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Universities should ban PowerPoint. It makes students stupid and professors boring | By Paul Ralph

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Do you really believe that watching a lecturer read hundreds of PowerPoint slides is making you smarter?

I asked this of a class of 105 computer science and software engineering students last semester.

An article in The Conversation argued universities should ban PowerPoint because it makes students stupid and professors boring.

I agree entirely. However, most universities will ignore this good advice because rather than measuring success by how much their students learn, universities measure success with student-satisfaction surveys, among other things.

What’s so wrong with PowerPoint?

Overreliance on slides has contributed to the absurd belief that expecting and requiring students to read books, attend classes, take notes, and do homework is unreasonable.

Courses designed around slides therefore propagate the myth that students can become skilled and knowledgeable without working through dozens of books, hundreds of articles, and thousands of problems.

A review of research on PowerPoint found that while students liked PowerPoint better than overhead transparencies, PowerPoint did not increase learning or grades. Liking something doesn’t make it effective, and there’s nothing to suggest transparencies are especially effective learning tools either.

Research comparing teaching based on slides against other methods such as problem-based learning — where students develop knowledge and skills by confronting realistic, challenging problems — predominantly supports alternative methods.

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PowerPoint slides are toxic to education for three main reasons.

  1. Slides discourage complex thinking. Slides encourage instructors to present complex topics using bullet points, slogans, abstract figures, and oversimplified tables with minimal evidence. They discourage deep analysis of complex, ambiguous situations because it is nearly impossible to present a complex, ambiguous situation on a slide. This gives students the illusion of clarity and understanding.

  2. Reading evaluations from students has convinced me that when most courses are based on slides, students come to think of a course as a set of slides. Good teachers who present realistic complexity and ambiguity are criticized for being unclear. Teachers who eschew bullet points for graphical slides are criticized for not providing proper notes.

  3. Slides discourage reasonable expectations. When I used PowerPoint, students expected the slides to contain every detail necessary for projects, tests, and assignments. Why would anyone waste time reading a book or going to a class when they can get an A by perusing a slide deck at home in their pajamas?

Measuring the wrong things

If slide shows are so bad, why are they so popular?

Universities measure student satisfaction but they do not measure learning. Since organizations focus on what they measure and students like PowerPoint, it stays, regardless of its educational effectiveness.

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Hospitals measure morbidity and mortality. Corporations measure revenue and profit. Governments measure unemployment and gross domestic product. Even this website measures readership, broken down by article and author. But universities don’t measure learning.

Exams, term papers, and group projects ostensibly measure knowledge or ability. Learning is the change in knowledge and skills, and therefore must be measured over time.

When we do attempt to measure learning, the results are not pretty. US researchers found that a third of American undergraduates demonstrated no significant improvement in learning over their four-year degree programs.

They tested students in the beginning, middle, and end of their degrees using the Collegiate Learning Assessment, an instrument that tests skills any degree should improve – analytic reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving, and writing.

Any university can deploy similar testing to measure student learning. Doing so would facilitate rigorous evaluations of different teaching methods. We would be able to quantify the relationship between PowerPoint use and learning. We would be able to investigate dozens of learning correlates and eventually establish what works and what doesn’t.

Unfortunately, many key drivers of learning appear to reduce student satisfaction and vice versa. As long as universities continue to measure satisfaction but not learning, the downward spiral of lower expectations, less hard work, and less learning will continue.

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By Paul Ralph, University of Auckland. 

 

 

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Opinion

Plates of rice | By Tunde Busari

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Without being prematurely critical, I can only fold my arms and sit to see results which the Southwest Security Network (Amotekun) would bring to the geopolitical zone after yesterday’s passing out of 1500 personnel in Oyo town.

Oyo State Governor Engineer Seyi Makinde has incontrovertibly blazed the trail since all the Southwest governors loudly spoke in unanimity in 2019 to confront headlong the threatening insecurity in the region. So help them, God.

However, I maintain my reservation on the implementation of the security agenda given what looks like hurried pace with which the Oyo State Amotekun was trained and presented to Governor Makinde yesterday. I’m still not convinced that three weeks training can be adequate to face the monstrous problem at hand.

Yes, reports have it that within the three weeks, members demonstrated full grasp of march past. But march past is ceremonial than operational required now. How many weeks do it take secondary school pupils to learn the art to put up flawless displays at annual inter-house sports fiesta?

Anyway, without being critical, I want to believe that Colonel Olayinka Olayanju, the commandant, has, in the past three weeks, subjected the recruits to appropriate reorientation to meet the public expectations in curtailing crimes. I want to believe intelligence gathering skill was intensively taught and exhaustively explored because, in my view, that’s what should be the strong point of the Amotekun in all the states.

