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Even More Slide Tricks | Ultimate Teaching Presentations | TAPP 96

by Kevin Patton

Even More Slide Tricks | Ultimate Teaching Presentations

TAPP Radio Episode 96


Episode | Quick Take

We continue our two-part series that explores simple ways that we can make our teaching slides more engaging—and therefore more effective for learning. Let’s leave behind those boring slide templates and make our presentations work better for our lectures, case studies, labs, and other learning activities.

  • 00:00 | Introduction
  • 00:46 | Previous Slide Tricks
  • 06:23 | Sponsored by AAA
  • 07:36 | Proper Use of Terminology
  • 14:34 | Distorting Images
  • 15:50 | Sponsored by HAPI
  • 17:06 | Terrific Title Slides
  • 29:12 | Sponsored by HAPS
  • 30:07 | Avoid Presenting in Edit Mode
  • 32:12 | Don’t Read Slides & Don’t Always Follow Rules
  • 34:33 | Staying Connected


Episode | Listen Now

Episode | Show Notes

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. (Albert Einstein)


Previous Slide Tricks

5.5 minutes

Before getting down to learning new tricks, we take a moment to review the tricks already learned (or reviewed) in the previous episode—Episode 95.

cover for episode 96: Even More Slide Tricks with photo of lecture hall


Sponsored by AAA

1.5 minute

A searchable transcript for this episode, as well as the captioned audiogram of this episode, are sponsored by the American Association for Anatomy (AAA) at anatomy.org.

Searchable transcript

Captioned audiogram 

Don’t forget—HAPS members get a deep discount on AAA membership!

AAA logo


Proper Use of Terminology

7 minutes

If we use different terminology or formatting (e.g., of ion notation, chemical formulae, etc.) than our textbook, we need to connect that for students. Even better, stick with the content and style of the textbook. Proper usage models professional and accurate communication for students.



Distorting Images

1.5 minutes

We want to make our images on slides as large as possible. But if we enlarge disproportionately—to make it fit just right—then it may confuse students. At the very least, it will appear unprofessional and perhaps a bit jarring. Just don’t, okay?

distorted image of sagittal section of head showing the olfactory bulb


Sponsored by HAPI Online Graduate Program

1.5 minute

The Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction—the MS-HAPI—is a graduate program for A&P teachers, especially for those who already have a graduate/professional degree. A combination of science courses (enough to qualify you to teach at the college level) and courses in contemporary instructional practice, this program helps you be your best in both on-campus and remote teaching. Kevin Patton is a faculty member in this program at Northeast College of Health Sciences. Check it out!


Logo of Northeast College of Health Sciences, Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction


Terrific Title Slides

12 minutes

Why use boring title slides that simply have the topic, chapter title, and/or chapter number? That signal to students, “prepare to be bored.” Yep, I think so. Let’s chunk our slide decks into short modules, each with an interesting title slide that tells students, “we’re going on another adventure!” Here are some ideas.

Vincent Van Gogh's painting of a skull


Sponsored by HAPS

1 minute

The Human Anatomy & Physiology Society (HAPS) is a sponsor of this podcast.  You can help appreciate their support by clicking the link below and checking out the many resources and benefits found there. Watch for virtual town hall meetings and upcoming regional meetings!

Anatomy & Physiology Society


HAPS logo


Avoid Presenting in Edit Mode

2 minutes

Lots of ideas on using images effectively in our slides. Images may be the true heart and purpose of using slides to teach.

edit screen of PowerPoint with red circle & slash symbol


Don’t Read Slides & Don’t Always Follow Rules

2.5 minutes

Just don’t.

person doing trick on skateboard

Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!

Episode | Transcript

The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of machine and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided.

AAA logoThis searchable transcript is supported by the
American Association for Anatomy.
I'm a member—maybe you should be one, too!


Kevin Patton (00:01):
The physicist and educator, Albert Einstein, once said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

Aileen (00:14):
Welcome to The A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching Human Anatomy & Physiology with a veteran educator and teaching mentor, your host, Kevin Patton.

Kevin Patton (00:27):
In this episode, I continue my two-part series that explores simple ways that we can make our teaching slides more engaging and, therefore, more effective for learning.

