I use
it to sequence the discussion (although there are
still opportunities to go off track). I also
'provide' it for my students on the web because I
don't want them taking vast amounts of time
copying and little listening to each other
(however, all this ebbs and flows with they type
of course). I do such providing using some
modestly simple software I, more or less,
developed (although for a Mac) which is perhaps
similar to what Michael is talking about. If you
are interested just ask I and I can give you it
and/or the details. You can do this directly by
saving from ppt to webpage, but, my experience,
is that what you get has some quirks.
     Some students, of course, print the slide
show page by page from the web for their own use
which I mind not at all (I think it is dubious to
use other's ideas without reference, but that
that should be discussable). People tend not to
miss my 'lectures,' but that is for a lot of
reasons (I essentially allow them to miss two
weeks for any reason although they need to
demonstrate to me that they have the material
under control and are reasonably in synch with
the class).
     I guess this brings me to what I think is the
most important part of what Michael may be
implying here. If what we do in class can be
equally mastered by staying home and reading a
book or a handout (I did something like what
Michael mentions as a undergraduate much to the
irritation of the instructor as I made it a
little too evident what I thought about what he
did - I was young and fairly dumb about a number
of matters), it might be worth thinking about
what we do in class. This isn't always a 'student
problem' nor is it, in a sense, completely a
teacher problem. De Certeau with his use of metis
(cunning in a sense) makes some interesting, I
think, comments on what may be going on here and

Ed Wall

>Isn't at the heart of all this a problem of how
>we conceive of education. As a student, I hardly
>ever went to lectures preferring instead to read
>several books on the topic. Why do lecturers
>think that what they have to say is so singular
>that everyone has to be there to listen to them?
>Why not rethink university education from the
>model useful during the dark ages when there
>were few or no books around and a lecturer
>produced his/her text to be reproduced by those
>who listen.
> David's problem doesn't change with the
>printed version of the pp slides is a resource
>for doing the same slides again. If David is
>concerned about ownership of his ideas or output
>of his work, he could have produced a web
>version without the provision of the original
>ppt show attached, in which case it might be
>impossible to change the presentation. Embedding
>copyright information on the bottom of the slide
>would have allowed the other person to use the
>slides and David's name would have appeared as
>the copyright holder....
>On 17-Feb-07, at 12:17 AM, David Preiss wrote:
>Re the use of ppt in classes I have started to wonder whether they are indeed
>a good teaching tool. I have seen that, in some cases, they decrease student
>notetaking, student attendance and might erode participation since the set of
>the lesson is pre-fixed and they create the ilussion that they are ALL the
>story. And you can alwats get the ppt as student. So why going to classes?
>Thus, I started wondering how would it be to come back to the old days of
>ppt-less lecturing or reducing them to a minimum. Would love to hear
>Mike Cole escribió:
>>Ugh... michael..... rationality in the sense of having a reason, not
>>necessarily being ugh ugh
>>On 2/16/07, Michael Glassman <> wrote:
>>>What an interesting story. I have been doing some reading and thinking on
>>>connectivity lately and have come to the conclusion that three little
>>>letters - www - are going to change our universe in ways that we can't
>>>imagine. One of the ways I believe it is going to change things is by
>>>changing the concept of boundaries, and the notion that ideas can somehow
>>>can be treated as property. That's right - I think there is a real
>>>possibility that intellectual property will become a thing of the past. Is
>>>this a good thing or a bad thing. It's hard to say, but I think it is
>>>coming. Industries that live on intellectual property rights - like
>>>recording, publishing, entertainment - are fighting like mad, but I'm not
>>>sure they will be able to do anything to stop the wave.
>>>So getting back to your particular scenario. What would have been the
>>>difference if the TA found your Power Point presentation on the internet,
>>>and downloaded it, or better yet hyperlinked it (so many of my students
>>>bring their portables to class - and at Cornell my nephew had to buy one as
>>>a freshman). And then some of those students thought there was something
>>>interesting and hyperlinked it to some people they know. Unless you had a
>>>trackback function, you wouldn't even know where it was going or who was
>>>using it. People would change it, people would add to it, people would
>>>desecrate it. But every person using the idea would be equal because what
>>>was important were the ideas that you created and they took on a life of
>>>their own. Perhaps the slides would come back to you in a form you didn't
>>>even recognize. But it wouldn't matter because you connected with all of
>>>these people - your ideas became viral rather than remaining
>>>hierarchical. The only thing that creates boundaries on the ideas is
>>>rationality. Of cours there may be a really dark side to this whole
>>>phenomenon, there always is. But like I said, I'm thinkng we need to
>>>redefine our ideas of boundaries and ownership.
>>>From: on behalf of David H Kirshner
>>>Sent: Fri 2/16/2007 11:07 AM
>>>Subject: [xmca] Subtleties of Presentation Media
>>>A few days ago I gave a PowerPoint presentation of my research to our
>>>department. After the presentation, a graduate teaching assistant in the
>>>department whom I've known for a number of years asked me if he could have
>>>a copy of the presentation so that he could follow-up with one of his
>>>classes (some of his students also were at the presentation). I
>>>agreed, but after some debate with myself, I decided to give him hard copy
>>>of the slides instead. The medium of PowerPoint would erode the boundaries
>>>between him and me.
>>>Here's a snippet from my note to him. I wonder if this phenomenon has been
>>>observed/discussed before in the media literature.
>>>Comments welcome.
>>>David Kirshner
>>>Hi xxxx,
>>>I've copied out all of my slides (about 50), and left them in your
>>>I'd intended to send you the PowerPoint presentation itself, but in the
>>>felt uncomfortable about doing that.
>>>It's an interesting media phenomenon. If I give you photocopies of the
>>>slides and you distribute them for discussion to your students, it's very
>>>clear what are the boundaries between my contribution, and yours. The
>>>slides are mine, the discussion is yours. However, the PowerPoint medium
>>>inherently incomplete. If you present my slides as a PowerPoint
>>>presentation, it no longer is possible to clearly demarcate our
>>>That's because the in the PowerPoint setting, the slides are inseparable
>>>from the commentary. Thus it's not possible to distinguish what part of
>>>commentary is you and what part is me.
>>>xmca mailing list
>>>xmca mailing list
>>xmca mailing list
>David D. Preiss Ph.D.
>Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor
>Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
>Escuela de Psicología.
>Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860.
>Macul, Santiago de Chile.
>Teléfono: (56-2) 354-4605
>Fax: (56-2) 354-4844.
>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

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