The Craft of Scientific Presentations:
Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides

Michael Alley
Penn State
Phone: (814)867-0251

Slide Template:
PowerPoint Template

Described here is a workshop that is designed to help you, the engineer, scientist, or technical communicator, improve your presentation slides. The workshop has two goals: (1) to help you identify and articulate the differences between strong and weak presentation slides; and (2) to help you improve a set of presentation slides on which you are currently working. The workshop consists of lectures, discussions, and exercises.

Pre-Workshop Assignment

As a suggested pre-workshop assignment, create an abbreviated set of presentation slides about a technical project on which you are working. Your set of slides should contain at least 6 slides, should identify the project, should justify the importance of that project, should map the middle of what would be a complete presentation of that project, and then should present a slide from each section of the presentation's middle. To create these slides, please use the following slide template. You are also advised to look at examples on the following web page.

Workshop Schedule

The following schedule presents the topics, exercises, and readings for the workshop on rethinking the design of presentation slides. The readings are from The Craft of Scientific Presentations.

Topic/Activity Reading/Activity
Making slides more readable
Making slides more memorable
Making slides more persuasive
Examining model slides
Critical Error 4
Critical Error 5

Texts and Web Resources

Alley, Michael, The Craft of Scientific Presentations (New York: Springer-Verlag, 2003), 242 pages.

"Rethinking the Design of Presentation Slides," Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students, ed. by M. Alley, L. Crowley, J. Donnell and C. Moore (Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech, 2007).

Last updated 01/2007