Previous Slide Tricks

Kevin Patton (00:46):
Just to be clear, this is the second of two back-to-back episodes that focus on how we can be a lot better at using slides to teach than we often are. That is identifying common practices that don’t work very well for learning, and then finding out some simple ways to turn that around to make our teaching with slides work way, way better. I’m not solely talking about slides that we may use in our lectures. I’m including slides that we use to ask or to set up discussion questions. Slides we use to introduce case studies. Slides we use as references as we draw out sketches on the white board. Slides we use in short video previews or reviews. Well, just all the different ways that we might use slides.

Kevin Patton (01:43):
I also want to point out that it’s intentional that I’m bringing up a few things that you may have heard in past episodes. I’m bringing them up in different ways and in a different context for a few reasons, not the least of which is to repeat them. Yep, that’s how we learn, right? If I tell my students once that signal transduction in cell membranes is important and here’s how it works, well, they’re not going to learn anything if I just do that once. I have to bring up that core concept, when we talk about, oh, I don’t know, synaptic transmission and again when we talk about sensory reception, and again when we talk about hormonal signaling and again, well, every time it comes up. That’s what we do so that students finally get it. So think of these slide skills and slide strategies as, oh, I don’t know, core concepts for teaching with slides.

Kevin Patton (02:53):
In that spirit of repetition or layering or whatever you want to call it, let me quickly run through some of the core concepts I discussed earlier, that is in Episode 95. Even if you just listened to that episode, which really is a good idea to listen again before you listen to this one, this review will be helpful because it’ll trigger a bit of retrieval of previously learned ideas and, well, that’s always a good practice in learning, right? Okay, so let’s do that…

Read More

Kevin Patton (03:28):
In Episode 95, I talked about avoiding too much text on each of our slides and I referred to TED Talks and mentioned how highly effective TED Talks are, at least they usually are. If they use slides at all, they’re going to use very few slides with very little, if any, text on them. Another thing that I mentioned was that if you need text in order to keep you on track or to fill in blanks that you think you’re going to forget, well, then you can put that in the speaker notes; and if you think students need some things in writing to, I don’t know, kind of support the story, well, you want to put that in a handout, especially things like carbaminohemoglobin or endoplasmic reticulum that you want them to get the correct spelling of.

Kevin Patton (04:19):
I talked about not putting too much content in each slide. So, yeah, once we’ve reduced the amount of text we have, but we have 10 ideas on a slide, we went on chunk that so that we have one idea per slide. That’s part of universal design: chunking it so that we can focus on one idea at a time.

Kevin Patton (04:42):
Then I talked about the case when you have a whole bunch of texts on one slide that explains the image that’s on the following slide. In other words, the text and the image are separated from each other. I talked about how it’s best to get those back together and I talked about ways to do that.

Kevin Patton (05:02):
Then I spent quite a bit of time talking about the advantages of using art from the textbook as our primary source of art, and then just seasoning it with a few outside images that we can use to help students make connections. But we want to start with the art that they are, at least, theoretically familiar with because it’s in their text book.

Kevin Patton (05:28):
As I mentioned in the last episode, I started this whole discussion with a few notes and then just kept going and ended up splitting that discussion into two episodes, this being the second. That happened because part of what I do as a faculty member in the Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction Program at Northeast College of Health Sciences is to help A&P instructors get better at their use of slides. So I study instructional design of presentations and I practice it and I listen for what works and what doesn’t work. So once you get me started on something I know a little bit about, well, watch out.

Kevin Patton (06:16):
In a moment, we’re going to start that second part of the discussion.

Sponsored by AAA

Kevin Patton (06:23):
The searchable transcript and a captioned audiogram of this episode are funded by AAA, the American Association for Anatomy at anatomy.org. Now I make it a habit to scan each issue of the AAA newsletter, which is called Anatomy Now. I always find at least one article, and often several, that pique my interest enough to read more thoroughly. For example, an article in a recent issue by my friend Edgar Meyer about how evidence-based mindfulness practice is taught to future health professionals pulled me right in. The article itself is kind of a mindfulness exercise and I came at a moment when, well, that was just what I needed. In fact, I think I might read it again today. Want to check out some Anatomy Now articles or explore other resources of value to us, undergrad A&P faculty? Well, just go to anatomy.org and start exploring, but fill up your mug of iced tea first because you’re going to be there a while.

