Online Course-in-a-Box

Table of Contents 
Recording Lectures
Effective Use of PowerPoint

PowerPoint (PPT) is a handy tool for instructors to present their lectures in both face-to-face and online courses. But the effective use of PPT varies from one mode of teaching to the other. Presenting a PPT manually in a face-to-face classroom is completely different from using it as a lecture slide in a time-based, video lecture. The screen time per slide and textual and figurative content per slide vary in the different modalities, and therefore the instructor should be mindful of the content and the time allotted per slide in online lectures.

In addition, PPT slides used in the online classroom should be fully accessible for mobile devices and should be mindful of the accessibility guidelines for color and information density.

Best Practices

  • Use a widescreen format. Make sure to use a 16:9 widescreen format for your PPT, so that widescreen media content can also be embedded within your slides.
  • Be consistent with the look and feel of your PPT. Maintain consistency in the font size of the heading and body text throughout the PPT lecture. Using a PPT template will help in this endeavor. Minimum font size for a standard 16:9 PPT should be at least 18pt, and for an HD video/1080p equivalent PPT, font should be at least 48pt. Also, remember that fonts are computer-dependent, and some fonts won’t work on all computers.
  • Use quality images. Always try to use high-resolution images that are not pixelated, so that images don’t appear blurry to students. If you need to scale your images, do so proportionally, so that images don’t become distorted.
  • Keep the flow of your PPT simple. Avoid unnecessary animations and transitions between slides and images.
  • Don’t pack lots of content onto a single slide. Consider splitting your content-heavy slides into multiple slides to make it less dense and easier for students to comprehend.
  • Pay attention to color. Be sure to have more than sufficient contrast between the foreground text and background color/design. Also, make sure that the background design for the PPT does not distract from the intended message of your text.


Comparison of color vs. black and white PPT slides (PDF)