Death to Student Presentation Day

Special thanks to Dr. Dean Hammer for these insights

We’ve all been there….. I designed my course to maximize scholarly thinking as well as “real-world” skill development… in a stroke of brilliance..tah dah!… in-class presentations with obligatory questions expected from the audience…..

And what followed were many many minutes of zzzzzz inducing info-pedia. Student presentation day was just chunk after awkward chunk of soul breaking data spew… artfully guided by ubiquitous but quirky fonts on ppt slides.

I hated it, the students hated it….we all become lifeless automatons inching our way through class time.


Active class + Student Presentations = check email and update the Facebook status.

I had reverted to the stone ages in the pedagogy of active learning…..

Luckily, this day was also in-class observation day…so my senior colleague was available to witness the disaster….ahem…..awesome….juuuuust awesome.

In his wisdom he gently offered ……”Why not have them present an argument instead of just giving information?”


See that? not only had the light gone on in my head…but it was a compact and efficient one..

I said “give presentations. ”

They heard “write a lecture and deliver it to a passive room.” I gave them no context, no real role, and no motivation to participate…..and I expected them to be active.

The only real benefit to the exercise was to the students speaking at the front of the room…which was fine but…no…not it wasn’t.



In-Class Presentation Day
Pandemic Philly: Simulation with Embedded Press Conference Briefings

This Fall….Students will present arguments for a pandemic containment action plan. Each team must convince leaders and press of the soundness of their vision. The role of the presenters is to make a sound case for the thoroughness and unique approach of their 30-day plan of quarantine containment. The media, (the rest of the class) will ask questions for clarification and challenge each presenter’s conclusions. Following all 4 group presentations individual class members will vote for the most effective action plan to be put into place.

What I love about this….is that there is context, motivation, argumentation, and roles for every student.

Stay tuned for how this turns out!