Proper Use of Terminology

Kevin Patton (07:36):
Another thing that we need to watch in our slides is the use of terminology, including the formatting of terminology. What I mean is, using terminology, we need to make sure that the terminology we’re using in our presentation and our slide is compatible with the terminology in the textbook. Now, terminology is fairly standard in Anatomy & Physiology, but we all know that there are alternate terms that can be used. Sometimes there’s one that’s a little older and is in the process of being replaced by a newer term. Sometimes there’s a newer term that everybody thought was going to take hold and it didn’t, and we’re still using it, and now there’s an even newer term. So then we’ve got three different options and I’ve seen that happen a lot.

Kevin Patton (08:24):
So, I mean, that can happen and sometimes some people really like to use eponyms, and other people really hate to use eponyms and there’s some good reasons to hate them. There are some valid reasons to love them too, but if your textbook is not using eponyms, that is, terms named after someone, and then all you’re using is eponyms, students aren’t going to automatically make that connection. You have to connect it for them. You have to tell them, “In your book, it’s called this, but I’m calling it that.” So, again, making connections for people so that they don’t get confused and left behind before you’ve even had a chance to make your point, because that’s not the point is not the terminology. Terminology is the tool that you use to get to your point, to illustrate your point. So, oh yeah, terminology, we need to try to be compatible in terminology. If we’re not using the same terminology as our textbook, then we need to make that connection for our students, and that includes formatting.

Kevin Patton (09:35):
So, for example, I was talking about ions a little while ago and ion notation can be different. Like calcium can be drawn, or written out is capital C lowercase a, and then a superscript with a plus and a plus. That’s one way to write the calcium ion. Another way to do it is capital C, lowercase a, and then the Arabic numeral two and then a plus sign. So they’re both valid and if you’re using one and the textbook is using the other, students aren’t necessarily going to know or assume that they’re the same thing. They might assume, and I know a lot of thinkers that are like this, very concrete thinkers, especially when they’re encountering something that they’re not sure of, that they’re not confident in, if they see a difference, then there is a difference. So we need to be careful about formatting, and you do that on a test and it can blow some students away. So you want to make sure you do it in a slide.

Kevin Patton (10:35):
I’ve seen a lot of teaching slides where people get a little sloppy, so we’re back to that idea of being detail-oriented, and they get sloppy and they’ll have the calcium ion with plus-plus, but it’s not a super script like it should be; it’s just plain old plus-plus and then later on in the slide, it’ll be CA with plus-plus and now it’s a superscript. Well, that’s just being sloppy or lazy or not taking the time to figure out how to do a superscript in PowerPoint or Google Slides or whatever you’re using. So you need to take the time and effort to do that, and have an editor’s eye, a copy editor’s eye, to make sure that things are consistent. So I’ve seen that with like sodium ions and potassium ions and so on where sometimes it’s a superscript, sometimes it’s not, and it’s supposed to be a superscript. Students need to learn that professional communication is important. If you’re not modeling that, then they are not going to consider it to be important.

Kevin Patton (11:41):
I’ll tell you what, when the health professionals who are taking care of me or my friends or family are putting information into the medical charts and processing that information, I don’t want them to be sloppy. I want them to be very, very precise because those little typo differences can mean the difference between wellness and illness or even between life and death sometimes. So, yeah, we need to do that. We need to take that extra time with our slides, I think.

Kevin Patton (12:15):
One other thing I want to add on here is you want to pay attention to new editions of your textbook. A lot of folks roll over to a new edition of their textbook and they just flip through it and say, “Yep, looks pretty much like the old edition.” I guarantee you, there are thousands, and I’m not exaggerating here, there are thousands of differences between one edition and the next. I know, there’s this myth that all they do is change out a couple of images and slap a new cover on it, maybe change the design a little bit or something like that, different color headings or something, and they call it a new edition just because they want to make money. I am telling you that there are thousands of changes in there, but a lot of them are subtle changes. That little term gets changed to an updated term here. Maybe the formatting has changed. Maybe a definition of something has changed. Maybe an explanation of something has changed. Unless you read through that new edition and pay attention to those differences, what the students are reading in their book is going to be different than the story you’re telling and that, again, is going to introduce confusion.

