by MU Instructional Designers
October 17, 2023
4-5 min read
A good presentation assignment provides an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and skills (demonstrating learning.) Also, synthesizing course concepts and sharing knowledge in a presentation format is a lifelong skill that takes practice.
Make presentations meaningful.
Students are invested in presentations that interest them and/or connect to the world around them. Technology can provide a multitude of ways for students to expand sharing beyond the classroom, such as presenting at a campus/community event or sharing a recording online. When students design for a broader audience it can increase their engagement and desire to produce quality work.
Provide a variety of options.
Consider ways to include options for student agency when you are reviewing the learning goals for your presentation assignment. Where can students connect their lived experiences with course content? Do they have options for their topic or their angle/approach? By allowing students to make choices about what they research/focus on and how they present their ideas, you create opportunities for student creativity and autonomy that promote student engagement and critical thinking (UDL Checkpoint 7.1).
You can also consider varying the modality and/or platform for presentations. Below are some possible synchronous and asynchronous options:
Set clear expectations.
Be explicit with your expectations and use a rubric if possible. Provide samples to support design and development. How long should presentations be? What is expected regarding visual aids? Are verbal and/or written citations expected, and if so in what format? What should be turned in during, before, or after the presentation (e.g. outline, notecards, etc.)? What is expected from the audience members/peers (should they be providing feedback? asking questions?)?
Provide options for feedback and reflection.
Design feedback opportunities to support student success. Use smaller benchmarks to guide project development instead of waiting until the end of the project to provide feedback. Think in terms of a thesis statement or project idea as a first step, then an outline, an annotated bibliography, etc. Rubrics are an excellent method for providing mastery-oriented feedback (UDL checkpoint 9.4).
Reflection opportunities for presentations can be related to stages of the process like the feedback above or about evaluating their contributions to their group (when applicable). Often reflections are written pieces turned in at the time of the actual presentation (UDL checkpoint 9.3).
Scaffold ethical behavior.
When we think about academic integrity and digital ethics in the context of student presentations, we consider plagiarism, copyright, accessibility, and privacy/data security. Messiah students focus on making a positive Christ-centered contribution to the digital landscape that is available to the widest possible audience.
To promote academic integrity, make sure students are able to clearly cite their sources, both orally and in their presentation materials. While students are generally providing their own voice in their project, it’s also part of the process to appropriately cite the research they used to refine their own ideas.
If you decide to use a technology aid, think about the potential copyright implications of your selected method. Make sure students are aware of copyright guidelines that would be applicable. Promote sites like Pixabay and Unsplash for copyright free images. Extend the copyright conversation by encouraging students to license their own work using a Creative Commons license.
Creating content for use beyond the classroom requires consideration of other’s privacy as well as the student’s own. Are there images or materials in the presentation that include others? Does the student have permission to share beyond the classroom? Digital citizenship includes asking questions about privacy, accessibility and copyright.
If you’d like to learn more about related pedagogy and best practices, check out our Online Presentations Annotated Bibliography for more resources.