Richard Rathe, MD

Associate Professor of Family Medicine (ret.) and Medical Informatician

Using PowerPoint Effectively

Welcome to my PowerPoint resource page. It will evolve over time as new information and links become available. I should begin by saying that I’m not a “Sourpointer”. I use PowerPoint almost every week, but perhaps not in ways you’d expect. I view PowerPoint as just another tool–whose use can lead to good, bad, or even ugly results. I’m mostly impressed by how mediocre PowerPoint presentations can be. It creates a path of least resistance that often gets in the way of meaningful classroom interaction PowerPoint was built for marketing and is great for making a pitch to a potential customer. But colleagues and students rarely want a marketing pitch. Instead they need audiovisuals that support and clarify what the speaker has to say.

I must acknowledge my debt to Edward Tufte who’s work inspired me to look deeper into how information is displayed, transmitted and assimilated–and incorporate these insights into my professional life. His many books are beautiful to behold and a joy to read. He also has an active online forum with many thought-provoking threads. I attended his short course in 2007 and can highly recommend it.

Resource Links

Using PowerPoint Effectively Handout

Edward Tufte Monograph on The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint

PowerPoint Does Rocket Science–and Better Techniques for Technical Reports

Lousy PowerPoint Presentations: The Fault of PP Users?

Editorial Links

‘Teach Naked’ Effort Strips Computers From Classrooms

A Perfect Storm: The Convergence of Bullet Points, Competencies, and Screen Reading in Medical Education

PowerPoint Makes You Dumb

Speaking Truth to PowerPoint

Edward Tufte, Offering ‘Beautiful Evidence’

The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide

PowerPoint is Evil: Power Corrupts, PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely

Learning to Love PowerPoint

If Lincoln Had Used PowerPoint for the Gettysburg Address

PowerPoint: Shot With Its Own Bullets

Absolute PowerPoint

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

The Best Presentation is the One Never Shown