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Performing PowerPoint lectures: examining the extent of slide-text integration into lecturers’ spoken expositions

Hallewell, Madeline; Crook, Charles


Madeline Hallewell

Charles Crook


The PowerPoint assisted lecture (slide-lecture) is a common lecturing approach in Higher Education, in spite of much criticism of its use. Its popularity is facilitated by its affordances for multimodal instructional design, e.g. text with images and speech. Little is known about the integration of different semiotic modalities within the instructional communication practices of slide-lectures, nor the learning conditions that they create. Given that text bulletpoints are ubiquitous in slide-lectures, and may impose linearity into instructional communications (Kinchin et al., 2008), this study explores the extent to which lecturing speech is systematically coordinated with slide-text. Eleven slide-lectures given in psychology departments across the UK were recorded and transcribed. Patterns of semantic matches between speech and slide-text were analysed to produce similarity scores for each lecturer. Lectures were scored using an integration scoring system of 0-1, with 1 indicating a perfect match of speech and slide-text. There was significant departure from a systematic voicing of the slide text (i.e. reading off the slides). Two characteristic speech-slide relationship styles were identified. The ‘referent’ style is one in which the slide is an object of reference for the lecturer to comment on, and the ‘scaffolding’ style is one in which the slide text is blended into the spoken narrative. Consequences of the lecturer’s coordination with presentational slides are discussed in terms of the learning environment it might produce. It is suggested that whichever relationship a lecturer has with their slide-text, students might benefit from the integration being consistent.


Hallewell, M., & Crook, C. (2020). Performing PowerPoint lectures: examining the extent of slide-text integration into lecturers’ spoken expositions. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44(4), 467-482.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 4, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2019
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Feb 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date Sep 12, 2020
Journal Journal of Further and Higher Education
Print ISSN 0309-877X
Electronic ISSN 1469-9486
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 4
Pages 467-482
Keywords Slide-lectures, Lecturer-slide orchestration, mixed-methods, PowerPoint pedagogy, multimodal communication
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Further and Higher Education on 11 March 2019, available online:


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