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Principle Three: Effective online PowerPoint includes a script and narration

Practical Application: Prepare a Script

PowerPoint was never intended to be a completely stand-alone application. It was intended to supplement and enhance a presentation. In the face-to-face environment, the important part of the presentation is the words of the one who is presenting the information. PowerPoint is meant to supplement the narration/lecture; it does not replace it!  Therefore you need to plan on including audio and a script in your presentation; otherwise, you are giving the students the tip of the iceberg, omitting most of the important material.

What should be obvious is that the script is not the PowerPoint. If your narration is going to be available as audio and text, you probably do not want or need a lot of text on the slides themselves. In other words, there are much better ways to present text-based information. Consequently, slides should contain a minimum amount of text. Moreover, when you do use text on a slide, limit the use of bulleted points. Bulleted points may impose an artificial structure on your presentation that stands can oversimplify complex ideas, relationships, and analysis. Some have suggested that each slide should really just have one main idea; that is, the slide presents, illustrates, or reinforces that idea, and the narrative or text is then free to provide more complex analysis.

Another reason to minimize the amount of text on your slides is that PowerPoint has a place for extensive text: the notes section. In fact, there are two major advantages to using the notes section when you create PowerPoint:

It is also desirable simply to make the script available as an HTML page for your online learners. On the one hand, it makes it possible for students who must use screen readers to access the material. On the other hand, it gives students the option of deciding whether the PowerPoint with narrative, or simple text works best for them. It may also be the case that students will want to refer to the script for review rather than launch the PowerPoint presentation again. It should also be noted that when a PowerPoint is converted to Flash using Camtasia, you can easily produce an MP3 audio file that the student can play or download to an iPod or MP3 player. In either case, since adult learners want and need some control over their learning, it is good practice to allow the student to decide which method he/she wants to use.

Preparing a script involves writing and revising. It also requires that you rehearse the script to make sure it "works" as a narrative.