Oral Presentation Tips for MCS-378: Operating Systems (Fall 2005)

On two occasions I have taught a First Term Seminar course, where one of the goals was to build oral communication skills. In each case I had the students attend some of the Nobel Conference lectures and then, based on that, we 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 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." The lists were somewhat different between the two years. For MCS-378, I have put together a composite of the two FTS lists:
  1. Is the presenter's voice strong and varied?
  2. Does the presenter seem interested in the topic and excited by it?
  3. Does the presenter speak clearly?
  4. Does the presenter look up while talking?
  5. Does the presenter avoid "umm" and other filler noises?
  6. Is the presentation matched to the audience, for example in vocabulary?
  7. Is the structure of the presentation evident (versus rambling or jumping back and forth)?
  8. Are the main points previewed at the beginning?
  9. Are the main points summarized at the end?
  10. Does the presentation approximately fit the expected time?
  11. Is humor used only appropriately, if at all?
  12. Does the presentation come to a graceful conclusion?
  13. Does the presenter build off of the visual aids rather than reading them?
  14. Are the visual aids readable?

Course web site: http://www.gustavus.edu/+max/courses/F2005/MCS-378/
Instructor: Max Hailperin <max@gustavus.edu>