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Creating new class on scientific presentations -- tips wanted!

Started by AJ_Katz, January 11, 2024, 06:29:29 AM

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Hello!  I'm teaching our department's grad seminar class this spring in which students learn the art of giving a departmental seminar and poster.  Since this is a broad topic that I'm sure many of you have experience teaching, I wonder if you have some resources to share!  I'm looking for books, websites, excellent videos online, etc. etc. to develop the content for the class.

I look forward to seeing what resources and suggestions you all might have.


I'd rather have questions I can't answer, than answers I can't question.


The Better Posters site has lots of great stuff.

Nice video on slide design

Links to tools to see if your images are color blind friendly


Our grad seminar class is a half credit, so we don't have too much content like this.  We do have some presentations slides we go over on good presentation tips (like the links above).  We also have an IT person come in and go over some technical items (microphone stuff, common issues, tips for virtual presentations, etc.)

In our course, the main activities are that they prepare a rough draft of an abstract and seminar presentation for the class.  They get feedback, and then the class presents to the department (theoretically, usually we have poor. Turn out). 

Personally, I think it would be useful to go deeper as presenting is a really important skill set, but I guess I don't care enough to be volunteering to do it!


Is it possible to ask the students to consider joining Toastmasters or similar?

Or a Meetup group (or similar) that's aiming for much the same results?


I would recommend this exercise- explain your research using only the most commonly used English words. Up-Goer-Five Challenge


Here's a reference list of books I recommend for science writing and communication. Some of them are for broader public audiences specifically, but the tips there are much needed in academic rhetoric also.

Alda, A. (2018) If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? Penguin Random
House. 9780812989151

Baron, N. (2010) Escape from the Ivory Tower. Island Press. 9781597269650

Carpenter, S. (2020). The Craft of Science Writing: Selections from The Open Notebook (1st ed.).
The Open Notebook.

Kirchoff, B. (2020). Presenting Science Concisely. Vernon Press.

Olson, R. (2015). Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story. University of
Chicago Press.

Olson, R. (2018). Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. Island Press.