notes. Restating the material after the
writing is completed reinforces the
material and helps drive home the main
ideas: one instructor writing is bolstered
by one student copying and two spoken
reviews of the material.
19. Don’t fill a slide or the board with
extensive content in small print (e.g.,
Commentary: Students cannot read
and digest vast amounts of material in a
short time—even if they can read all the
details from the back of the classroom.
20. Don’t talk to the board or a monitor.
Do write large enough to be seen easily at the back of the room (and periodically check the board after class by
walking around the classroom).
Commentary: Sometimes in the excitement of the moment, it is easy to rush
through the writing process. At least
for me, the result can be sloppy and
too small—unless I consciously work to
maintain legibility for all (even those in
the back of the room).
21. Do plan what you will put on the board
where, so the presentation will be
logical and easy to put into students’
Commentary: Since slides or board
notes will likely be transcribed into
student notes, the board needs to make
sense as the session progresses. Inserts,
erasures, arrows, etc. can make notes
very hard to follow after the fact, and
students may have difficulty reconstructing the ideas presented.
22. Don’t write haphazardly on the board.
Commentary: Expect that your notes
(from slides or the board) will represent
exactly what students write in their
notes. When your writing on the board
is sketchy or randomly placed, student
notes likely will be similarly unorganized,
and students likely will have difficulty
determining how the pieces fit together.
23. Do assume that what is written on the
board or on slides will be transcribed
into students’ notes (but assume nothing else will go into students’ notes)
Commentary: When I have looked at
student notebooks during office hours
over the years, I almost always can observe copies of what I have written on
the board (not always copied perfectly,
but usually representing a valiant effort
at copying). Although some students
add their own comments during note
taking, my experience suggests that
added comments are relatively rare, and
when present, these comments are only
sometimes on target.
Many thanks to Charlie Curtsinger, Grinnell College,
and Titus Klinge, Iowa State University and Grinnell
College, for providing feedback on a draft of this column
and suggesting additional discussion points for this
column. Some ideas regarding presentations grew out of
materials prepared by Kent McClelland, Department of
Sociology, Grinnell College.
Henry M. Walker
Department of Computer Science
Grinnell, Iowa 50112 USA
DOI: 10.1145/2953885 Copyright held by author.
Lack of definition of terms can represent an
inherent bias toward under-represented
groups who may not have encountered the
terms previously, but could excel if they
were brought into the discussion.
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