Kevin Patton (13:34):
Now, there’s always those cases where you disagree with a revision in the textbook, or even the content that’s been in there for several editions. You disagree with it and you feel like there is a more updated version of the story or a more accurate explanation or a clearer explanation or a different model that works better than the model that’s being used in the book. That’s fine. That’s great. That’s part of your job to do that for your students. But you need to call attention to it, because if the students are looking at it one way in their book and they’re hearing or seeing it different in what you’re presenting, that’s a cause for trouble. That’s a cause for confusion. That’s a cause for failure in learning and you don’t want that to happen. I don’t want that to happen. So I’m going to watch for that. I can’t always catch them all, but I’m going to try. I’m going to make it part of my checklist of things to do when a new edition comes out.

Distorting Images

Kevin Patton (14:34):
Now, getting back to images, I mentioned that we want to stretch out our images. I usually grab it by the corner and just pull it out biggest I can without risking falling off the edge or something like that. When I do that, I want to be careful to do it proportionally. I’ve seen a lot of people try to make something fit around another image that’s on the slide or fitted around the text that they insist on having on the slide, and it ends up getting distorted and you think, “Well, you can still read the labels, it’s okay.”

Kevin Patton (15:04):
But you move from one slide to another, and here, that neuron’s plasma membrane looks fat and then you go to the next slide and now it’s all stretched out and real skinny and all the labels are stretched out and they’re long and skinny too. Yeah, they’re readable, but it’s jarring, and students get stuck on that. Now, I’m not saying all students, but some students get stuck on that and it bothers me, too. I think it’s just an aesthetic thing with me and maybe it is with a lot of our students too, but it’s still a barrier. I don’t want this aesthetic barrier there when they should be focusing on the ideas that we’re trying to learn.

Sponsored by HAPI

Kevin Patton (15:50):
The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy & Physiology Instruction. That’s HAPI, the HAPI degree. I’ve worked as a faculty member in this program at Northeast College of Health Sciences from its inception a decade ago and I’m still enthusiastic about what it’s doing for our current learners and our graduates. For example, one recent graduate recently closed up his clinical practice and accepted a full-time faculty appointment teaching A&P. Many have used their HAPI degree and their expanded skill set to move from adjunct to full-time positions. The HAPI degree has given others what they need to achieve promotion at their institution. There are all kinds of reasons that a HAPI degree can help you. Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi. That’s H-A-P-I, or click the link in the show notes or episode page. Last I heard, there were still a few places left in this fall’s new cohort. So yeah, I’d act now.

Terrific Title Slides

Kevin Patton (17:06):
Another thing that I’ve developed over the years, and by that I mean it has come to me over years the value of this; it’s not like I invented it and it took years of invention to do it because I’ve seen lots of other people do this usually in their own unique ways. That’s the cool part of what I’m going to tell you here, and that is use creative title slides whenever I start a new topic. Now, a lot of people organize their slides by chapter in their textbook. So if it’s Chapter 15, then that’s their title slide. They’ll say Chapter 15 might have the name of the textbook or something there, or it might have the instructor’s name or the school’s name or the school’s logo, or a co … who knows what? But, to me, those kinds of titles slides are pretty useless and they’re boring.

Kevin Patton (17:59):
I tell you what, if I’m in a bookstore and you’re browsing at one end of the table of new books and I’m browsing at the other end of the table of new books and you pick up a book and say, “Oh, this looks interesting,” you say, “Oh, what is it?” and then they hold up the cover and it says a book, just in text. It says a book. Pfft, I’m going to think, “Oh, that’s not very engaging.” I want something engaging on the cover. We all know that that’s the whole point of book covers. It does not only tell you what kind of book it is, but to engage you, to pull you in, to make you want to open that book. No, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the book better draw us in so we get past that cover and that’s what our title slides should do, but they almost never do.

Kevin Patton (18:55):
So let’s work on that. I’m challenging you over the next year, start to think about the title slides you use, and if you’re not using title slides, well, why not? I actually have found that it’s not such a great idea to necessarily use chapter titles or to break my slide decks into chapters according to the textbook. I do usually follow the order of topics in my textbook, but I don’t necessarily want to cover the entire chapter in one set of slides. I might have a set of slides called Membrane Potentials, maybe Resting Membrane Potentials, and then another set of slides called Action Potentials or Local Potentials and Action Potentials or something like that, and then Synaptic Transmission; I might have another slide deck like that. It’s okay, they’re all short and manageable that way and also, I can put a link in the last slide, so I can just click that link and it automatically goes to open up that next slide. If I’ve already have it open on my screen, but minimized, then it’ll take even less time to just pop up and it’ll be pretty seamless. So there’s another trick for you.

