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Academic English Workshop Engineering, IT, Science Spring, 2007


Listen to music or comedy programs. Drink plenty of water. Rehearse. Overcoming nervousness 2 ... Making the most of oral presentations (online workshop) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Academic English Workshop Engineering, IT, Science Spring, 2007

Academic English WorkshopEngineering, IT,
Science Spring, 2007
  • Seminar Presentations
  • Group work
  • Poster Presentations

ELSSA Centre
  • What do we do? Provide
  • intensive courses in February July
  • workshops in Faculties
  • one-to-one appointments
  • Where are we?
  • Level 18, Building 1
  • Phone 9514 2327
  • Email
  • Amanda Miller

Program Part 1
  • Seminar structure
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Using visual aids

Seminar Presentations
  • Burdess, N. 1991, The Handbook of Student Skills,
    Prentice Hall, London
  • Northedge, A. 1990, The Good Study Guide, Open
    University, UK
  • How do seminars benefit the group?
  • Interactive alternative to lecture
  • Information and new material presented in
    structured way
  • How do seminars benefit the presenter?
  • Develop verbal and social skills
  • Increase confidence
  • Give opportunity to express own point of view
  • Force concise summary of complex ideas or
    opposing views

The Process of Seminar Preparation
  • Be clear about the topic and the time available
  • Brainstorm
  • Read to identify key information, theories,
    debates enough to open up discussion
  • Write out what you want to say
  • Make note cards based on writing
  • Prepare visual aids
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Common Weaknesses of Seminars
  • Lack of preparation or structure
  • Reading instead of speaking
  • Talking too quickly
  • Excessive length
  • Retelling instead of analysis, synthesis,
  • Lack of interaction with group (failure to
    stimulate questions)
  • Lack of preparation on part of audience

Seminar Structure
  • Pre-Introduction
  • General background
  • Hook to grab audience interest
  • Introduction
  • Tell them what you are going to say
  • Pre-intro intro 15 speaking time
  • Body
  • Tell them
  • Well sign-posted
  • 75 speaking time
  • Conclusion
  • Tell them what you told them
  • 10 speaking time
  • Elicit questions

Signpost language
  • Id like to talk to you today about .
  • First of all Ill discuss
  • And then Ill talk about .
  • So, to begin with
  • An example would be
  • So, to briefly re-cap
  • Now lets pass on to
  • So, the issues Ive looked at today are
  • In conclusion, let me say .

Visual aids
  • Support the spoken message should not take
    over or be read
  • Provide a map of the presentation
  • Headings only (not sentences)
  • Text must be legible (16 pt clear font)
  • Allow 2-3 mins for each visual
  • Limit the number
  • Limit use of colours and design
  • Pictures and tables most useful
  • Provide title and source

Nonverbal language
  • Think about voice features
  • loudness
  • pitch
  • pronunciation
  • speed of delivery
  • emphasis
  • And also think about
  • eye contact
  • facial expression
  • position of hands
  • hand gestures

Overcoming nervousness 1
  • Exercise before seminar delivery
  • Yawn, stretch, roll head
  • Breathe deeply
  • Relax muscles systematically
  • Meditate
  • Listen to music or comedy programs
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Rehearse

Overcoming nervousness 2
  • Have more material than you need and be
    prepared to drop some
  • Arrive early
  • Check out the room beforehand
  • Check out A-V equipment beforehand
  • Visualise your audience in a less threatening
  • Redirect the gaze of the audience
  • Organise your notes in a clear and sequential way

Audience responsibilities
  • Reading about topic before seminar
  • Taking notes and identifying points for questions
  • Looking at presenter
  • Encouraging speaker with nods etc. to indicate
  • Refraining from whispering to others
  • Pointing out if presenter is inaudible or OHTs
    not clear

Audience questions
  • Examples of two part questioning
  • Structuring move
  • I have a question about your definition of
  • Question move
  • Is the same as or does it ?
  • Structuring move
  • I didnt understand what you said about
  • Question move
  • What exactly did you mean by ?