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Let us see the police, civil defence and army in their uniforms. We are used to seeing them. We are familiar with them. Let us, conversely, not see Amotekun. Let Amotekun work like undercover. Let them be anonymous. Let them be faceless. Let them work like ghost. Let them walk like Elemosho in Baba Lere Paimo film.

Should Amotekun members also parade themselves on the streets in their flashy maroon uniform, there is tendency that they will abuse their oath and also end in the convoy of politicians at social gatherings. Later, they would also be struggling and fighting themselves over plates of rice and amala. They would be disgracefully giving compliment to every Dick and Harry, including criminal elements assumed to have some Naira notes to throw at them.

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Opinion

Six Consequences Of Being Stingy

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According to the dictionary, ‘Stingy’ simply means unwilling to share, give, or spend possessions or money. Interestingly, many people are yet to discover that selfishness is one of the reasons they remain the way they are.

This is because there is a step on the ladder of greatness that a selfish person may not go beyond. They could live comfortably but they can never be a world changer.

A good way is to critically look at the consequences of being stingy, which is the opposite of being generous and they are as follows:

Inability to take risks

Since the stingy person does not want to lose anything at all and as a result of that , they might find it difficult to take risk in investment. Businesses is all about risk and the higher the risk, the higher the returns and vice versa. Similarly, religion is all about faith, so people take the risk in faith and that’s why they consult God before investing in any business. The stingy does not have faith because they believe their money will be lost if they take a giant step to move further.

Erode people’s blessings

There is blessing in giving. Therefore, failure to give is failure to get blessing. If the Bible which other religions also shared same sentiment with says, “give and it shall be given unto you”, meaning that if you don’t give , nothing shall be given in returns; because if you do not let go the seed, you cannot reap the fruits.

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Deters business expansion

Selfish people lack human relationship because selfishness send people away from you and no matter how talented you are, if you cannot work with people, you may not go far in business world. Most of the times, when you give , the blessing that would come will come through your business or your job but if you are selfish , the blessing that is supposed to come through the business will be denied and thereby deter the expansion of the business.
Selfish people even finds it difficult to pay salaries of their workers and when the workers are not happy, how can the business expand ?

Loneliness

Being stingy discourages friendships and relationships, thus people would prefer not to associate with such individual. Giving attracts people and where the spirit of giving is lacking, people will not like that person and this may cause loneliness to the fellow

Negative confession

“I do not have” statement have ruined many and they didn’t know. Stingy people always saying negative confession, even when they have more than enough they would still not fall short of this negative confession, “I don’t have ” which is a negative prophecy.

Greed

Investigations revealed that the selfish people are much greedier. They always want to get everything to themselves. They are full of ‘I before others’ attitude. Unfortunately, greediness prevents people from the way to greatness.

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Opinion

#EndSARS: The Melancholic Beats Of A Two-Faced Drum | By Wole Adejumo

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I entered Akinola Maja Street, Jericho, Ibadan and approached the Superintendent of Police who was the most senior officer on the scene and after checking his name tag, I greeted him and identified myself, in my characteristic manner; “my name is Wole Adejumo, I work with The Street Journal”. I told him I noticed unusual movements and I came to check what was going on. “It is nothing serious, just a routine exercise”, he replied. So I stood by, blended with the already gathering crowd and looked on.

As the officers marched the suspects out of the premises of a petroleum haulage outfit, I brought out my camera and clicked away. I had barely taken the second picture when a hand tried to snatch the camera from behind me. I turned round to face the person and ensure that I didn’t lose the camera. Behold, it was a police sergeant and within a minute, another policeman had joined him.

I kept struggling until it crossed my mind that struggling for a camera with two men carrying Kalashnikov rifles might not be a very sensible thing to do, especially with the many cases of ‘accidental discharge’ that I had heard of. Help was not coming from any of the bystanders. I left the camera and almost immediately, the Sergeant bellowed at me, “sit down there”.  Of course seeing that the rifles were no longer on their shoulders but in their hands, my compliance was not delayed.

Right there, I was dispossessed of my phones and voice recorder. Minutes seemed like hours and the two policemen were already accusing me of being a “spy”. They put a call through to their superior officer while I sat there on the asphalt. Fortunately, the phone was on speaker, so I heard the conversation audibly. When the Sergeant reported that they had caught me, the response from the other end was “is it the guy wearing a green shirt and blue trousers? Leave him, he is a journalist”. That was how I got to know that it was the Superintendent at the other end. The Sergeant however gave reasons for which they should hold me. “He is a spy, we caught him taking pictures, sir”, he said. This time, the Superintendent said “don’t mind him, he is a foolish man. Wait for me”.

