“Beautifying” Slides

I have some resistance to that phrase, hence the inspiration for my reflection today. It carries some connotation that the work is meaningless (this may not be the intent of the speakers) and that is not what I’m doing or my intent. Part of my job as an online ID involves reviewing slides that instructors use in their videos. My review entails looking at all dimensions of slide design, not so much the content, but I try to check if the phrasing is understandable to me, the outsider. At times, I create icons and graphs that don’t take up too much of my time. Slides QC is a very involved process consisting of multiple tasks and decisions.

Outsiders don’t know the whole story of what I do, nor who I am. The odd few comment, out of the kindness of their heart, that I spend too much time on “beautifying” these slides. But my dear readers, the goal is not beauty but the motivational design of instruction – which is an ID’s job – check out John Keller’s ARCS theory.

My job as an ID is complex because ID is an art and a science. A good ID has a sharp eye for art/aesthetics and science. IMHO, s/he should be trained in both art and the learning sciences. I consider that my job — to make faculty look good as learning facilitators, and to make their presentations (and my ID portfolio of work) as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Because my work is an expression of me. To ask me not to create aesthetically appealing things is to go against the grain of who I am. Why would anyone want to create bland un-motivational resources if presented the opportunity? Especially since I know that the graphics team may not have the resources or time to realize my learning vision?

I get to work with stellar scholars and magnificent people. Some instructors are apologetic about asking for some graphics development. “I will not be high-maintenance.” They get it; we are busy. Their requests though do not amount to “busy work” — it is an opportunity for me to make a contribution to create motivational instructional design.


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