Friday, February 13, 2009

2, 4, 6, Great: Handouts they'll appreciate (Lisa T. blogging)

Anna based her thoughts on handouts on the work of Edward Tufte.

The key point I took away from this session was that the presentation is a summary of the handout. The handout is not a summary of the presentation. When you only have 1 hour (or less) to present something, it's good to have something information-rich for students to take away and read and refer to afterward. Handouts allow active learning - they don't summarize the content of the presentation, but rather give students the content.

People think that students don't read handouts because they're too long, but Tufte believes that to clarify, add detail. We often use bullet points and lots of graphics on handouts, but we shouldn't be using web design principles for the design of printed documents. In the same way, print handouts shouldn't be lists of links - paper documents need to stand alone, and should make sense 2 years from now, even if the links change.

To make great handouts, use tables to align the content, make everything look good in black and white (we don't usually print in colour), use grey lines rather than hard black ones. Insert hyperlinks into the Word doc, but don't type out the URLs you link to.

Once you convert your Word files to PDF, the hyperlinks will become clickable when the PDF gets posted online.

Fit content onto 2, 4 or 6 pages - no wasted space, no wasted paper. Print 4 pages booklet style on 11x17 paper, fold it in half.

Using colour paper is more cost effective than colour ink.

If your content makes sense in a sentence, leave out the image. Images compete with content for space.

Examples of Anna's handouts

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