On his arrival, I was ordered to stand up and move towards the patrol van he rode in. He asked what they took from me. When I told him the items, he looked at the Sergeant and said “return his phones”.

By the time I retrieved the camera from the office of the Police Public Relations Officer later, the pictures had been wiped. My voice recorder was never found! Of course, being an expert in damage control, the PPRO apologized and said they were doing their job just as I was doing mine. He gave reasons we should be friends, especially since we had the same godfather. That was around June, 2010.

It didn’t come as a surprise that the then Superintendent’s name appeared conspicuously on the list of officers rumoured to have been penciled down for reprimand by the Force as a fallout of the Anti-SARS protests. Though the Force debunked the list, it might be an indication that the senior officer in question has always had potentials for controversy.

While I cannot claim to have had an encounter with the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), I have friends who cannot say the same.

Way back in 2003, Tunde Aluko was caught in their web twice. The first was when policemen came and claimed that he and two other neighbours were apprehended at the scene of a robbery and they were in SARS custody. The second was when he stopped by at one of the ‘joints’ on Ring Road to buy cigarettes. Gun wielding policemen came and arrested him.

My friend left Nigeria some months after. Why? One of the SARS officers issued him what seemed like a personal threat. “You know this is the second time they would bring you here. You wear designer clothes, expensive watches and jewelries, yet you claim to be a student. If you are brought here a third time, I will shoot you”, the officer told him. Since his mum, who was the source of the designer clothes and watches was not ready to lose him to an embittered policeman’s bullet; she took the all-important steps of taking him out of the country.   

As we already know, SARS is not self-existent; it is a unit in the Police Force. As such, officers in the disbanded unit will be transferred to other units, thus retaining them as members of the Force. They will undoubtedly operate with the same character.

The truth is that the whole Police Force needs to be overhauled. For instance, the officer that shot and killed Jimoh Isiaka during the #EndSARS Protest in Ogbomoso was not from SARS.  Gone are the days when the Force enlisted passionate young people. Not a few of the present crop of policemen are doing the job for want of a better choice. That explains why many officers are unhappy when they see someone that appears to be doing well.

The squalor in the Police College has become an open secret and one wonders how officers trained under such squalid conditions are expected to be happy to secure other citizens.

Quite unfortunately, it is not just a police problem. Earlier in the week, a truck parked on what was supposed to be the fast lane at the popular Mobil Junction leading to Oluyole Estate. Not only did the truck obstinately obstruct traffic, some youths were beside it dancing right there on the road. It was just around 6:50 when people were returning from work. They were marketing a certain “bitters” which was relatively new in the market. They rebuffed my efforts to make them realize that they were wrong to have blocked the road. “Motor wey big pass your own don pass here, oga dey go”, some of them told me as they started banging on my car.

It may not be wrong to infer that from politicians to policemen, community and religious leaders; it is with relentless vigour that people use their positions as tools of oppression and enrichment.

That explains why internet fraudsters suddenly became the prime target of SARS officers. Policemen want money and since Yahoo Boys are cashing out illegitimately, police officers have taken it upon themselves to get a piece of the cake.

Who would blame the policemen? The dilapidation in the average police barrack is more than enough to becloud the vision and competence of even the most upright man in the force. Hardly can any officer living in such an environment give peak performance at work. And sadly, years ago, the Police, SARS inclusive became a tool often deployed by big men to harass people and settle scores.

So when SARS started arresting fraudsters, no one bothered to ask whether powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were being usurped or whether the Police Anti-Fraud Unit had become extraordinarily useless to the point of not being able to handle internet fraud.

Given the same opportunity under the same conditions, many of the #EndSARS protesters and by extension, average Nigerians would fare worse than the people they are protesting against. So, it is not just the Police Force that needs reforms, the government of Nigeria at all levels, and every Nigerian needs to be reformed and re-orientated in one way or the other.

While we look towards ending police brutality once and for all, we also need to look into other forms of abuse that have impeded Nigeria’s progress thus far. For instance, the Manager who will not employ a female applicant unless she warms his bed, the female student who is willing to give sex in exchange for good grades, the lecturer who is willing to aid such student, the civil servant who will not move a file unless he gets a tip and the electorate who sell their votes to the highest bidder are all as bad as the police officers we are all criticizing.

Sir Winston Churchill once said “if you are going through hell, keep going”. The youth have channeled a course and with the assurance that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, the journey into a better Nigeria seems to have only just begun.

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