The Presentation Task

Over the next week you will plan, write, structure and then deliver a short academic presentation by exploring examples and learning from successful students about how they make their presentations stand out from the crowd.

Your presentation will be based on your thesis (or thesis proposal) for you PhD.

First, let’s think about the process of writing and delivering a presentation. In the course ’Exploring Academic Writing’, you looked at the stages of the writing process. The process for preparing a presentation is very similar.

Task: Order the stages below to remind you of how to approach assignments.

Let’s look at the first two steps of this procedure in relation to your presentation assignment.

Step 1: Analyse the title and presentation task

The following is the title of the presentation that you will give:

Outline your PhD thesis and demonstrate the scope and significance of your choice.

Task: Identify the key words in the title.

You can research words you do not understand using the Cambridge Learner Dictionary by entering the word in the box below and clicking ‘search’.

Task: Search for the meaning of any words you are unsure of using the dictionary below. Record the correct definition for this context on your brainstorm document.

You can post on the discussion forum on FutureLearn to ask your peers and tutor about any words you are unsure of. 

Step 2: Brainstorm ideas

Once you have analysed the title and task and narrowed down the focus of your presentation, the next stage is brainstorming.

This is exactly the same process as you would use when brainstorming ideas for an essay. Before you begin writing everything down on a brainstorm document you should think back to the previous step and carefully consider the assignment title .

Think, what is the purpose of this assignment? Is it asking you to inform? to persuade? to arouse?

Once you have decided the purpose you can then:

  • Think about what you already know about the topic – you could also look at your notes or any relevant reading you have already done.
  • Make a list of all of the things you could include in your presentation.
  • Start to group your ideas together and reject any ideas that are less relevant.
  • Consider which ideas you can focus on in more detail, which ideas are the most interesting or important.

Presentation Guidelines

In your presentation for this week, you only have a 3 minute time limit to talk about the topic, so you do not have time to talk about everything. You will need to choose one or two areas to focus on and discuss these in more detail.

You must use the following guidelines when preparing your presentation.

Task: Fill the gaps with the key vocabulary to complete the guidelines.

The deadline for uploading your video is Thursday of this week. This will give you enough time to watch and review one of your peers’ presentations and give them some helpful feedback.

You will be given detailed instructions on how to record and share your presentation throughout this week.

This presentation is  a formative assessment. This means it is practice for the final presentation,  which you will complete in  the final course of this award, Demonstrating your Academic Language and Skills. 

You will not be given a grade for this presentation, but your classmates and tutor will give you feedback and you will have the opportunity to reflect on your performance to help you improve and understand how to be successful for your final presentation assessment.

You will have the opportunity to draft, record and get feedback on your presentation throughout the week so remember, producing an assignment is not about producing one perfect piece of work. Recording yourself presenting can be very difficult at first and makes most people feel uncomfortable when they hear their own voice.

However it is important that you regularly record and then analyse your own speaking to monitor your own progress and development. Don’t worry about making mistakes, the more you practise, the more confident you will become.

Task: Post on the FL discussion forum:
Have you ever had to present your thesis before?
What type of presentation do you think this is?