Why Do Nursing Instructors Rely So Heavily On PowerPoints To Teach?

  1. I have completed 3 semesters of Nursing School and so far, every lecture instructor has used PowerPoints in the classroom to teach. This method has been used probably 99% of the time. The PowerPoints are provided ahead of time for download on a website, so students can bring them to class. Then, the instructor projects the PowerPoint on a screen and READS it at us for the lecture period (3-4 hours). Occasionally, there is a student question or the instructor may add something.
    Why is this type of "teaching" popular? Why am I spending money to go to class to have somebody read to me when I am fully capable of reading the same material in the comfort of my own home? It seems lazy and insulting to my intelligence.

    Any thoughts? Does anyone else have this experience? Does anyone benefit from this method of instruction?
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    About SarahMaria, BSN, RN

    Joined: Dec '10; Posts: 255; Likes: 385
    Forensic Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience in Psychiatry, Forensics


  3. by   dudette10
    You've got the "teachers" that read the powerpoints (I had one of those), then you have the instructors who provide the powerpoints as a study/review tool and as a way to organize a lecture.

    For me, it's not the use of powerpoints that is the issue; it's how the teacher uses them. Most teachers that I've had know how to use them properly.

    ETA: My first go 'round in school involved no powerpoints at all. In fact, personal computers were a luxury that nearly no college student had. Back then (when I walked 10 miles to school in five feet deep snow , we would take notes by writing like crazy in our notebooks. I would rather have some of the notes provided for me on the ppt's with the instructor's lecture and my notes supplementing what is already there.
  4. by   cicatrixx15
    All my instructors use powerpoints. I really enjoy some of them. The teachers that just have bullets, and then explain the bullets, are better. That is the proper way to use a powerpoint....you can't just write everything down. It's way too boring. I know that senior year, we won't have powerpoints though.
  5. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    I have only had one teacher not use powerpoints and I loved his lectures. He was our Med/Surg teacher, (just retired after this semester) He taught like a Care Map. He would do it all on the white board handwriting, would but the disease he was going to discuss in a circle and branch off from that with the S&S and various other things, he would do another circly for the man subject (like Clinical Manifestations or nursing care) and than branch off from that.

    A lot of students didn't like it but I really enjoyed it, it forced you to A) Come to class because there were no power points B) Pay attention in class because he was constantly erasing for more room C)Having to write the notes down you absorbed it and D) He constantly called on you in class so you had to have your A game on and be ready.
  6. by   coast2coast
    The absolute WORST are the powerpoint slides that are purchased by the same company that makes textbooks. Consistently terrible ... they shouldn't be allowed to use those things.

    Powerpoint is a crutch. To me it is the mark of a weak instructor. It doesn't relate understanding to lecturing or being in lecture. Students complain about having to write too much but guess what? You get better notes without it. Passive reading of slides teaches far less than engagement with the material. You get less information because everybody has to slow down without powerpoint, and the professor has to actually understand and be able to explain the material they're teaching.
  7. by   OB-nurse2013
    I agree!! For a study aid at home they are great but in class so boring and useless. I think it's much better if the instructor actually teaches and interacts with the class.
  8. by   CuriousMe
    All my Prof's use PowerPoint, but they don't read the slides to us. The PowerPoints are outlines of the lecture, not the lecture. During the lecture they really expound on the PowerPoints.

    We also get the PowerPoint files ahead of time, which I love. I import them into my OneNote notebook, and then write my notes right on the slides (I have a tablet PC). It's not passive by any stretch, but I don't have to write frantically, I can just jot down the extra information I need, or further lable a diagram/illustration they're showing us.

    But yes, if my Prof's just read the slides to us....that would be terrible.

    As with most things, it's not the tool but the person using it which makes the difference in quality.
  9. by   That Guy
    PP's are great roadmaps for what is to be covered in class. I would always print them off and write notes to the side. My instructors the past 2 semesters have been masters as adding way more info then they could ever fit into a slide on PP. It is a great tool when used effectively.
  10. by   Moogie
    Much of the nursing education literature suggests that lecture and PowerPoints are ineffective in the teaching/learning process, particularly among Millennial learners, who make up the bulk of the undergraduate population in most colleges today. Moreover, traditional lectures in which only the instructor speaks and the students are required to listen passively may not sufficiently motivate students or inspire enthusiasm or intellectual curiosity. Studies indicate that active learning through class discussion, gaming, or use of clickers to indicate whether students are clear on particular concepts are far more effective in promoting deep, authentic learning than are the more traditional pedagogical approaches.

