Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taking Notes

PowerPoint I've been slightly concerned over the last few days about the number of students in my lectures, all of which have PowerPoint notes online, sitting passively rather than actively taking notes. This has spawned thoughts about the omnipresence of PowerPoint (which is not new) and lecture capture (which is new, at least for us). My first reaction was to have a bit of a rant, but like a good student, instead I went off and trawled the literature for some data.

And the literature is fairly clear that overall, providing PowerPoint notes does not ultimately affect student academic performance. Having said that, there may be some personal benefit in the reverse chic of being the lone PowerPoint standout (Nouri, H., & Shahid, A. (2008). The effects of PowerPoint lecture notes on student performance and attitudes. The Accounting Educators' Journal, 18).

But in spite of that, I still have my doubts. First, I wonder if there is a publication bias against negative results about academic performance and lecture room technologies such as PowerPoint and lecture capture. Second, most of the studies in the literature (as is typical for educational research), have very low statistical power, and I wonder if they are sufficient to overcome the whizzbang shiny effect of high investment technologies. The solution to this problem is a large, multi-centre and possible muti-discipinary study on this issue. But with no supporting evidence in the literature, how could that be justified? I can't find enough negative evidence to conduct my own study on the corrosiveness of PowerPoint. Even if I feel that the world would be a better place without it. And reality television. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

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