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Author Topic: Student presentations and speaking skills in online courses  (Read 23452 times)
neutralname
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« on: February 25, 2011, 12:25:40 PM »

Our gen ed courses are meant to make an effort to improve students' ability to present to other people, and to read and speak out loud.

Now we are trying to teach some of our gen ed courses online.  This presents a challenge.  How, if at all, to get students to do presentations and read and speak out loud?

Some ideas:
--get them to do a 5-10 minute video of themselves doing a presentation.
--get them to make a Powerpoint presentation with voice-over.
--get them just to make an audio recording of themselves getting some ideas
--skip the whole presentation/speech part.  Lots of faculty don't even require it in their classroom courses anyway.

Does anyone have any experience with this? 
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george_joeckel
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 9:21:45 PM »

Hi neutralname,

Although it is difficult, I don't think giving up is the right thing to do. Students that can't communicate what they have learned effectively will not fare well in a world that increasingly requires collaboration across timezones, cultures, languages, etc.

Have you tried surveying the students to see what types of presentations they might be willing to create?

I think that you are on the right track with exploring/offering a number of alternatives. Two of the keys I found when helping pre-service teachers create presentations was having examples for them to look at, and a comprehensive grading rubric so that they knew what would be measured and how.

Regards,

George
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_touchedbyanoodle_
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2011, 10:42:44 PM »

What sort of online meeting software is available to you? Depending on what it is (elluminate, perhaps?), you have some different options, both synchronous and asynchronous.

In most of my online classes, I have students create digital presentations via screencaptures with voiceover. There are free options for projects of this sort. Jing and screencastomatic come to mind.
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infopri
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 3:14:11 PM »

I just found this thread, so I hope it's not too late to answer.  I use a web-meeting tool (similar to Elluminate) that contains the ability to record.  Because my students are located all over the globe (for example, some are soldiers deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan), accessing the course via differing bandwidths, etc., I give them quite a bit of flexibility in doing their oral presentations.  At the very least, they must record at least 10 minutes of audio.  I encourage those who have webcams to include video of themselves making the presentation (and I encourage those that don't have a webcam or the necessary bandwidth to upload a single still photo of themselves).  Those that want to may also include a set of PowerPoint slides, or any other visual images they think are appropriate.  Etc.

I've been doing this for a couple of years, and it has worked extremely well.  Whatever options the students choose, the presentation is recorded, and (after reviewing it and grading it), I make it available to the rest of the class.
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larryc
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 3:39:13 PM »

Also, I think it might be very valuable to have students record a speech and submit it. It might be very valuable for them to hear their own voices time and time again as they rehearse and edit. Heck, it might be better than in the classroom.
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infopri
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 3:51:13 PM »

Also, I think it might be very valuable to have students record a speech and submit it. It might be very valuable for them to hear their own voices time and time again as they rehearse and edit. Heck, it might be better than in the classroom.

I agree, which is one of the reasons I make them do this assignment.  The frustrating thing (for me) is that so many students never once listen to their own recordings before (or after) submitting them.  How do I know?  Because so many of them hand in recordings in which there is no sound (I can see the student's lips moving, but s/he apparently forgot to activate the microphone), or the sound cuts in and out or is garbled, or sometimes it's distorted because the student's mouth was too close to the microphone (making the words impossible to understand), or the presentation stops midword only two or three minutes in (as if the student had accidentally hit the "stop recording" button), etc.  Had the student reviewed the recording before submitting it, these problems would be immediately obvious, so I have to assume that s/he didn't review it.
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neutralname
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 3:57:13 PM »

Thanks.  That's very helpful. 

I was just saying at a meeting yesterday that I had a feeling that many faculty were busy reinventing the wheel in teaching online courses, and there is not enough exchange of ideas and information.  This board in particular is extremely useful to me.
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larryc
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 4:04:32 PM »

Also, I think it might be very valuable to have students record a speech and submit it. It might be very valuable for them to hear their own voices time and time again as they rehearse and edit. Heck, it might be better than in the classroom.

I agree, which is one of the reasons I make them do this assignment.  The frustrating thing (for me) is that so many students never once listen to their own recordings before (or after) submitting them.  How do I know?  Because so many of them hand in recordings in which there is no sound (I can see the student's lips moving, but s/he apparently forgot to activate the microphone), or the sound cuts in and out or is garbled, or sometimes it's distorted because the student's mouth was too close to the microphone (making the words impossible to understand), or the presentation stops midword only two or three minutes in (as if the student had accidentally hit the "stop recording" button), etc.  Had the student reviewed the recording before submitting it, these problems would be immediately obvious, so I have to assume that s/he didn't review it.

