Final Presentation Assignment

As per your votes before break, the theme for final presentations will be Inventions. Since two related categories tied, I’m willing to keep it broad: you may either 1) discuss an important invention in your field or 2) propose a needed, non-existent invention in your field.

Purpose: to have you prepare for and understand the relationship between written and spoken text. Also, you will need to competently speak to colleagues at some point in your professional life, so now’s a good time to practice.

Assume a general audience for your presentation. Your delivery can be somewhat informal, but should stay within the bounds of professional conduct.

You need to give an idea of what your field is, why this invention is/would be important, and what led up to its creation. Pick a narrow enough topic for the time allowed.  If you’re imagining an invention, you should likely address the probability of creation. If you’re telling us about an existing invention, make sure you don’t just give a historical lecture. Keep in mind the 5 Ws of contextualizing information: who, what, where, when, why (and often, how). Regardless of your invention, your goal should be to make us care about your topic as you inform or persuade us.

You’ll have 7 minutes (+/- 30 seconds) to present. This includes set-up time. Going outside this range will result in a full letter drop in your presentation grade, so practice your timing. To help you with this, I’m requiring you to hand in a draft of your presentation on the day you present. This could mean a write-up, copies of your notecards, a detailed outline of what you’re going to discuss, your drafting pages…whatever you used to prepare and give your presentation. This should include a Reference page in APA style with the sources you used for your presentation.

Other requirements:

  • Don’t be boring. Seriously: find something to talk about that interests you.
  • Use visual aids when appropriate.
  • If you use PowerPoint (NOT required), do not fill your slides with text.
  • Speak extemporaneously, meaning, DO NOT read your presentation to us. This takes practice.
  • Speak loudly, clearly, and at an appropriate pace for your topic.
  • Listen closely to other speakers. If I get a sense that you’re not listening, I will quiz you on the information presented that day.
  • Read ch. 14 for more suggestions about presentations.

We will sign up for presentation times and topics the week after conferences. During presentations, listeners are expected to give feedback (more on this later).

REMEMBER: You must bring ideas for your final presentation to your conference with me.

By way of example:

Here’s one model of a talk that’s engaging, incorporates technology, and manages to explore field-specific research. Amy Cuddy teaches us about the importance of non-verbal language.

Here’s another fairly engaging speaker, Dr. Russell Barkley, who uses PowerPoint (sparingly). I’d argue, however, that he speaks a bit too quickly for his subject matter.

You can find other good examples all over the internet, but here’s one site that compiles some with commentary. And in the context of political speeches, here are some more examples.

Conversely, here’s a rather boring introduction to an equally lackluster speech, mostly due to its improvisational nature.

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