Friday, October 19, 2012

Low-lighting superfluous text in PowerPoint slides

In his PowerPoint Blog on Tuesday, October 16th Dave Paradi discussed tips on Presenting Legal/Regulatory Quotes. He described several approaches for selecting and emphasizing what’s important in those long boring passages that seem to have been written by lawyers paid by the word.

His discussion made me reconsider a slide (shown above) I’d used before in a lecture on stainless steels. It had quoted the definition for crevice corrosion from a consensus document called NACE/ASTM G193 Standard Terminology and Acronyms Relating to Corrosion. I’d used red to highlight the 29 of 49 words that I considered superfluous. (Getting a committee to agree on a standard often involves adding more words rather than subtracting them).

An alternative is to low-light rather than highlight, and thus to de-emphasize what is unimportant by putting it in light gray rather than black or dark brown. The Study Prof blog described this in a 2009 post on Summarizing to Increase Reading Comprehension - Low-lighting. He also suggested rewriting that condensed text in plain English.

G 193 started out in ASTM, which is the American Society for Testing and Materials.  

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