ENG 123 14.1: Final Presentations

Today’s Plan:

  • Attendance
  • Gradebook Questions
  • Final Presentation Expectations
  • Visual Rhetoric Crash Course
  • Calendar Vote

Final Presentation Expectations

The final component of this class asks you to transform your longer research project into a concise presentation of 5 minutes. You have two options:

  • To give a live presentation accompanied by a slide presentation
  • To show a short documentary style movie

Regardless of which option you choose, I am going to require the presentations to (loosely) follow the Pecha Kucha format.

Because our presentations are capped at 5 minutes, I will ask you to make a presentation that is 20 slides at 15 seconds each. If you simply pre-record a read-through of the paper, then you should follow the strict 20 slides for 15 seconds each.

If you make a movie that uses mostly live action video, then I will ask that you keep your presentation to around 3-4 minutes. It takes significantly more energy to “think in shots” (as we will discuss in next Tuesday’s class, depending on the outcome of the vote at the end of today’s class).

Crash Course in Visual Rhetoric and Presentation Design

Today I’m going to try and cram as much substantive frames for thinking about presentation design as I can into one lecture.

Bullets are Bad I want to start with Edward Tufte’s classic “PowerPoint is Evil.” Tufte provides us with a sense for what *not* to do.

Images Spur Emotions I also want us to think about the substance of Dan Pink’s presentation above: the emotive potential of images to augment talks (and to think stylistically about the way he oscillates between photos that compliment his content and slides with words that amplify his central points).

The Basic C.R.A.P. One of the first books on design I encountered was Robin Williams’ Non-Designer’s Design Book. In it she offers four basic design principles: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. Let’s look at a PowerPoint.

Let’s look at how Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen, expands on Williams’ principles.

Typography It strikes me as a little ludicrous to try and explain typography in five minutes, but let’s give it a go. Let’s start with the basics (serif or sans-serif). Let’s look at some more advanced ideas.

Perhaps the best way to think about typography is to look at a few pechakucha presentations and pay attention to the kinds of fonts we see.

Color Just as images have the potential to trigger enhanced emotional responses, colors have the ability to influence our emotional states. Let’s turn to Maria Claudia Cortes’ Color in Motion.

An example of how I put this stuff into practice.

Presentation Expectations Take 2

Now that we have talked about visual rhetoric and design, let’s think about the rubric for the final presentations:

  • Presentation Content: The material presented was meaningful and concise. As a listener, I could identify the speaker’s argument. The speaker provided evidence to support her claims
  • Presentation Delivery: If a live presentation, then the speaker was able to give her talk while maintaining eye contact with the audience (some reading is ok, simply reading is not). If a video, the audio quality was sufficient that we could hear and enjoy the video. In both cases, the speaker was articulate, engaging, and well-paced.
  • Presentation Design:
    • The presentation follows Williams’ C.R.A.P. rules< (emphasis on contrast)/li>
    • The typography looks contemporary; the presentation uses typography in an interesting way; the typography is engaging, not distracting or ugly
    • The presentation uses images (if using a template, the presentation uses different images and not the stock images)
    • The colors used in the presentation make rhetorical sense (rhetorical here means that the colors are used in a way to produce a particular effect on the audience that enhances/compliments/supports the presentation’s argumentative goals)

A Really Quick Introduction to Windows MovieMaker


Let’s Vote

Let’s return to the question of the remaining calendar. As I laid out at the end of last class, we have two options:

A. Do the MLA/APA workshop on Thursday April 13th and have the presentations start Tuesday April 18th. This means we will be done with the course by the 27th (and more likely the 25th), but also means you will only have a weekend to put together your presentation. It also means that I can go over how to use Moviemaker in class on Thursday, but you won’t have a chance to play with it in the lab.

B. Do the MLA/APA workshop on Thursday April 13th. Meet in Ross 1240 for a one-day workshop on Moviemaker on Tuesday the 18th. Start the presentations on Thursday April 20th. This will give us a chance to go over Moviemaker. If we take three days to go through all the presentations, then we would be finished by the 27th. If we required a fourth day (which is unlikely), we would meet the Tuesday during exam week at our regular time.

C. Do the MLA/APA workshop on Thursday April 13th. Meet in Ross 1240 for a one-day workshop on Moviemaker on Tuesday the 18th. Class would be optional on Thursday the 20th for those who want to talk about the papers or need help with their presentations. Presentations would begin on Tuesday April 25th. We would certainly have to meet on the Tuesday of exam week (May 2nd), and might have to meet the Thursday of exam week (May 4th).


Since the computer lab is signed out on Thursday, we will meet in our regular classroom on Thursday. We will be working on the MLA and APA workshop–so if possible please bring a laptop to Thursday’s class. Remember that if you don’t have a laptop, you can sign one out via the library.

Print Friendly
This entry was posted in teaching, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.