Giving oral presentations is a regular part of most Baruch undergraduate experiences. From a Freshman Seminar session devoted to presentation skills, to Intro to Speech Communication, a required course for most Baruch students, to the formal group presentations that upper level business students deliver, and more, presenting ideas orally is a part of the Baruch College culture.
But what makes for a meaningful presentation assignment, and what do these assignments look like across the many disciplines here at Baruch? I asked three professors—Ed Kurpis, Professor of Management, Cheryl Smith, Professor of English, and Peter Gregory, Professor of Mathematics, to share with me their thoughts on an oral presentation assignment they use in class. In the video below, they talk about the particular requirements of their assignment, what makes the assignment a rich learning experience from a communication perspective, and what success looks like in completion of the assignment. Watch for yourself:
Although these three disciplines may approach oral presentation somewhat differently, I noticed interesting trends in the responses I got. All three professors characterize their assignments as opportunities for students to develop authority over a set of ideas, make original connections, and bring self-reflexivity to their thought processes. Another theme that emerged was speaking with authenticity. While the three might not give identical definitions of this term, characteristics that they used repeatedly to describe authentic speech were confidence, clear purpose, physical/vocal animation, and genuine interest.