Online Student Presentations

There are a number of reasons why faculty may want to move student class presentations to an online environment – maybe you have been asked to transition your regular “traditional” class to an online format (as DKU faculty have been asked to do this spring). Or maybe you would like to free up in-class time for discussion or other activities, while still wanting students to have the opportunity to present about their work. There are a number of possible approaches, depending on your needs.

First, determine if you want or need students to do “live” (synchronous) presentations, attended by you and their peers. If not, students could record their presentations, which you and their peers could watch at your own pace (asynchronously) and then discuss.

Live presentations

One method for presenting “live” is Zoom meetings. Students can share their screen and a video of themselves talking; attendees can view and hear, and ask questions. One consideration is that presenter and attendees need stable, high-speed internet connections for this to be most effective. In addition, for all to attend, time zones where attendees and presenter are located must be conducive to attendance. Other than that, presentation format and structure can likely be identical or nearly identical to what students would have done in class.

Another alternative for live presentations is to use the Live Streaming function of Duke Capture (Panopto), if the presentation is happening in a room on Duke campus which is set up for Panopto. This could work, for example, if some attendees/classmates are meeting at Duke, and others are watching from a different location.

Recorded presentations

If live presentations aren’t ideal for some reason, including internet capabilities, time zones, the nature of the presentation, or the length of the desired presentation, students can record their presentation and post it online for asynchronous viewing. You can provide guidelines for the presentation just as you would for “in-class” presentations, including length, requirements for accompanying visuals, etc.

Presentation recording can be done with Zoom, by having the presenter start a meeting (students can use their personal Zoom meeting room), turn on video, share the appropriate visuals such as slides or a website that accompanies their presentation, then start recording immediately before beginning their presentation. When the recording is complete, students can post the link to the recording wherever required by the professor.

Students could also record their presentation in any other way that works for them, such as with their cell phone or webcam on a tripod, and then post the resulting video within their course Sakai site using WarpWire (WarpWire is a tool for video hosting at Duke, which is integrated into Sakai and also available separately).

Students can be asked to view others’ presentations before any live class meeting, so the presentations can be discussed during the live meeting. You may ask students to post comments about their peers’ work in a discussion forum as they watch the recording, or save comments for live discussion (or both). You may choose to provide a rubric or other peer evaluation tool, if you have peer evaluation as a part of the assignment’s assessment plan.

An option if you want students to comment on their peers’ work is to have students post their presentation recordings in VoiceThread, which allows for text, audio and video commenting on posted media. Keep in mind that you, as the instructor, will probably want to watch or at least spot check the posts to get a sense of the comments – make sure you allow yourself time for this.

If students are producing a creative work of some type and presenting on that, VoiceThread can also be a way for students to comment on their OWN presentation – they can record their work, post to VoiceThread, and then append comments explaining their creative choices to you and to their peers. Alternatively if students must create a poster and present that, the poster can be exported from the design software as a pdf and posted for viewing, then live or asynchronous discussion can happen after that.

However you plan to do student presentations online, this can be a rich learning activity for presenters and their peers. Contact Duke Learning Innovation if you’d like a consultation about your particular course plans.

Amy Kenyon

Author: Amy Kenyon

Amy plans, implements and assesses faculty development programs for the improvement of teaching and learning, provides programs and resources designed to increase understanding of the teaching and learning process and manages personnel and other resources in the Teaching Innovation group of Learning Innovation. Her interests are in student-centered course and program design, curriculum mapping, assessment and engaging teaching strategies for student learning.