When my teaching moved online I had to re-think how I can make the synchronous parts more interactive – I want to have a discussion based on the asynchronous materials but not follow the linearity of PowerPoint, and I didn’t want to learn a new program.

PowerPoint can be made interactive – I recently discovered clickable menus. This changed how I organise my online discussions, and if/when we go back to face to face teaching I will definitely keep this feature. Having this flexibility makes for a great interactive discussion and moves away from the linearity PowerPoint forces upon us.

To add a clickable menu I recommend that you use a shape, icon or image to represent each topic on a single menu slide (Don’t forget your AltText). You can then let your students decide what order they want to discuss the topics in. No need to remember slide numbers or faff around with the settings while presenting. Just click on the icon and move to that section.

A blue power point slide showing 4 icons. One for each topic - Research culture & Environment, Authorship, Open Access, Anything else.
My clickable menu slide

To get the most out of this set up, I recommend that you have a slide with the same symbol to mark the start of each section. This will be the slide you link to from the menu slide.

A screenshot of the power point slides overview showing 16 slides.
All my slides for my 90 minute discussion – a blue opening slide for each section.

Once you have all your slides set up you can then add the hyperlinks – once the slide has been linked, PowerPoint will remember the links even if you add or delete slides – just don’t delete the linked slide.

To add the hyperlinks select the icon, shape or image and follow Insert > Link > This Document and select the first slide of the corresponding section.

A screenshot from PowerPoint showing the menu slide with the first icon highlighted and the Hyperlink menu open showing the This document section highlighted and Slide 3 selected.
How to add hyperlinks to icons in PowerPoint.

My sections are made up of some question slides to start the discussion for each topic, followed by a few slides with important information I want to share. To make the move to the main menu smooth I added a back button on the last slide of each section. I use the rewind symbol and hyperlinked it to the menu slide.

This set-up allows me to facilitate a more engaging discussion due to its flexibility. Students can dictate the order of the discussion rather than me trying to force an order based on my slides.

The feedback so far has been good and I will definitely use this in more discussions and I look forward to using this in a face to face setting at some point as well.