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Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, July 03, 2006
  There's handouts and then there are handouts...
Here's my thing. I, too, have noted that people stopped giving out handouts. In fact, I attended a heavy-duty molecular biology session that had no handouts -- this was a huge problem (can you say retention?)

I agree that receiving a printout of ppt slides is almost never a good thing. Either 1) the slides can stand on their own (so why are you bothering to give a presentation) or 2) the slides can't stand on their own (so why give people copies of them?). However, if the topic is at all complicated, or if you're giving detailed instructions, or if you're showing web pages -- you should hand people a summary with things spelled out, a list of instructions, a few annotated screenshots, or a list of URLs. It's fate worse than death when someone reads a URL during a presentation.

Some people (like me) need to take notes to remember. If I can take these notes on a sheet that has related information already, I'll be more likely to keep both. Also, I'll be less worried about jotting down enough to re-find pages and resources if I know that I've got the url down already -- that means more time listening.

So, IMHO, best practices are
See, for example, my presentation last year for JHMI -- my slides are different from my handout.
 
Comments:
Christina, I've been trying to use this as I create PowerPoints. It doesn't address your handout problem, but has made my PowerPoints much better.

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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