June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.276.1 - 15.276.8
Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Coke: It’s About the Presentation
Many students possess the misconception that the informational content is all that matters when communicating with others. For example, numerous faculty members have experienced the student who attempts to appeal a low score on an assignment by pointing to each relevant part of their work, trying to show that all content was included while at the same time being seemingly oblivious to the lack of clarity in their presentation of that content. Instructors in the first-year engineering program at Ohio Northern University created a short video, “Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Coke,” to impart to their students the importance of how information is presented. This video, approximately one and a half minutes in length, features a couple at a restaurant, each ordering a cheeseburger, French fries, and a Coke. While the content of each meal is the same, the presentation of the meal to each customer varies considerably. The video is shown to the class without prior introduction of the topic; a discussion session is held afterwards, with the instructor steering the conversation towards the relevant points regarding the importance of both content and presentation.
The original idea was developed during a Master Teacher Workshop session hosted by Ivy Tech Community College. This session, featuring participants from multiple schools in Indiana, focused on the development of innovative ideas for reaching students. The idea initially involved an in-class demonstration with the professor as the waiter and student volunteers as customers, using candy bars and water; however, any food and beverage would certainly work. The in-class version adds spontaneity to the demonstration; however, when discussed by the Ohio Northern University first-year engineering curriculum instructors, it was noted that visibility within the classroom would be an issue, plus the janitorial staff would not be happy with any messes that could possibly result from such a demonstration. Accordingly, the instructors decided that a video would be more effective as it would be more visible, provide more control over the situation being illustrated (e.g., multiple takes until the actors get it right), allow for visual close-ups featuring exaggerated responses from the actors to bring more humor into the presentation, and allow for better dissemination of the lesson if proven successful.
In order to determine the Cheeseburger video’s effectiveness, students were shown two in-class videos. The first video was the “All-in-One Guitar Playing Robot”1 where National Instruments and Intel demonstrate the use of a quad-core processor that runs both the game and the robot which plays it. This video was shown during a lecture period where different engineering accomplishments were discussed, and was intended to show a fun and interesting side of
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