Final Presentations

All graduate seminars should teach two kinds of ideas: specific knowledge and modes of analysis related to the course themes, and general professionalization. Professional skills - thinking, writing, speaking, and responding in professional ways -- in this context are those most suited for future academics but are highly portable to other frames of life, too. This course will give each student an opportunity to practice public presenting. Please note that I’m calling this “public presenting” rather than “public speaking” -- certainly you’ll be speaking but the most successful presentations see themselves qua presentations, and not merely as reading out loud or making a commentary.

This assignment includes three stages:

1) To start, I will ask you to write a paragraph listing specific qualities that make a presentation successful. In this stage, I’m asking you to take time to articulate your own definition of “success” in this context. Please believe that there are no right answers. Take seriously this opportunity to literally define your own success. I will not read the paragraph you write until after I see your presentation, at which point we will compare your intended outcomes and actual presentation. This paragraph is due by midnight, Thursday, November 29th uploaded to dropbox.

2) Give a 15 to 20 minute presentation to me and your other graduate student colleagues. You will be standing at the front of the room behind a lectern, and you’re welcome to use powerpoint slides if you’d like. We will video record the presentation. This presentation will happen on Friday, November 30th at a time that fits all of our schedules.

3) Meet with me to discuss your presentation, what worked, or what didn’t. We’ll watch the video (of which you will get a copy) and discuss your ideas and the form of the presentation. I will make appointments available on Collab for our conversation in the last week of classes.

You are welcome to build your presentation off a paper you have or will write in this course, i.e. the ideas don’t have to be totally separate. But I warn you: it can be very, very hard to turn a piece of writing into a successful presentation precisely because they are such different genres. A strong presentation will do much more than simply read a paper -- for instance, think about the difference between the ways people write and talk.

The grading mechanism for this assignment will be:

50% of your presentation grade will be reflective of the strength of the ideas you describe in your presentation. This half will be graded like “regular” papers are -- based on the ideas you’re articulating;
50% of your presentation grade will be reflective of the style, form, method, and effectiveness of your presentation. In general, I suggest that successful presentations can take many forms -- they can be quiet or loud, full of visuals or full of words -- but the best presentations always know they are presentations. This part of the grade will take your own (written) definition of success into account.