Oral Presentation Tips for MCS-378: Operating Systems (Fall 2000)

A couple years ago, I taught a First Term Seminar course, where one of the goals was to build oral communication skills. What I did was have the students attend some of the Nobel Conference lectures and then, based on that, held a class discussion of what made some of the lectures better than others -- what did some of the lecturers do right and others wrong. Based on that discussion, we as a class came up with a list of questions that were to be used in evaluating the students' presentations. The point is to revise your presentation plans and practice your presentation until you are convinced that the answer to each question is "yes."

Looking over that list now, the only one that I see that is clearly not applicable to our operating systems course is number 11: relevance of topic -- I picked those for you. It may be tough to do much with number 1, appropriate use of humor, except if you interpret it to mean "Do you avoid using humor inappropriately?" That would be the minimum -- if you can find an appropriate use, all the better.

Anyhow, for what they are worth -- and I think they are worth quite a bit, as guidelines -- here is the list from my FTS:

  1. Do you use humor appropriately?
  2. Do you use visual aids that are readable?
  3. Do you comment on visual aids, rather than read them?
  4. Do you state your main points at the beginning?
  5. Do you highlight key points as you deliver them?
  6. Do you summarize your key points at the end?
  7. Does your presentation come to a graceful conclusion?
  8. Does your presentation have discernible structure (rather than being a strung together succession of remarks)?
  9. Do you change your vocal inflection?
  10. Does your presentation approximately fit the given time period?
  11. Is your topic relevant to the course?
  12. Have you chosen a realistic breadth of scope?
  13. Are your expectations regarding audience background realistic?

Course web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/~max/courses/F2000/MCS-378/
Instructor: Max Hailperin <max@gustavus.edu>