Sunday, February 8, 2009

Slideshare lesson plan

Here is a formal lesson plan for the Slideshare tool that we were introduced to Week 4 of Enhancing Lessons EVO session. This lesson was created for an imaginary course. I wasn't having much luck thinking up ways of integrating this tool for the course I am teaching now (pre-intermediate reading in an intensive English program).

Giving Academic Presentations

Learners (proficiency, age, number, goals, motivation level, type of class i.e skills-based): The target learners for this module would be advanced non-native speakers of English already accepted to graduate level courses in U.S. universities. They would be graduate teaching assistants (TAs) with the responsibility of teaching undergraduate level introductory courses and labs in their fields of study. Examples of fields of study may be mathematics, physics, and a variety of engineering fields. Because they are not only students but active researchers in their fields, they would also be giving academic presentations and lectures at conferences and other universities to a variety of audience types. The course would be an oral communication course specifically for academic English. It would be a credit-bearing graduate-level course in a U.S. university.

Goal: Participants can become more aware of their areas of strengths and weaknesses in their academic presentations by getting feedback from their teacher, classmates, and undergraduate students who are taking or may take the introductory level courses the TAs will teach. The participants in this module or course would also be introduced to this program for potential use in their teaching, making this module an opportunity not only for them to improve their English but to include Web 2.0 tools in their future classrooms.


By the end of this lesson, students will:

· be able to upload a slide show to Slideshare, accompanied by a narration.
· become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses in giving academic presentations.
· give feedback on their classmates’ presentations
· be able to integrate feedback from their classmates, instructor(s), and undergraduate students to make improvements
· develop a teaching strategy that will benefit them in their future teaching.

1. At the beginning of the course, the students will prepare and give mini presentations from their fields of study in class. The teacher would have researched about the specific segmental and suprasegmental aspects of pronunciation that are typically problematic for the group of learners and also would observe the students to determine the most important aspects of oral communication to work on during the course. Lesson plans based on these aspects, whatever they may be, will be the focus of in-class work for the first part of the course.

2. During class, the students will give an academic presentation on a topic that they would teach in their introductory level courses at the university, using a slide show as a visual aid. Teacher gives feedback regarding the aspects of oral communication that were covered in the first part of the course. Other students also give feedback, organized and facilitated by feedback sheets created and distributed by the instructor.

3. Students will be introduced to the Slideshare tool in-class and asked to upload the already created slide show, or to create another one on a topic that they would teach in their introductory level courses at the university.

3. Students use a voice recording program (such as Audacity, or, if the university provides access to software in a language lab students can use this). Students will prepare the lecture or explanation outside of class, incorporating the feedback given from their teacher and classmates. In class, they will record the audio and link it with the presentation.

4. University undergraduates are asked to view and listen to the Slideshare creations. The Slideshare creations would be made available on the class wiki or blog, and short surveys created in Survey Monkey would be linked to the site so that the students viewing and listening to the presentations would be able to give instant, anonymous feedback on their own time and at their own pace.

5. The feedback given about the presentations would be reviewed by the teachers and the participants in the module or course and discussed in class.

Anticipated Problems/Solutions:

One anticipated problem is finding willing undergraduates for the task. To remedy this, collaboration between the department offering the oral communication course and the departments the TAs are studying and working in is necessary. If possible, the instructors of the introductory undergrad courses could offer a minimal amount of extra credit in the course for those students who voluntarily participate in the project. Then, of course, the feedback could not be anonymous. The students would have to include their name, course number and instructor information.


Have a discussion with students about the potential application of this tool for the current and future undergraduate courses they are teaching.


  1. Please feel free to leave any suggestions/criticisms/feedback.

  2. Dear Julia,
    What an interesting audience you have selected for this assignment. I can immediately see the practical benefits of your approach for instructors. With this in mind, it may be possible to make the assessments of their presentations even more authentic. You could request that they present the actual slideshow to one of the classes that they are teaching and have their students provide the feedback.

    I love Survey Monkey and use it extensively, but I have just come across a neat little tool that I am going to explore in more detail in the coming weeks: It allows students to send in responses to survey questions using their cell phones. Apparently, this info. can be saved as an Excel file. It sounds promising because it would allow the instructors to get immediate feedback on their lesson. This is obviously not for the faint hearted! But if it were done in conjunction with a class they were taking, I think it would allow them to take a more action research approach to their teaching, which I think should also be a key objective of the suggested course.

    I think it's a great idea.

    As an extension, you may consider problematizing the idea of the delivery of information using powerpoints, slides and voice recordings by considering how to make these events as interactive and learner-centered as possible. I can imagine an assignment where the students are asked to make 'the missing slide'. This could be a summary of the presentation. The slide could then be added to the final slideshow and uploaded with credit to the student who did the best job.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I think you've done a great plan, Julia. We have courses for TAs at MEI, and I could see doing this. I want to respond to Robert's suggestion that ITAs could use their Slideshare presentation with real classes. At UMd, students taking our ITA classes (pronunciation or oral communication) do not normally teach in the same semester that they take the English course, so that wouldn't work in our case.

  4. Great plan, Julia. I'm not familiar with the teaching/learning situation you've chosen so I can't offer any comments on that.
    Anyway, your plan looks flawless. You have covered all the aspects, and all the activities are logically and meaningfully sequenced in order to achieve the objectives.