Activities for FYF
7 December 2009
How to make a great poster
The purposes of today's session are
- Provide an overview of the
- Discuss one website that
gives great information about posters
- Discuss the teams for your
- Review some of the posters
that are hanging on the Biology Department halls
- Discuss the timetable for
preparation of your poster
As noted previously in class, you are being asked to
help create one of nine posters that will collectively cover the nine
webquest topics discussed in FYF 101J. Once completed, posters
will be displayed in the Biology Department hallway for the first five
weeks of the spring semester. They will be made
available on the Internet for the world to see. In
addition, your posters will likely be displayed in upcoming on-campus
and off-campus events dealing with alternative energy.
Posters as a Way of Communicating
The key point is that your posters will likely have a mixed audience,
you should gear them toward informing an intelligent public (say
college-age) about your topic. Thus, they should provide some
introduction to the topic, but they should address some of the
subtantive issues that you discussed in your Webquest.
Your poster will be graded on a 50 point basis. Grading will be
based on content, design, and execution.
Posters are a popular way to
present information at technical meetings. Most conferences have
dedicated sessions in which presenters are given a space to tack up a
36" x 48" poster. Those sessions are often held in large rooms
with dozens of posters - often clustered by topic. Some meetings
have both informal times in which the authors are not present, and
formal times in which the authors are required to stand by their poster
to answer questions. Many conferences even hold "poster pubs" in
which beverages and food are made available when the authors are
Many people prefer to present posters, rather than give oral
presentations, because they can engage in more meaningful discussions
with conference attendees. Many a job interview has been arranged
during a poster session.
Making a Great Poster
Posters represent a form of
communication that is inherently
different from oral presentations and published articles. Posters
address the "3-30-3" phenomenon. Simply put, you will have 3
to attract a passerby, Next you must be able to provide something
interesting to a person willing to spend 30 seconds at your
Finally, you should be able to keep that person sufficiently interested
to spend at least 3 minutes looking through the details of your effort.
Evaluating Available Posters
Thus, to have an effective poster, you have to pay close attention to
effective design, as well as have an important message to convey.
Unfortunately, poorly designed posters are easy to find at meetings -
typically because they attract few visitors. Poster creators have
to walk a fine line between providing too much information in a highly
detailed poster that overwhelms, and providing superficial information
in an oversimplified poster that insults.
Numerous online and print-based resources provide information on how to
create effective posters. One excellent resource is posted by a
University of Michigan professor, and is available at:
Your instructor will briefly review that site.
To give you more experience with
determining the components of an effective poster, you will evaluate
two on display along the Biology Department corridors. You will
use a scoring rubric created by your professor to
facilitate that process. That rubric is available here. Please download it and bring
it to class.
You will be given 20 minutes to review two posters. You will
conduct the review with your poster
team. You will submit your
completed rubric to your instructor, where it will be worth 10 points.
After the review, please return to class for further instruction.
Homepage for FYF-101J
This page posted and maintained by Kenneth M.
Klemow, Ph.D., Biology Department,
Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre,
PA 18766. (570) 408-4758,