Responding to questions
  • Examples of two part responses
  • Responding move
  • No, its not the same as
  • Expanding move
  • The is similar to in but it differs in
  • Responding move
  • This is an important distinction. Let me see if I
    can clarify it
  • Expanding move
  • We use the word to describe it because

Responding to questions
  • Gaining extra time/Clarifying
  • So, what youre asking is whether
  • If I understand you correctly, youre wanting to
    know why
  • So, in other words youre asking
  • How many are there? (question that was asked
  • Checking that the audience has understood the
  • Does that answer your question?
  • Have you got that?
  • Are you with me so far?

Useful websites for seminar presentations
  • http//
  • More about oral skills for
  • Making the most of oral presentations
  • Making the most of oral presentations (online
  • Managing question time in oral presentations

More useful websites for seminar presentations
  • Effective seminar presentationshttp//www.bell.ut
  • A step by step approachhttp//
  • Strategies for oral presentationshttp//www.une.e
  • Presenting and participating in tutorials (called
    seminars in the UK) http//

Other oral assessment
  • Group work
  • Tutorial discussions
  • Group assignments
  • Poster Presentations

Group Work, Tutorial Discussions
  • What is the purpose?
  • Promoting clearer and deeper understanding
    through dialogue
  • Providing a forum for improving communication
  • Stimulating workplace problem solving
  • Allowing close contact between students and staff

Group Work, Tutorial Discussions
  • How do you get the most out of them?
  • Before
  • Review relevant material
  • Establish what you do and do not understand
  • Clarify your views
  • Prepare questions
  • During
  • Listen closely
  • Raise questions
  • Make oral summaries
  • Commend contributions of others
  • Encourage others to contribute
  • After
  • Be prepared to report the range of group view
    (not just your ideas)

Language strategies for group discussions
  • Clarification
  • What did you mean when you said ?
  • Could you give an example of that?
  • Could you explain that in more detail?
  • Im sorry, I didnt catch what you said about ?
  • Could you say that again ?
  • What does mean?

Language strategies for group discussions
  • Getting confirmation
  • So, you mean ?
  • So, what you are saying is ?
  • Encouraging others to say more
  • Really?
  • Mmm, right, yes, uhuh
  • Doesnt that ?
  • Thats an interesting point
  • Amazing!

Language strategies for group discussions
  • Agreeing
  • Yes, thats a really good point
  • Yes, thats the way I see it
  • Yes, that makes sense
  • That explains it really well
  • Partly agreeing
  • Yes, thats true, but dont you think
  • Maybe youre right, but
  • Youve got a point there, but

Language strategies for group discussions
  • Giving a different point of view
  • Yes, but on the other hand
  • But dont you think that
  • I see what you mean, but
  • But isnt it really a question of ?
  • But surely
  • Offering an opinion
  • Well, I think
  • I really havent thought much about that before,
    but I suppose
  • The way I see it is
  • I think

Language strategies for group discussions
  • Getting into the discussion
  • Could I say something here?
  • Can I jump in here?
  • Excuse me for interrupting, but
  • Id like to comment on that

Language strategies for group discussions
  • Giving evidence to support an opinion
  • Let me give you an example
  • I can explain why that is
  • The reason I think this is
  • Asking for someone elses opinion
  • What do you think, .?
  • Do you agree with that, ?
  • What about you, , do you think that?

Group work assignments
  • Why are there group assignments?
  • Students learn to
  • work in self directed way
  • learn how to negotiate
  • communicate effectively
  • work collaboratively
  • develop analytical skills for problem solving

Starting to work in a team
  • Establish group norms
  • Team stages Form, Storm, Norm, Perform
  • Arrive at shared understanding of task
  • Summarise in writing shared understanding
  • Brainstorm ideas, plans, tasks
  • Allocate specific tasks
  • Agree on timelines, meeting times

Getting to know the group
Working out team roles
  • Use the Belbin teamwork system to identify your
  • Cerebral (Plant, Specialist, Monitor)
  • Action-oriented (Implementer, Shaper, Completer)
  • People-oriented (Team-worker, Co-ordinator,
    Resource Investigator)
  • (See BELL Workbook p.19, and
  • Belbin, M. 1993, Team Roles at Work,
  • http//