Kevin Patton (20:17):
So I like to chunk my slide decks into smaller slide decks anyway, and it makes it easy to kind of reorganize the slides when I want to and mess around with them and edit them. I mean, oh, that’s so daunting to have to edit and copy edit and check for superscripts via notation and so on in a big, huge slide deck. But if I can just do this one and then later do that one, because they’re short, then it’s not such a daunting task.

Kevin Patton (20:45):
So, anyway, so I have lots more title slides than probably your average A&P teacher. Think of each one is the start of a new story or a new scene in that story of the human body. So think of it as a cover of a book, and so consider using some dramatic image, something engaging. That could just be maybe an unlabeled image from that part of the textbook chapter that you’re going to be focusing on, and just take a giant neuron and put it there. Or find a neuron in some outside source. Now, we always need to be careful that we’re getting our media from places where we have permission or it’s proper for us to use them. So I go to places like PxHere.com or unsplash.com, and I’ll have those links and they show notes, or you can go to theAPprofessor.org/media, where I’ve been trying to build a sort of a library of places we can go to get media that can be properly used in our presentations.

Kevin Patton (21:57):
So pick one of those and put it on the slide and make it very dramatic. Sometimes I like to use just a plain white background from my teachings slides, but maybe for that title slide have a very dramatic black background or dark background or maybe some kind of a subtle texture. Now, I don’t want it to be too busy and too weird, I mean, unless I’m trying to give a weird vibe for that topic. I want it to be engaging. I want to draw people in and be really cool. So here’s a spot where we can step away from those general rules of textbook images and maybe even have something like fall off the edge of that slide and so on. Like, again, that neuron, let’s be artsy with it and maybe just have the soma there and the other ones are extending off the edge of the slide and maybe turn it around upside down or something so it does look different than in the textbook. There’s all kinds of different like filters and stuff in PowerPoint, if you want to play around with them and so on. I mean, here’s the place to do it because here’s where it doesn’t necessarily need to have the same style or look as the images that we’re actually using to teach a point on our regular teaching slides.

Kevin Patton (23:18):
Now, another option would be to show us clinical condition, some representation of a clinical condition, and maybe have a brief discussion of that and say, “What seems to be wrong with this person here or what seems to be off or a variation in this person here?” You can have a little discussion and say, “Well, okay, what kinds of things would we need to know about the structure and function of the body if we were going to diagnose or treat this person, or understand this illness or this condition? What will we need to know?” and get a little discussion going.

Kevin Patton (23:55):
What you’re doing is having a “Why do we need to know this?” moment. So you’re starting off preparing the students like, “Yeah, we’re going to really dive into membrane potentials here, but remember how we talked about myasthenia gravis or Parkinson disease or something like that? Well, we’re going to get there. We need to know this underlying information. We need to know these concepts of membrane potentials and neurotransmitters and synaptic transmission and so on in order to understand those things.” Or, it could be something as simple as somebody getting a little shot of anesthetic in their jaw to have some dental work being done and so on. That can relate to our action potentials in our nervous system cells, and so on.

Kevin Patton (24:48):
So there’s lots of places to start like that, and it could be just a starter thing and then you don’t necessarily come back to that particular image. But maybe you could have a running case throughout that module and keep coming back and say, “Hey, remember that image we looked at?” Maybe even show that slide, a copy of that slide again and put it in there and say, “Remember that? Now, here we are. Here’s where that’s really going to come into play.” So it’s a running case study type thing.

Kevin Patton (25:21):
Another thing that you can do as a title slide is to find an image from a previous chapter or previous module, maybe just the one right before it, and show that and use that as an opportunity to review some major topic that you know that’s going to be the underlying principle for something that’s coming up in this particular module that you’re doing. So it’s a way to preview what’s going on, review something that was in the past, but also preview what’s going to be coming up in this image.

Kevin Patton (26:02):
Now, something I’ve done for a number of years that I just think is fun and that’s the only reason I did it, and I thought it would be engaging and also a brain break, is to use some classic piece of art, like Botticelli’s [Birth of] Venus or something like that. I’ve used that one when we started talking about certain aspects of the female reproductive system and explain who painted it and what era it came from and what the symbolism is because a lot of art in different eras of different styles have symbolism in it. Explain that symbolism and how it relates to what we’re going to be talking about, and then move on.

