Designing PowerPoint Slides

Sessions, 2.5 hours

Good research communication skills are important for your students’ PhD journeys and beyond. In this session, guide them to “package the message” effectively, using PowerPoint. Key presentations are likely to include:

  • The research proposal.
  • Doctoral progress.
  • Seminar and conference contributions
  • Teaching.
  • The final thesis to examiners.

Making good PowerPoint slides alone is not enough: students must also learn to deliver a memorable presentation.

Download the curriculum for this session.

By the end of the session, students can:

  • Design their own PowerPoint slides.
  • Deliver PowerPoint presentations effectively.

Gather examples of PowerPoint slides that demonstrate common mistakes or top tips.

To demonstrate how to design PowerPoint decks, prepare steps to project. Ensure that you can project these steps online or on a screen.

Check that each student has their own laptop and PowerPoint program.

Consult these resources. You may decide to share one or more with your students.

Students submit their designed PowerPoint slides for feedback from you or a co-facilitator.


Time Step Who
15 minutes 1. Present the use of PPTs in research Facilitator
90 minutes 2. Demonstrate and practise PPT design Facilitator, students
15 minutes 3. Present PPT tips Facilitator
30 minutes 4. Present and discuss PPTs Individual students, group
Step 1. Present the use of PPTs in research
15 minutes

Give a short introductory presentation about the use of PowerPoints in research and common design mistakes.

Step 2. Demonstrate and practise PPT design
90 minutes

Demonstrate important design points, including how to:

  • Make slides less crowded.
  • Use fonts, colours and templates.
  • Drawing tables, figures and flow charts.
  • Record narration for voice-over PowerPoints.
  • Add videos to slides.

Each student works on their own laptops to design a set of PowerPoint slides to show elements of their own research concept or proposal.

Step 3. Present PPT tips
15 minutes

Present tips on the delivering PowerPoint presentations that audiences will understand and remember.

Step 4. Present and discuss individual PPTs
30 minutes

Select a few students and ask them to present their PowerPoint slides to the group. Invite constructive feedback from other students. Encourage a lively, supportive atmosphere. Finally, invite feedback from co-facilitators and give your own comments.


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CARTA Curricula Copyright © by The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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