Full Circle: Yet Another Library Student's Blog

I swear to god that I should just change the name of this blog to “Full Circle” and be done with it.  I'm seeing echoes everywhere…

I went over to school tonight to work on my Special Libraries assignment and bumped into a first-termer who was working with her group on a presentation they have due this week.  I asked what it was and it turns out it's the same topic and the same instructor I had at the end of my first term!  (Am I allowed to admit that I immediately did the librarian thing and offered to pass along my presentation so they could see what my group had done?  Well, I'll admit that but I won't admit whether they accepted it – how's that?  Plus their presentation was well-in-hand and I don't think they're going to get anything from what my group did at this point.) 

So anyhow, about half an hour, maybe even an hour, later, I was ready to leave and saw that they were still practicing in a classroom.  (I think my group had one rehearsal about half an hour before we presented. )  I stuck my head in to see how it was going and they asked if I'd mind sitting through it since I'd done the same topic.  Shea's at work tonight and I'll take anything that isn't my own homework every time.  So I said “yes” (just kidding – I love seeing other people's work – both presentations and papers.) 

I sat through it and, no offense to any of my old teammates who may be reading this, but I have to admit that it was way better than what we had done.  Actually, I'd go so far as to say it was right up there with some of the best presentations I saw in my cohort and classes all year. 

It was like a weird deja vu – hearing a group cover the same resources and issues that my group had done but with a completely different spin.  I wonder if professors like this or do they eventually get bored of hearing the same thing, year after year, with only the changing people and format for the presentation? 

If you saw my list of Top Ten memories, I made a joking reference to that one time a group did a presentation without Powerpoint…except I wasn't joking.  That is literally the only time somebody has done a presentation without Powerpoint in any of my classes this year. 
That also happened in this class and it was by a group who did a presentation on another topic that seems like it couldn't be done without Powerpoint.  (Why am I being so mysterious by the way?  I guess I'm trying not to come right out and say the class or topic in case some of their classmates get tipped off in advance of what they're doing?  Or their instructor?  Who knows.  Opinions shouldn't be allowed on the Internet, dammit!)

I'm no expert but I'll probably do a post someday on tips for giving a good presentation (at least what I think works.)  It will mostly revolve around the most effective way to use puppets.  And how it's probably not a good idea to blurt out “oh, shit!” when the projector's remote control batteries are dead all of a sudden. 

Comments 4

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    What did the students who didn't use Powerpoint use for visual aids? just the whiteboard or an overhead or something else?
    I'm a firm believer in visual aids, but I just wonder how ppl feel about someone bringing out the old overhead – seems so archaic now.

    Posted 27 Nov 2006 at 7:32 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Okay, I'm going to jump in here with a comment. First, I'm hoping I'm not one who has said “oh shit” when the battery on the remote doesn't work – however, I'm thinking I probably have.
    When I first starting teaching, I did in fact use overheads. The feedback from that course came back two fold:
    1)Stop using an overhead projector. Get with the 90's and use Powerpoint
    2)You should use Powerpoint so that notes can be published for students to aid in notetaking as opposed to “lecturing”
    I've always been a Powerpoint “diva”. I use powerpoint for a few reasons: it keeps me on track, and it does provide a start for student note taking.
    Now, with that said, I know, I've broken a number of cardinal sins about PowerPoint (one can't be perfect I suppose) – but I have moved away from simply just talking to slide after slide of powerpoint – and try to incorporate other activities in the classroom beyond just a lecture.
    I've seen some wonderful things done with Powerpoint (not that I've done anything at all in these areas) – certainly a growth opportunity.
    Will I stop using Powerpoint? Probably not until something better comes along. Course feedback interestingly enough usually has the majority of comments thanking me for using PowerPoint and publishing the notes. I do however, almost always get one note suggesting that I need to lay off the Powerpoint.
    So there we go, my incoherent soapbox before lunch.
    Cheers!

    Posted 28 Nov 2006 at 5:01 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Nah, it was me saying “oh shit” during my genealogy presentation last week (done with Powerpoint of course. )
    I was mostly targeting over-reliance on Powerpoint for student presentations with my comments (although there are some profs who could use a lesson or two as well.)
    As you point out, you do one thing that many profs who use PP don't in that you make the slides available ahead of class which is useful and appreciated.
    I think the realization that you can't just “talk to the slides” as you say is a major hurdle for many people. It's so easy to just stand up and read what's on the slides which doesn't take advantage of the advantages PP affords.
    Early in my first term, a fellow student passed along results of a study on the most effective teaching methods for student recall. I think it was something like:
    1) Powerpoint with activities
    2) Straight lecture with activities
    3) Straight lecture
    4) Powerpoint
    That's revealing.
    On a related note, here's a link to the “Top 10 Presentations of all-time”.
    I haven't watched them all but really like the Lawrence Lessig one:
    http://www.knowhr.com/blog/2006/08/21/top-10-best-presentations-ever/

    Posted 29 Nov 2006 at 4:29 am
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    They had the actual physical books for that part of the presentation and then they did fire up the projector to display electronic resources. There's the odd person who'll use overheads for certain parts of their presentations but nobody's used it for their entire lecture.

    Posted 29 Nov 2006 at 6:11 am

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