The ability to speak publicly and present to an audience are considered valuable soft skills that can be utilised in all facets of an individual’s life. As universities are designed to further the academic development of students, we are required to participate in class presentations for subject assessments throughout our degree.
From my experiences and observations, class presentations can trigger mixed responses in students ranging from positive to negative attitudes both of which undoubtedly involve varying degrees of stress.
For my BCM212 research topic, I am going to investigate whether students agree that it is necessary to be assessed on oral presentations as a skill for university assessments. Avenues that I plan to explore include tertiary and student perspectives, academic and emotional outcomes of presentations, why and how presentations impact students, and possible alternatives to presentations as subject assessments.
I believe that this topic is timely and relevant as it is a common and recurring university experience that is of mutual interest to students as their participation, application of effort, cohesiveness of collaboration and communication contributes to their academic outcomes and emotional state.
I also believe that it is of value to understand the costs, benefits, different experiences and perspectives of tertiary-based public speaking as my research findings for this assessment could serve to encourage university students to reevaluate their current perspective and approach towards class presentations, therefore supporting the project as a worthy topic to pursue.
This project is achievable in terms of time and information as it is a specific topic with a range of evidence-based research and qualitative and quantitative data that will provide me with credible insight into the topic.
I have identified numerous sources which stand as further evidence that this topic is worth exploring;
- There are many academic articles that detail the short term and long term results of oral presentations. Marta Peris-Ortiz, Jose M. Merigo and Linghal’s (2015) paper explores aspects such as student self-reflection and active involvement in learning processes.
- In Irvine’s (2009) paper, she analyses the tensions that exist between university expectations of oral presentations and student responses, stressing the need for tertiary expectations to reflect student learning and practice. This paper also identifies that “giving students more and more opportunities to present in front of classmates does not automatically increase the ability to speak extemporaneously” (Irvine 2009) which I believe is a significant point that I will explore in my research.
- Student experience has also been identified in De Greza, Valckeb and Beringsa’s (2010) paper which emphasises that it is important to understand how perceptions can impact learning outcomes of oral presentations. This paper reported that presentations can have “limited learning impact due to the assessment process” which also stands a significant point to explore (De Greza, Valckeb, Beringsa 2010).
Marta Peris_Ortiz, Jose M., Merigo, Linghal 2015, Sustainable learning in higher education, developing competencies for the global market place
Irvine 2009, Orals ain’t orals: How instruction and assessment practices affect delivery choices with prepared student oral presentations
De Greza, Valckeb, Beringsa 2010, Student response system and learning oral presentation skills