Kevin Patton (26:42):
You know what? I’ve had students, and this is more than one student, I swear, I’ve run into them later and they have said to me, “You know what? By doing that, it made me more interested in what was going on with some of that art and I remembered some of it in art history when I took art history.” Some of them have even said, “That’s why I took art history as my fine arts option is because of the things that you did with that.” I’m thinking, “Whoa, this is cool. I should get a commission from the Humanities Department,” or something, but that’s cool. That’s helping them cross over because we hear so much information about how that helps for students to do that, that crossing over of concepts among different disciplines and they can see how the humanities relate to the sciences when we do that sort of thing.

Kevin Patton (27:35):
Another kind of title slide you might want to do is some current news story that relates to the topic you’re about to get into, or some recent scientific discovery that has been made. You can talk about that and say, “Okay, and we’re going to be talking about this science now in this part of the story.” So my advice is to use a title slide and to use that as an engaging transition into a new topic and not just a sharp, sudden, alarming, just jump, “Okay, now we’re done with that. Now we’re starting this,” and oh, man, we need a moment to gather our breath. “Oh, look at that painting. That is kind of cool. I kind of like that,” or “I really hate that,” or whatever and we can use that as a way to put a natural break between things, to help naturally chunk our story into more digestible modules.

Kevin Patton (28:37):
You know what? I’ve done all of these things. You don’t have to adopt one, like, “I’m just going to use classic art from now on in my title slides,” or, “I’m just going to use current news stories,” or whatever. I go back and forth. I mean, my students never know what the title slide’s going to be for the next topic. So that’s another choice that we have.

Kevin Patton (29:00):
Can you believe it? I have even more about teaching slides and I’ll tell you about it when we come back from this brief message.

Sponsored by HAPS

Kevin Patton (29:12):
Marketing support for this podcast is provided by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of Human Anatomy & Physiology for over 30 years. You know what? The annual HAPS conference has been over for a few weeks now and, as usual, I’m still sorting through what I learned. I’ve got notes and handouts and all kinds of resources that I can use to improve my teaching of A&P and improve the experiences of my students. That’s just one of the many resources available in HAPS that support me and support you as you teach your A&P course. To learn more, go visit haps@theAPprofessor.org/haps. That’s H-A-P-S.

Avoid Presenting in Edit Mode

Kevin Patton (30:08):
Yet another thing that I want to recommend about using slides is to always use either the Presenter Mode or the Read Mode to present slides. It’s hardly ever a good idea to use the Edit Mode. I’ve heard some teachers say, “Well, I like to use the Edit Mode because you can see those little thumbnails of the other slides along the side so my students know where they’ve been and where they’re going.” Well, that’s what a handout is for. That’s what an outline is for. That’s something that the students really should have in front of them, because you know what? They can’t read those little thumbnails.

Kevin Patton (30:47):
You know what else? By doing that, you’ve made the whole slide a lot smaller than it otherwise could be. Remember how in an earlier part of the discussion I was emphasizing that our images should be as big as possible and we should use large fonts that are easy for the student to read? Well, if we’re using the Edit Mode to present our slides, then what we’ve done is just shrink that all down and make all of it harder to read. So I think that there are very, very few cases where it’s a good idea to be presenting something in Edit Mode. Instead, use the Presenter Mode.

Kevin Patton (31:23):
Sometimes I don’t like using Presenter Mode because then it comes up with all those speaker’s notes and little thumbnails and all that stuff. To me, that’s distracting. Some people really like it and rely on that and that’s fine if that’s your thing, but I prefer to use the Read Mode, especially like for presenting things on Zoom and so on, because then all I get is the slides and any animations in the slides are going to work. If I’m using the Edit Mode, none of the animations work, none of the slide transitions work, and I always like to make smooth transitions from slide to slide and animation to animation that is bullet point to bullet point. So I emphasize I’m not using the Edit Mode.

Don’t Read Slides & Don’t Always Follow Rules

Kevin Patton (32:12):
Then my last point, and maybe this is the most important point, I don’t know, gets back to the very beginning where I was saying use this idea of would this fly as a TED Talk? One thing they never do in a TED Talk is read their slides. Please, don’t ever read your slides. That’s something that some of us just do subconscious and we don’t realize that’s what we’re doing. I, it’s really a good idea to just glance at what comes next on the slide, and then turn away from the slide and face the students. I mean, that’s good for a variety of reasons anyway. But another advantage is, is then you’re not tempted to read the slide. I can’t tell you how many bajillion budget professors are out there that read their slides and the students hate it. You know what? I don’t see how, as a teacher, you can enjoy teaching if you’re just reading your slides. So please, please, please try to get away from reading your slides.

