Oral Presentations

Rachel Gillett reports that in the History and Literature Sophomore Tutorials, students are required to do three oral presentations with the help of the instructors in order to hone their public speaking and critical thinking skills.  Prior to the presentations, students have to email an outline of their presentation.  The instructors provide feedback ahead of time.  For the actual presentation, students are required to provide some context for the readings, explain their main arguments and most interesting points, and kick off the discussion.  They are also required to submit the final copy of their outline.  Below is a description of the assignment from the syllabus:


Oral Presentations

You will be responsible for 3 oral presentations during the course of semester. These presentations will allow you to practice three crucial skills: to cultivate your ability to succinctly and effectively present information to your classmates, to practice your public speaking skills in a small setting, and to give you experience leading off a classroom discussion by asking effective questions. Presentations should be at least 5 minutes but not more than 10 minutes. You will be expected to briefly summarize the main idea or argument of each source and to highlight what you think are each source’s most interesting effects or contributions. You may choose to highlight any relevant background about authors or their contexts. Above all, we ask that you “put the sources into conversation” and that you offer an interpretation of how and/or why the sources for the week are responding to one another. You will conclude by leading off our tutorial discussion with 2-3 questions of your own.

Oral Presentation Grading Rubric

  1. Summary or Description. Be informative yet concise. 20%

  2. Highlights of each source. Be persuasive. 20%

  3. Connections among sources. Be persuasive again. 20%

  4. Contextualization. What kind of source is it? When was it produced? Who produced it? How? What kind of contemporary responses did it receive? What is the history of its reception? 20%

  5. Discussion questions. Stimulate productive discussion. 10%

  6. Presentation style. Be prepared and well organized. Practice, speak clearly and with passion. 10%