Class Presentations- #4: Expect your students to consume knowledge rather than create it.

I thought that a few of the “pitfalls” mentioned in Five Common Pitfalls of Course Design were strongly tied to each other. For example, #3 about not being the “sage on the stage” and #5 about students learning from each other are flip-sides of #4, the idea that students can generate knowledge for themselves. I deeply agree with the¬†principles behind all of these explanations of pitfalls, and I want to make sure that my course doesn’t fall into them (or falls into them as little as possible).

I think that giving students the opportunity to do presentations, bot individually and as a team, will give them the opportunity to move through Bloom’s Taxonomy past repetition of facts all the way up to creation of knowledge. Students can do mini-presentations in teams during class, meanwhile teaching other students and adding richness of diversity in perspectives that would not be possible with just one person or two people (me or my co-teacher) delivering all of the information. This set-up will allow them to leverage their experience and the experience of their classmates for mutual benefit.

In addition, I would like to give individual students opportunities to turn in online presentations of course materials to demonstrate understanding and then require the class to comment on these presentations and ask questions. I believe this scenario will help us to avoid pitfalls 3, 4, and 5 all at the same time, facilitating a more student-centered and engaging classroom community.

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3 Responses to Class Presentations- #4: Expect your students to consume knowledge rather than create it.

  1. John says:

    Presentations are a funny topic for me. I have three different online courses that use presentations in different ways — the course I’m developing for this hybrid workshop will be the fourth. I agree the creativity required to build a presentation is a useful challenge for students to master. The act of presenting has a way of making it clear when a student doesn’t quite understand a concept. But having an entire group of 40 students give presentations can become extremely tedious. Using recorded presentations, can realize the benefit of subject matter mastery without the mind-numbing experience of 40-nearly-the-same-presentations. Similarly, because Canvas allows me to mute the assignment and assess them in batches, I can avoid the attention fatigue that often accompanies such marathon sessions as used to be standard practice in a classroom.

    But it is a doubled-edged sword. The state of video/audio recording and streaming technology is still not mature enough to make it intuitive. Compounding the problem, the skills required to use this technology effectively is not universal. So, the act of assigning a video recording assignment ends up being both a test of subject matter mastery and A/V technical skills.

    • patersot says:

      Thanks, John. It is interesting to read about both the pros and cons of using recorded presentation assignments as part of a hybrid class. As one who has considered doing this but has not yet implemented it, I found your experiences valuable. Thanks!

  2. cater says:

    Thank you, John!

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