Week 6: Why is most visual communication so bad? And can we do better?

It feels good to have our first major assignment behind us, doesn’t it? I’m looking forward to watching your videos this weekend, and I will do my best to respond to each of you individually within the next week. The last component of this assignment is for you to watch each other’s videos and then vote for your five favorites. Also, I hope you’ll start sharing your videos with a broader audience. Remember: one of our goals for this class is to get comfortable writing in public, and this is a great opportunity to share your work with the world. (On a related note, if your video is named something like “ENGL 3844 Video Narrative Project” on YouTube, please update it! Think about the potential audience for your video and what they might expect to see on YouTube. Also, consider how you can use the description area under your video to provide context for your video, give credit where credit is due, etc…)

During the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the many facets of electronic slide presentations as we work on the Slide Deck Redesign assignment. We’ll use part of each class period for hands-on work, so you’ll need to bring your own laptop to class or make sure your project files are accessible on one of the classroom laptops.

Here is a quick overview of how we’ll get started on this new project next week:

  • On Tuesday, we’ll discuss the role of typography in slide design. Before you come to class, please read pages 1–61 in Presentation Zen Design and “How PowerPoint Is Killing Critical Thought,” by Andrew Smith. In addition, you should select the PowerPoint file you want to redesign for Unit #2 and bring it to class. (Remember, I have placed several examples in our class’s shared Google Drive folder, but I would prefer that you find a presentation on a topic that really interests you.)
  • On Thursday, we’ll experiment with color and images in our presentations. Before you come to class, please read pages 63–125 in Presentation Zen Design and be ready to apply the principles in those chapters to your project.

If you’d like a second opinion about potential files for your Slide Deck Redesign project, or if you have questions about anything else, feel free to email me this weekend.