Each presentation is given by 2-3 people, who will present two papers.
Unless otherwise specified by an instructor (by email or on the web site), your two papers must both be modelling papers (i.e., not labelled as [Emp]irical or [Rev]iew. We encourage you to read these papers for useful background, and your presentation can include information from them, but you need to discuss at least 2 modelling papers).
Plan on presenting for around 35 mins, followed by discussion/questions. One of the main complaints we've had from students in previous years is about presentations that run too long and cut into discussion time. We will give you time indicators and cut you off after 40 minutes regardless of whether you are done; if you aren't, it is likely to affect your mark.
After the presentation itself, your group should provide 3-4 prompts for class discussion. These can be questions that the target articles leave unanswered, claims in target articles that would be interesting to debate, or anything else that you believe would lead to a fruitful discussion related to the week's topic.
You may use slides or whiteboard, but should be organized and use visuals clearly and effectively (see AV section below).
All students in the group should present some material, you can choose how to divide it up.
Presentation should be coherent. This means you will need to discuss and plan with your group. You may decide that one person should be primarily responsible for each paper, but to create a coherent presentation, you will all need to be familiar with both papers and will need to dicuss the overall presentation of both papers and how they relate to each other.
The classroom is set up with a Windows computer that you can log into using your University (not DICE!) account. If you want to use the classroom computer, you should bring your Presentation on a USB stick, and ensure it is in PDF format, since using PowerPoint on a computer other than the one it was created on is always risky. We would recommend bringing your own laptop as this is usually easier, faster, and more reliable (but make sure you have a power cord). In either case:
You must email us your slides by 10 p.m. on the night before your presentation. This is both to ensure a backup copy in case your laptop/USB fails, and also for marking purposes. If you do not do this, and you have a technical problem that prevents you from presenting, you will receive a 0 on the assignment. In any case, if we do not have your slides by the 10 p.m. deadline, you will receive a 5 mark penalty on the assignment (out of 20). We have intentionally set the deadline on the previous night so that you will not be tempted to stay up late working on your slides. Not sleeping enough is a great recipe for a poor presentation.
When sending slides, PDF files are preferable; .ppt or .pptx files are acceptable ONLY if you created them on a Windows machine (Mac PowerPoint slides are often unreadable on Windows machines).
If you plan to make extensive use of the whiteboard rather than slides, you must speak to us well ahead of time (at least 4 business days). Some use of the whiteboard is fine without advance notice.
Please arrive five minutes early on the day of your presentation, to allow time to set up.
Presentations should include:
An introduction to the topic: what is the psychological phenomenon being modelled, and what question(s) are being addressed in the papers? How do they tie in with some of the big questions we've discussed?
An explanation of the models presented and results obtained.
Some analysis or comparison of the models, e.g. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Do you find one more believable, and why? Are there remaining issues that neither addresses?
Good presentations will also normally include examples, figures, or diagrams to illustrate important concepts or results.
NOTE: 35 minutes is not a long time for two papers! You will need to decide how much detail is appropriate, and which information is most important. Please do not try to present everything from both papers. Remember, all students in the class should have read at least one paper on a similar topic, normally one of the two presented. Prepare your background material with this in mind.
Part of your mark will be based on your delivery. If you wish to do well on this part of the assignment, one word will tell you how: practice! Practicing your presentation out loud will not only help you figure out how long it will take, but will also make you more confident and will allow you to work out how to explain difficult concepts ahead of time. See the marking sheet for the criteria we will be using to assess your delivery. Since you already have a group to work with, you would do well to use the other students in your group as a practice audience and give each other feedback on delivery.
Having a well-organized talk is a very good start to keeping your audience engaged and your message understood, but it's important to understand that people have limited memory and attention. That means they will not remember everything you said in the beginning of your talk by the end (or even the middle). You need to help them out by providing verbal cues (rarely, if ever, are bullets needed!) reminding them what you have already told them, what's coming up, and how everything fits together. I've heard these referred to as "signposts". Examples include: "OK, so that's the overview of the system, now I will talk about each of those parts in more detail", "I've now explained how they use X and Y to produce Z. Remember that what they are going to do with Z is A, so I'll now give you some more detail about that.", "I'm not going to talk about this part of the paper in any detail, but if you have questions about it I can answer them in the discussion after the presentation." In other words, think about your transitions, not just your slides. It is also often a good idea to include actual summary slides after each major section of your presentation, recapping the main points before moving on. You should not need more than one or two of these.
You will also receive a mark for your use of audio-visual aids (slides, whiteboard, or any additional media). Here are some tips on appropriate use of these tools:
Perhaps the most common mistake for beginning presenters is to put too much information (especially text) on the slides. If you practice your presentation (see above), you should know it well enough that you do not need to use the slides to remind you of every single thing you want to say. You should especially try to avoid the trap of reading text directly from your slides. Slides are better used for highlighting key points and showing pictures (examples, figures, etc.)
Make sure your slides are easy to read. Fonts should be no smaller than 20-24 point. Different colors can be used for emphasis, but should be used sparingly. Remember that color-blindness is fairly common, so try not to rely on color to distinguish things.
If you reproduce a figure or table from a paper, make sure any labels or text are still visible, or add your own labels in larger fonts.
Sometimes it can be easier to go through an example or draw a picture on the whiteboard than on the slides. This is ok as long as you are prepared: know how the whiteboard is set up in the room and how to switch between the projector and whiteboard without taking lots of time. And know what you are planning to draw!
You may find that it is useful to include images, figures, or tables from the papers you are discussing or other sources. If you do so, you must cite your sources, even if the source appears to be clear from context. Papers should be cited as (Lastname, year) on the slide, with a full citation on a separate References slide at the end. Web sources should be cited by URL. See our lecture slides for examples.
Direct quotations may also be used if cited (as above), but note that long quotations are usually a crutch used by students who do not understand the material enough to restate it in their own words. Use quotations with care.
The presentation is worth 20% of your final mark for the course. See the marking/feedback form for the kinds of things we are looking for.
Students will receive separate marks for the presentation, however since all students in the group are responsible for the content and organization of the presentation, these marks will clearly be correlated.
Do not expect that you can get a good mark by preparing "your" part of the presentation well. If you haven't discussed anything with your group, it will show.
You can expect to receive your marks on the presentation by email, typically within a week of the presentation date.
The following list of pointers is intended to help avoid common pitfalls in presentations.
Explain all important technical terms that won't be obvious to your fellow students.
Be sure to provide motivation for the models and experiments. Why did the authors do what they did? Why should we care?
Make sure that fellow students who haven't read your specific paper can still follow the presentation.
Don't necessarily describe every experiment in a paper if it would come at the cost of clarity or coherence.
Always give citations for figures, quotations, and anything else you get from an external source, even if that source is the paper you're presenting.
Practice your presentation, to ensure good pacer and transitions.
Don't read directly from your slides.
Only include figures or tables copied from the original paper if you can clearly explain their contents. If you're only going to talk about a small part of the figure, it may be better to create your own.
Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 5661, Fax: +44 131 651 1426, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact our webadmin with any comments or corrections. Logging and Cookies
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh