Powerpoint

This semester, I have been doing something I swore I'd never do--using powerpoint to teach my Contracts class. It was a necessity during the first half of the semester--I couldn't walk to the board to scribble unintelligibly. And then, well, since I started, I thought I might as well finish.

Some things are fun--you can pull in pictures easily. Today, for example, I have a picture of Job --complete with boils--to illustrate the patience of one party to a contract before pulling the plug due to repeated breach by the other party.

And then I started thinking about religion and imagery and visual aides. Can we imagine preaching with power points slides? (I was thinking how you'd power point Jonathan Edwards's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.") Now that would be entertaining.

But there's still part of me that wonders if powerpoint is really that helpful a teaching device. It's becoming ubiquitous at professional presentations. Does it have a place in religious communication Is it a way of integrating word and image? Is it a distraction? Any thoughts?

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

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