Sometimes I hand out a rubric with a paper assignment and tell the students to grade their own assignment according to rubric and hand them in together. "Sweet! Are you going to use the grades we assign?" someone will ask. "No, I am just using it to see who is on drugs." I tell them. But then I explain that the real purpose is to get them to look critically at their own writing, and maybe catch some mistakes before I do and get a higher grade. It is remarkably effective.  Maybe something like that?
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infopri
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 4:09:18 PM »

Also, I think it might be very valuable to have students record a speech and submit it. It might be very valuable for them to hear their own voices time and time again as they rehearse and edit. Heck, it might be better than in the classroom.

I agree, which is one of the reasons I make them do this assignment.  The frustrating thing (for me) is that so many students never once listen to their own recordings before (or after) submitting them.  How do I know?  Because so many of them hand in recordings in which there is no sound (I can see the student's lips moving, but s/he apparently forgot to activate the microphone), or the sound cuts in and out or is garbled, or sometimes it's distorted because the student's mouth was too close to the microphone (making the words impossible to understand), or the presentation stops midword only two or three minutes in (as if the student had accidentally hit the "stop recording" button), etc.  Had the student reviewed the recording before submitting it, these problems would be immediately obvious, so I have to assume that s/he didn't review it.

Sometimes I hand out a rubric with a paper assignment and tell the students to grade their own assignment according to rubric and hand them in together. "Sweet! Are you going to use the grades we assign?" someone will ask. "No, I am just using it to see who is on drugs." I tell them. But then I explain that the real purpose is to get them to look critically at their own writing, and maybe catch some mistakes before I do and get a higher grade. It is remarkably effective.  Maybe something like that?

That's a great idea, larry!  I can see how this would be a useful tool for my students' papers, as well as for their oral presentations.  Thanks for the suggestion!
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neutralname
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 9:34:42 AM »

This thread is now a year old.  I did have some student presentations online last semester and they were OK.  Recording voice on Powerpoint turned out to be a major challenge, because the timing of slides was difficult.  Sometimes the slide would move on before the end of the recording for that slide.  Sometimes it was hard to work out what to press in order to hear the student's recording for a slide.

I had one student use a digital video camera and record themselves outside.  It was windy and other people were around, so the quality wasn't great, but it was interesting. 

Surprisingly no one just did a video of themselves at their desk talking into their laptop.  I would have thought that would be the number 1 option. 

So far it has been an experiment that has not had any great successes, but is promising.  As we proceed, we will improve.

So I'm reviving the thread to find out if anyone else has got any more experience with this now.
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_touchedbyanoodle_
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 9:35:58 AM »

I am in the midst of grading presentations that were done via screencast-o-matic. I was stunned by how few problems students had with the technology, and very pleased with the results. Feel free to PM me for a peak at some details.
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infopri
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2012, 10:46:00 AM »

My online (master's-level) students are working on their oral presentations right now, and they're due in about a week and a half.  In the past, I've had quite a few who did, indeed, simply record themselves at a desk, which was what I wanted.  They can also include a PowerPoint presentation (it's not either/or, as our technology allows both to be on-screen simultaneously), but only about half chose that option last time.  Rather than record the narration in PowerPoint, though, they advance the slides manually while recording the voice portion (and the visuals) via our web-meeting tool, as I said above.  It has worked perfectly.  A very few students submit nothing but an audio recording (allowed but discouraged).

I'll let you know how this semester's crop looks after I've reviewed them.
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MYOB.  Y enseņen bien a sus hijos.
_touchedbyanoodle_
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2012, 4:09:51 AM »

Are you using BB Collaborate, Infopri? If so, I'm curious to know if your students had any difficulty figuring out how to set up the "room" and start/stop the recording.
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"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." -George Carlin
infopri
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When all else fails, let us agree to disagree.


« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2012, 9:55:27 AM »

Are you using BB Collaborate, Infopri? If so, I'm curious to know if your students had any difficulty figuring out how to set up the "room" and start/stop the recording.

No, it's a different one, but I'm sure they're very alike, TBAN.  First you have to create a meeting, then you have to run the audio set-up and set up your webcam, then customize the layout (optional) and upload any files you need (optional)--and only then do you actually begin recording.  So it's a complicated process.

I gave my students extremely detailed step-by-step instructions (including screen shots), and I think a few of them still ran into technical difficulties, mostly with the audio set-up.  My instructions contained the contact info for the IT guy on campus who is responsible for this particular platform, and he was terrific in providing assistance to the students.  (And, as a reminder, my students mostly are scattered all over the country and several are in other countries, so all this assistance was done remotely.)  Of course, he and I had arranged this in advance, so he was expecting to be contacted.  I'm not sure how much time he had to invest in helping my students, nor even how many students contacted him.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the great IT support that we have.  If I'd had to supply the technical support myself, I'd have been in deep trouble, because I don't have that kind of time available.
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People who do not understand numbers should not be allowed to use them for anything. - DvF

MYOB.  Y enseņen bien a sus hijos.
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