Academic Presentations: Principles and Practices

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LecturerKyle NUSKE, Associate Professor
DepartmentInstitute of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2017 Spring
Recommended for:Graduate students in any field (Thursdays 10:30-12:00)

Enrollment Conditions, etc

Graduate students in any field are welcome to take this course. Students must be able to communicate effectively in English (student presentations, class discussions, and short lectures will be conducted entirely in English). It is NOT necessary to take this course before taking other presentation courses.

Course Objective

The main purpose of this course is to help students create longer and more sophisticated research presentations. Lessons will address the content and structure of professional-level academic presentations as well as strategies for successful delivery, including slide design, speaking style, and body language. The course will have an active learning environment, and students will be expected to participate enthusiastically in group work, class discussion, and presentation feedback activities. The instructor will provide guidance and support throughout the presentation design process.

In their presentations, students will make a logical argument about a topic related to their majors or any academic field of interest. They will reference information from at least four academic articles about their topic and critically evaluate claims in their sources. Because students are required to use academic articles as sources, we will devote an early class to reviewing how knowledge is constructed and expressed in these texts. Students will give two presentations: one that introduces their topic and research questions (approximately 5 minutes) and one that contains their complete logical argument (approximately 10 minutes). When giving presentations, students will be expected to use notes rather than reading from a script.

Course Content

Tentative lesson schedule (subject to change depending on student need and progress):
Lesson 1: Course overview; fundamental characteristics of academic presentations and research
Homework: Self-introduction/research interests paragraph
Lesson 2: Academic articles: a genre analysis
Homework: Respond to the sample article
Lesson 3: Academic presentations: structure and content
Homework: Respond to the sample presentations
Lesson 4: Determining a suitable topic and research questions
Homework: Prepare some notes about your intended topic/research questions
Lesson 5: Slide design and delivery style
Homework: Write a partial draft of your presentation notes
Lesson 6: Research questions/presentation design workshop
Homework: Prepare your full presentation
Lesson 7: Student presentations: topic and research questions
Lesson 8: Student presentations: topic and research questions
Homework: Find at least two academic sources about your topic
Lesson 9: Review: working with academic sources; summary and synthesis
Homework: Summarize and synthesize your sources
Lesson 10: Thinking critically about claims in your sources
Homework: Write a partial draft of your presentation notes, including a short critical response to your sources
Lesson 11: Constructing a logical argument about your topic; presentation design workshop
Homework: Prepare your full presentation
Lesson 12: Student presentations: Logical argument
Lesson 13: Student presentations: Logical argument
Lesson 14: Student presentations: Logical argument
Lesson 15: Course wrap-up

Grading Basis

Presentation 1: topic and research questions (30%); Presentation 2: logical argument (50%); Homework and participation (20%).
Students must attend at least 80% of class sessions in order to receive credit for the course.

Textbook, Reference book, etc.

There is no required textbook. All course materials will be provided by the instructor or selected by students.


Enrollment is limited to 20 students. In the event of over-enrollment, seats in the course will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis during the first lesson. Please feel free to approach the instructor with any questions or concerns about this class.

Lecture Handouts

Lesson 1

  • {ocwlink file="Nuske Lesson 1.pdf" desc="ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS:

PRINCIPLES AND PRACTCESKubota article response worksheet"}

Lesson 2

[Academic articles : a genre analysis]( Lesson 2.pdf)

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

[Workshop : Developing possible presentation topics and research questions]( 4 5.11.compressed.pdf)

Lesson 5

[Workshop : Developing research questions, presentation structure, and designing slides]( 5 5.18-2.pdf)

Last updated

June 01, 2017