Handout Considerations

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Apr
  • 14
  • 2007

Dan’s been writing about design in teaching for a while. I fit into the same camp with regard to this stuff and consider myself just about as much of a designer as he does: not much of one, but good enough to have an opinion.

Dan’s entries have all been about design in presentations slides. I design handouts. If I want to make copies of something for my students, I type out the handout myself instead of making a copy of some other teacher’s handout. I do that so I can add, subtract, or just reformat.

While I shirk my responsibility to create engaging visual presentations during class (I am not proud of that Dan, but there it is), I pour hours and hours into my handouts. This isn’t to say that they are top notch, wonderfully designed works of art, but I try really hard to pay attention. Recognizing that I’ve got a lot of information to fit onto the page, I use design to make those fit nicely.

Imagine this: you’ve got a reading schedule to create. You need to fit the page numbers to be read, the dates to read them by, and the dates to comment on other blogs. Which one is better? Which is easier/faster to read? Why? Don’t let the size of these images sway your opinion.

  1. This is one page.
    One-page schedule, landscape layout, all three columns of information side by side
  2. This is two pages.
    Two-page schedule portrait layout, all three columns of information stacked atop on another

Leave a comment. Later, I’ll tell you which one I used this year and why.


1. Tom says:

[4/14/2007 - 8:19 pm]

I like one page but then I like being able to see the big picture. For me the one page version makes it easier to cross reference everything.

I’m a big fan of the idea of design and education. I think design ought to be a required component of teaching degrees. I’ll be checking out Dan’s site.



2. Ms. Q says:

[4/18/2007 - 7:26 pm]

I agree. Number 1 looks better. It is visually more appealing and seems to lay out the information in a more concise and categorized manner, whereas in the second, I had to look a couple of times before I saw categories or the information as being useful. Can’t wait to read what you used and your reasoning.