Pick ONE of these prompt options below, based on Tufte’s PowerPoint articles, and write a paragraph-length response (150 words or so):
1) In your experience at work or in class, is PPT mostly “Phluff” as Tufte says? That is, do most PPT slides and presentations replace analytical content with design/buttons/branding, etc.?
2) Tufte says that in PPT, actual informative and analytical narrative becomes distrupted into disjointed slides and fragments, that PPT “abbreviate(s) the truth to make words fit.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
3) Tufte says that ultimately, “bullet outlines can make us stupid,” and that “what counts are power and pitches, not truth and evidence” in PPT presentations. How so? Can you explain why this is?
4) An element of this article resonates with me as a writer and teacher: one of the most important points which I hope to teach you is that real analysis and understanding happen in the details and data of your writing. According to Tufte (and your experience), how does PPT deal with each of these very important features of communication in writing?
5) One specific point that Tufte makes is that within NASA’s organization, the format in which technical reports are given (especially PPT) obscures meaning and intensity of emotion/idea/thought. Think of other communication formats you know (texting? the five-paragraph essay, email…) and consider how that format does with presentation/information–does that format risk meaning and intensity being lost, or is it a good way to present information for meaning? Why?
A note: PPT, Tufte says, is based in vagueness of language (passive sentences, undefined words, unclear fragments)–this is true, and this (vagueness) is the #1 problem to revise out of your writing in any situation!
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