This article first appeared in the Teaching Professor on February 1, 2018. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved. There’s no question that students learn an enormous amount
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In academia, we get asked a lot of questions whether we are teaching, giving research presentations, interviewing, or mentoring. This is exciting but can also
Most students, as they prepare to enter the professional world, will have to deliver a high-stakes presentation to their future employers, internship organizations, or special
As faculty design their syllabi for the upcoming semester, they consider how to have students demonstrate the vast knowledge they acquire throughout the semester. Enter
As a college faculty member, you speak to audiences both large and small on a daily basis. You know how to deliver information, create learning opportunities, and build engagement. And yet, presenting at a professional conference brings a whole new set of challenges. How do you establish credibility and authority among your peers? How do you make your session relevant for those who, unlike your students, have at least some familiarity with the topic?
While other forms of visual presentations have cropped up—such as Prezi and Empressr—PowerPoint remains the presentation software of choice. Yet many folks develop PowerPoint presentations without fully understanding all components of the software and/or presenter tricks that could make for much more effective PowerPoint presentations.
Almost everyone agrees that student presentations benefit the presenter in significant ways. By doing presentations, students learn how to speak in front a group, a broadly applicable professional skill. They learn how to prepare material for public presentation, and practice (especially with feedback) improves their speaking skills. But those of us who have students do presentations in class know there’s a downside—and that’s how the rest of the class responds to these presentations. When the teacher talks, students more or less have to pay attention, at least some of the time, but when their classmates present, they can be comatose. Not only does this make it more difficult for the presenter, it means the students listening are not likely having any sort of learning experience.
Since about 2000 I have been associated with the global organization Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) that promotes student engagement in the communities for the betterment of our lives. SIFE is appealing because it invites teams to come, first, to their regional competitions, where each team in about 25 minutes has to impress judges (usually sponsoring firms’ upper-level management) with the team’s projects, but also with the quality of vocal and visual presentations.