Kevin Patton (33:15):
Now that being said, I said, that was my final point, but I just thought of another one that’s maybe even more important than this most important point, and that is there’s exceptions to all these. They’re just like rules of thumb. They’re just Kevin’s suggestions. They’re not laws of nature and there are exceptions to all of them. I sometimes violate my own rules, if you want to call them rules, because sometimes it just works better to do the other thing. So, yeah, if I am using a quote from somebody and it’s a paragraph, well, now I have a paragraph, and I just said, “Don’t put paragraphs on your slide.” So I put the paragraph there, and then you know what? I’m going to read it because, well, I have a quote. If you’re not going to quote it, if you’re just going to paraphrase it, then you don’t need the quote probably. So, yeah, sometimes you need to read your slides, or if you’re trying to make an emphasis or if it’s something that you want the students to memorize, some short phrase that you want them to learn verbatim because it’s a helpful rule or mnemonic device or a standard definition or something like that. Yeah, then go ahead and do it. Well, that’ll keep you going for a while.

Staying Connected

Kevin Patton (34:33):
Okay, let me briefly sum up the core concepts of instructional design of our teaching slides that I discussed in this episode. I emphasized that the terminology we use in our slides must be formatted correctly. Now that I think of it, it should be spelled correctly too, which not only models professional communication for our students, it also makes it clear what we’re saying when we tell the story of the human body. When that terminology we’re using differs from the textbook that our students are using, we need to address that to avoid confusion.

Kevin Patton (35:12):
I also talked about the value of making our images big, but the harm that can be done if we stretch them out disproportionally to make them fit the slide better. We may be able to understand the image after we’ve stretched it and skewed it out in some odd way, but new learners may not. They often won’t. So let’s maintain that professional quality while we also help students understand what’s going on.

Kevin Patton (35:43):
Then I talked a lot about the various ways we can use our title slides to be creative and, therefore, engaging. We want to draw students in by using an exciting or even unusual slide. We don’t want to announce how boring our story is going to be by simply putting a chapter number or chapter title on our title slide. We may even want to chunk our presentations into modules shorter than a chapter and start each one of those modules with its own real cool title slide. These title slides can be clinical applications, pieces of art, images from the chapter, current news items, a recent scientific discovery, and engaging stock photo, or, I don’t know, a cartoon related to the topic. The sky’s the limit. Hey, there’s an idea. Start each module with some cool astronomical or landscape or oceanographic image. I got to stop. I could riff on this for another hour, but I’ll let you do that instead.

Kevin Patton (36:55):
I talked about how using the Editor Mode to present slides is rarely a good idea because it makes the main slide too small, and I cautioned us against our natural tendency to want to read the text on our slides, which only very, very occasionally is the right thing to do.

Kevin Patton (37:16):
There’s not always agreement on what a good slide presentation in an A&P course should look like nor is there universal consensus on whether we should be using slides at all. Why not talk about the ideas in this two episode series on slide skills with a colleague? Of course, they’ll have to listen to the episodes first, and there’s an easy way to share this episode with a peer and also earn yourself a little bit of cash. Simply go to theAPprofessor.org/refer, to get a personalized share link that will not only get your friend all set up with this episode, it’ll also get you on your way to earning a cash reward.

Kevin Patton (37:59):
Don’t forget that if you don’t see the links for further exploration in your podcast player, go to the show notes at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org/96. While you’re there, you can claim your digital credential for listening to this episode. And you’re always encouraged to call in with your questions, comments, and ideas for helping us out at the podcast hotline. That’s 1-833-LION-DEN or 1-833-5466-336. Or send a recording or written message to podcast@theAPprofessor.org.

Kevin Patton (38:41):
You’re invited to join my private A&P teaching community way off the social platforms at theAPprofessor.org/community. I’ll see you down the road.

Aileen (38:58):
The A&P Professor is hosted by Dr. Kevin Patton, an award-winning professor and textbook author in Human Anatomy & Physiology.

Kevin Patton (39:11):
Actual crash results may vary.

Episode | Captioned Audiogram

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Last updated: June 30, 2021 at 20:02 pm

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