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Working with STEM students to deliver professional oral and visual presentations

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  • 1. Working with STEM Students to Deliver Professional Oral and Visual Presentations
    Warren R. Hull and David F. (Boz) Bowles
    CxC Summer Faculty Institute
    June 2, 2011
  • 2. Overview
    Student, Faculty & Alumni Perceptions
    Features of Conventional Technical Presentations
    Resources Available Through Communication Studios
  • 3. Often Heard Student Perspectives
    Public speaking is for sales people and politicians, isn’t it?
    I communicate well with my fellow engineers, isn’t that good enough?
    I’m a good engineer, isn’t that enough to get promoted in my new job?
  • 4. Poor communication skill is the Achilles’ heel of many engineers, both young and experienced — and it can even be a career showstopper. In fact, poor communication skills have probably claimed more casualties than corporate downsizing.
    IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer Online
    http://www.todaysengineer.org/2002/Nov/leader.asp
  • 5. Student Responses to Survey
    “Of the following ‘flavors’, with which ones do you
    need more help? Fill all that apply.”
  • 6. Student Responses, cont’d
    “How much did the communication assignments in this
    course help you to improve your communication skills?”
    Little
    Much
    Very Little
    Very Much
    Somewhat
  • 7. Student Responses, cont’d
    “How likely are you to use what you learned about communication in this course as you work on future
    communication projects?”
    Little
    Much
    Very Little
    Very Much
    Somewhat
  • 8. Engineering C-I Faculty Responsesto 2009 Survey
    “The preparation time involved in teaching a C-I course is
    comparable to similar courses without the C-I designation.“
  • 9. Faculty Responses, cont’d
    “Course content was not sacrificed in order to meet the
    communication requirements for C-I designation.”
  • 10. Faculty Responses, cont’d
    “The student workload involved in taking a C-I course is
    comparable to similar courses without the C-I designation.”
  • 11. Faculty Responses, cont’d
    “Student communication skills improved noticeably
    by the end of my C-I course.“
    Note: Several faculty members did not feel qualified to judge communication skills improvement.
  • 12. Faculty Responses, cont’d
    “Students learned the course content in more depth
    because of the communication requirements.”
  • 13. 2010 LSU Engineering Alumni Survey on Globalization
  • 14. 2010 LSU Engineering Alumni Survey on Globalization
  • 15. Quote from Respondent to 2010 LSU Engineering Alumni Survey on Globalization:
    “As an engineer, I have found that the most important skills you need are visualization and, essentially, the ability to teach. You have to be able to visualize the problem at hand so that you can properly analyze the situation and come to an end result. You also need to have the ability to teach. With every project you encounter, you, the engineer, should know the system 100%. It is your job to inform or teach those you present your solution to so that they understand the problem(s) at hand and can evaluate the solution properly. It is also very useful if this can be done in a logical way, not just bouncing back and forth.”
    Emphasis added.
  • 16. The standard PowerPoint presentation elevates format over content, betraying an attitude of commercialism
    that turns everything into a sales pitch.
    Edward Tufte, PowerPoint is Evil
  • 17. Rhetorical Triangle
    Speaker/Persona
    Persona
    Purpose
    Audience
  • 18. How you deliver your speech may depend on the forum or the message content
    Memorizing the Speech
    + allows eye contact
    - difficult for long speeches
    - room for precision errors
    - no room for improvising
    Reading From a Text
    + ensures precision
    - does not sound natural
    - no room for improvising
    - hinders eye contact
    Speaking From slides
    + insures organization
    + allows eye contact
    + allows improvising
    - some room for error
    Winging It
    + sounds natural
    - has much room for error
  • 19. DSPH
    RECEIVER
    TSU
    TSH
    FLASH
    TANK
    FT
    T
    S
    S
    G
    TURBINE
    DEAR-
    ATOR
    HOT
    WELL
    HP
    HTR
    Does this clarify the description?
    Engineers and Scientists often use illustrations that are too complex for the text
    The thermal storage
    system stores heat in a huge, steel-walled tank. Steam from the solar receiver passes through
    heat exchangers to heat
    the thermal oil, which is pumped into the tank.
    The tank then provides energy to run a steam generator to produce electricity.
  • 20. Does this better illustrate the text?
    Solar Receiver
    Steam
    Heat Exchangers
    Electricity
    Turbine
    Thermal Oil
    Steam
    Thermal Oil
    Steam Generator
    Steel-walled
    Storage Tank
  • 21. Extracting and magnifying a portion of a complex diagram will help you explain the point you are trying to have the audience focus upon.
    Source: http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil-gas/petroleum/projects/environmental/reg_streamlining/15446.htm
  • 22. Adding Equations
    Use equations/formulae sparingly, i.e., only when it adds to the audience understanding
    Consider using editing functions to emphasize points in the equation:
    Variable that we
    consider most critical to our project
  • 23. Animation
    Animation should increase audience understanding of the topic.
    Otherwise, it is a distraction and should be removed from your presentation!
  • 24. Animation is useful when trying to keep the audience attention to the point you’re trying to make
    • Animation allows you to insert objects when you want
    • 25. It keeps audience focused on that one point and not…
    • 26. Reading ahead
  • Resources Available to Help Develop Oral and Visual Presentations
  • 27. Engineering Communication Studio Conference Room
    • Group project preparation
    • 28. Oral presentation rehearsals
    • 29. Video capture system
    • 30. Teleconferencing capability -GoToMeeting®
  • Summary
    While it may be a little more work for everyone at first, strong communication skills are vital in STEM disciplines.
    Remember to make good choices based on the needs of your audience, your desired effect on that audience, and the expectations that audience places upon you.
    Get help from the Studios!

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