Academic Presentation I

Mark WEEKS Associate Professor

Department: Institute of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Class Time: 2014 Spring & Fall Wednesday (Spring) Thursday (Fall)
Recommended for: School of Gradate students

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Course Objective

This course aims of this course are to help students/researchers in any field to

  1. acquire skills in drafting logical, clear and persuasively effective academic presentations
  2. develop confidence and competence in delivering presentations in English
  3. practice discussion and informal conversation for academic contexts

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Enrollment Conditions, etc.

  1. Graduate students, researchers who are able to take classes and communicate functionally in English are eligible.
  2. In the case of over-enrollment, students will be accepted on a "first come, first served" basis.

Course Content

Classes are conducted in an informal atmosphere, with students discussing issues and working together in pairs or small groups, changing partners each week. Most lessons include a short interactive lecture by the instructor on one of the themes listed below, with related group or class discussions and exercises. The following is a tentative outline of issues discussed.

  • Introduction: the functions and pleasures of presentations
  • Arguments and counterarguments in presentations
  • Finding your controlling idea and signficance
  • Understanding and communicating with audiences
  • Structuring a presentation
  • Using logical support and evidence effectively
  • Language for structural clarity
  • Delivery: voice, body language, interaction with slides
  • Effective slide use and design
  • Question time language and strategies
  • Techniques for reducing nervousness

Students will be encouraged to deliver two presentations, at least one with slides, during the semester in order to gain experience and receive helpful detailed feedback for further improvement.

Textbook, Reference book, etc.

All materials are prepared and provided by the instructor. Electronic copies of key materials will be sent to students throughout the course. While some materials are original products of the instructor, the following sources are also used:

  1. Adrian Wallwork, English for Presentations at International Conferences, New York: Springer, 2010.
  2. Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Presentations, New York: Springer, 2003.
  3. Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen, Berkeley (CA): New Riders, 2008.

Reference book

It will be helpful to bring a dictionary for using English to classes.


Academic presentations are increasingly important in global research communities today. In an atmosphere that is relaxed but at the same time challenging, I want to show that it is possible to enjoy sharing our ideas in English. The first step is to think deeply about why we're speaking and what our main point is. The next is careful preparation based on the key principles of thematic focus, logical clarity and persuasive support. The instructor will also provide practical support and advice for participants preparing to give academic presentations outside the course.

Grading Basis

Participation 70%

Two presentations 30%

* Students are required to attend a minimum of 10 lessons in order to receive credits for the course.

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Lecture Handouts

Cource Prints (PDF, 1742KB)

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Page last updated April 4, 2016

The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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