Group expectations
Group work action plan
Keeping the group effective
  • Some students are shy
  • Draw them out
  • Some students find certain skills very
  • Identify strengths and utilise them
  • Some team members talk too much
  • Create time limits
  • Some team members do not do the work agreed upon
  • Negotiate their involvement write team
    statement clarifying tasks and individual

  • Some members do not do the work on time
  • Draw up a timeline for the tasks with names of
    those responsible. Make one member responsible
    for reminding others
  • The group gets off task and wastes time gossiping
  • Allow short time for diversion, but then remind
    team of timelines
  • There isnt enough time to cover everything
  • Identify the critical 20 and do that

Writing the Group Report
  • Plan
  • In group, discuss overall structure
  • Write outline
  • In group, write list of contents
  • In group, agree on word/page limit for each
  • Allocate tasks for individual members
  • for each section
  • Writer
  • Reviewers
  • Overall
  • Editor
  • Proof reader
  • Publisher

Group Discussion Practice
  • In groups
  • Discuss positive experiences you have had with
    group work.
  • Discuss problems you have experienced with group
  • Identify any strategies youve used to overcome
  • Choose one member to report.

Useful websites for group work
  • http//
    rk/documents/Workbook 28 May.pdf
  • http//

Useful books for group work
  • Gibbs, G. 1995, Learning in Teams a Student
    Manual, Oxford Centre for Staff Development,

POSTERSTarget audience and objectives
  • How you structure a poster depends on
  • Your target audience
  • Peers
  • General public
  • Your purpose
  • To explain during a poster session
  • To be understandable without explanation

Structuring posters
  • Structure your poster to encourage discussion.
  • The title should give the main information (its
    a little introduction)
  • The subtitles should show the posters

Visual features
  • Separate information visually
  • Frameworks
  • Grid to align visual objects
  • Uniform colour code
  • Clear indication of reading direction (arrows or
  • Sufficient but not too much white space
  • Illustrations such as graphs, photographs,

  • Graphs - simplify
  • Photographs - give context, scale
  • Diagrams
  • Equations, formulas - only if necessary

Size suggestions
  • Main heading - e.g Arial 60 to 80 bold
  • Main sub-headings - e.g Arial 40 bold
  • Sub-sub headings - e.g Arial 30 bold
  • Text - e.g Times New Roman, Palatino 30

  • Avoid long texts
  • Use short sentences
  • Emphasise key concepts
  • Use examples
  • Clear simple words
  • Avoid acronyms

Sections to include in scientific poster
  • Title
  • Conveys the issue - maximum length one to two
  • NO abstract
  • Introduction
  • Catchy (c.200 words)
  • Materials and methods
  • Figs, flow charts, tables, diagrams if possible
    (c.200 words)
  • Results
  • Did it work?
  • Data analysis (c.200 words)
  • Conclusions was your hypothesis supported?
    (c.200 words)
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Further information (your contact details)

Dos and donts
  • Dont make the poster too long.
  • Do format the title in sentence case
  • Dont format the title in caps or title case
  • Use a non-serif font for title and headings
  • Dont bullet section heads
  • Dont make text boxes wider than 40 characters
    (c. 11 words)
  • Dont have blocks of text longer than 10
  • Dont underline.
  • Do use single spacing.
  • Do make sure everything can be read from a
    comfortable viewing distance.
  • Do use a thin border for photographs.

Presenting the poster
  • Harmonise your outfit with your poster if you
  • Do not refer to notes when explaining your
  • Speak to your viewers, not to the poster.
  • Point to specific parts of the poster whenever
    possible so that viewers are aware of your
  • Carefully walk your viewers through your
  • Have correction fluid and marker with you in case
    a mistake becomes apparent.
  • Finish your spiel before you fill in
  • Thank your viewers for visiting.

  • Advice on these slides is adapted from
  • Purrington, C. 2005, Advice on designing
    scientific posters, Department of Biology,
    Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, viewed 22 May
  • Regev, G., Oberlin, A, Pecoud, G., Wegmann, A.
    2005, How to create an attractive poster
    essential steps Ecle Polytechnique Federale de
    Lausanne, viewed 22 May 2006,

  • Materials for this workshop prepared by Liz
    Craven and adapted by Amanda Miller