Things you wish you learned in college

Education finance website NextPath has an article on 13 Things I Wish I Learned in College. The first two items are particularly good:

Getting to the Point – Most of the term papers I did in college were long and had minimal requirements. The last thing my boss wants to read is a 10 page report that could have been one paragraph long. Professors need to teach students to get to the point and not push for lengthy essays.

I’m a big believer in having students write short, content-rich pieces that make their point convincingly and then stop. Read here for more on that.

Making Proper Presentations – I have made a lot of presentations in college, but the professors did not show me how to successfully communicate my ideas. Having cheesy designed slides may have worked well in college, but in the corporate world simple, effective designs are preferred. Now I have learned that slides with less text and larger font sizes are much more effective then slides with lots of text and small font sizes.

Ever since my Tufte experience, I’ve been in agreement with this. The main problem seems to be that a lot of profs (my pre-Tufte self definitely included) model bad presentation behavior themselves, making slide presentations that consist of nothing but illegibly small bulleted lists — which they then just read directly to the students — and ridiculous “chartooning” effects. Nowadays I consider the ideal presentation to be one that does not involve any text whatsoever except when used as a context tag to explain in less than four words what something is.

Go read the whole thing.

[Hat tip: Lifehacker]

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1 Comment

Filed under Education, Higher ed, Student culture

One response to “Things you wish you learned in college

  1. I *despise* having slides read to me.