    However, lectures are still used frequently by many instructors. One advantage of lecturing is that it is cost-effective; one instructor can lecture to hundreds of students, in the classroom or online, whereas more teachers (instructors or graduate teaching assistants) are needed to moderate small group discussions or guide students through activities such as gaming. Additionally, abandoning passive learning means relinquishing some control in the classroom, which results in ambiguity and, occasionally, frustration on the part of the instructor and students. Some educators also are reluctant to move past lectures and PowerPoint because that's how they were taught and they are not convinced that less authoritarian methods can work.

    Frankly, I don't think we should abandon lectures or PowerPoints completely but I think nurse educators need to be creative and innovative in their approaches. I agree completely with posters who have stated that PowerPoints can be effective as guides or outlines for content. The best PowerPoints are rich with illustrations, charts, and other graphics and are aesthetically pleasing. Or they're short and sweet---one of my profs did very short PowerPoints that did not have much in the way of graphics but they were to the point and conveyed what she wanted to say in a concise, straightforward manner. Her presentations were supplements to our learning, not the whole lesson.

    I absolutely agree that canned PowerPoints (that is, the ones supplied by the textbook companies) are terrible. I am sure they are a huge timesaver but they are often so completely worthless in trying to convey important information. I hate to say this but if the instructor doesn't care enough to put effort into even modifying the canned PowerPoints into something a bit more relevant, the students end up not caring enough to put forth their best efforts. It's hard to feel enthusiastic about a class when you get the feeling that your instructor is less than enthusiastic as well.
  11. by   lifelearningrn
    I have had two teachers do the whole teach directly off the powerpoint and I agree it's annoying.

    My AP teacher actually used a powerpoint (which he would not provide to us) during lectures that included graphs and pictures (and he told us 'you can find this graph on google, or in your text, or whatever) and actual lecture content.

    He did provide us with his lecture notes which pretty much summarized the entire actual lecture. Most people printed off the lecture notes and noted information from the PP as we reached that area in the notes since he always elaborated further on every point than what was in the PP or the notes.

    I found this to be a very effective lecture technique. (My Bio 2 teacher did this too)

    PP is a great tool.. but it shouldn't be the ONLY tool.
  12. by   jjjoy
    Don't blame the Powerpoint! I suspect that so much material is crammed into so short a time that for instructors to cover all of the content the solution too often is to read, quickly and without elaboration, non-stop through dozens of pages of material.

    Even before Powerpoint became ubiquitous, too many of my nursing instructors seemed to do just that - no time for questions, elaborations, examples, etc. Why bother having students all come together for lecture at all if the instructors are just going to read out loud to them, and read so fast that's there really no time to process the info before moving right along to the next and the next and the next?

    If I reviewed the material ahead of time, then at least the 'lecture' could function as a mandatory speed review of the reading materials. It didn't help with comprehension or even retention, but it did increase my familiarity with the 'nursing language' and general nursing considerations associated with whatever units we were covering at that time (pediatrics, oncology, etc)
    Last edit by jjjoy on Dec 16, '10
  13. by   SarahMaria
    [quote=jjjoy;4687056]Don't blame the Powerpoint! Why bother having students all come together for lecture at all if the instructors are just going to read out loud to them? quote]

    You made some excellent points.

    I do not blame PowerPoint. I believe PowerPoint should be used as a supplementary teaching tool, not the sole means of instruction. If they are utilized properly in the classroom, PowerPoint presentations can be great. Instructors need to take the time to individualize them (i.e. not use the manufacturer's version), use other teaching materials, encourage student participation, and use varying methods of instruction.

    I have been a student for a while and dealt with many instructors (I have a BA and JD). Throughout 10 years in various colleges, I have never had a teacher who stood in front of the class and read off a screen at us. It is so boring, tedious, and I see no point in attending class.
  14. by   blueyesue
    I think many students learn much better if the teacher says a fact and then writes it down on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Watching him/her write it actually reinforces it in the brain. It's like getting it twice. I also don't like using powerpoint printouts for studying. It is not the best way to learn IMO.