Richard Davie

      Cheers:  the walk-through of principles has been very useful. I’d actually come across Garner & Alley before via a 2009 simplified professional mag. version of their ‘Thesis plus evidence’ format (I have a PPT slide pro-forma for just that purpose–though I seldom ever use it). In case you don’t know it (unlikely) and need a slimmer version of their idea to hand, the reference is:

      • Garner, J.K., Alley, M., Gaudelli, A.F., & Zappe, S.E. (2009), ‘Common Use of PowerPoint versus the Assertion–Evidence Structure: A Cognitive Psychology Perspective’ in Technical Communication 56.4 (November): 331-45

      I found the ‘make your own slides’ exercise very demanding, at least to do the thing justice (and fell far short of confining it to 4 slides, and took way longer than the 90mins., though that was my choice). Even just of one of the simple aspects of the passive seems so stripped of context and important detail when reduced to 4 slides, but that’s because I was still thinking of it more as a ‘lesson’ rather than simply as single element of one. I also had to get my head around a specific audience in a specific context before I could get to grips with it.

      What this has also brought home is the danger of excessive info. density on a slide; but also the Q: are we designing slides to optimise real-time uptake or as some longer-term archival reference as well? (There’s also the balance between low-density slides and ending up with far too many of them.) There’s probably no ideal answer to all that.

      Anyway, thanks for getting me to think about these things.