June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
22.743.1 - 22.743.13
Getting Students Prepared to Present WellABET identifies the ability to communicate effectively as a key student outcome for anaccredited engineering program. The requirement includes the ability to orally communicateinformation specifically as a technical presentation. To meet this criterion programs typicallyutilize a public speaking course as part of their curriculum. This is followed by opportunities forthe students to apply their acquired skills usually in the form of senior project presentations orcourse project talks. Although the students become aware of what a good presentation entails,they often fail at delivering an effective presentation themselves. The disparity can often beexplained by the students relying overwhelmingly on the quick-fix-tips they have gained to mendtheir presentation (title page, outlines, bullets, visuals, notes, dress style, etc) rather thanspending their efforts to diligently practice their delivery before the final presentation. Rehearsalsallow the students to identify discontinuities in their flow, avoid awkward pauses, gainconfidence with their delivery, reduce reliance on the slide text and better manage the allocatedtime - all common shortfalls evident during student presentations. Rehearsing is often the leastfavored presentation tip because it requires the greatest effort and its importance is least apparentto the students. In fact, there is a tendency for the students to associate a good presentation with a“naturally” gifted presenter, even though it is a strong sign of a well rehearsed talk. On the otherhand, without the correct technique even rehearsing is not sufficient to deliver powerfulpresentation. Therefore, a senior elective course was tailored to reinforce our future professionalswith the necessary steps to yield a compelling technical talk via judicious practice. Beyondexposing students to the topic, the ‘Introduction to Nanotechnology’ course was designed with anadditional skill-building objective: to teach students to present well. This paper discusses howthis objective was attained via several class activities, resources and assignments that culminatedinto a final project presentation. An important strategy to enforce rehearsing involved pairingstudents to peer-evaluate their presentations prior to final delivery. This was in addition to a shortanimated video ‘Get Prepared to Present Well’ produced specifically for the course, along with acheck list, to emphasize the key techniques. A pre- and post-survey was conducted to benchmarkpresentation skills and determine how regimented rehearsing affected their delivery. Theimplementation resulted in a more collaborative environment and allowed the students to achievemastery with their performances.
Bakrania, S. (2011, June), Getting Students Prepared to Present Well Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18024
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