[ Information Sharing via Group Symposium ]

                                            {subtitle: "What’s Up With That???"}{W.U.W.T}  


RECOMMENDED TOPIC FOCUS:  Focus on 21st Century technology effects on human life  {click for past examples} [ click for past examples ]


Assignment's rationale/goals

Preparation Guidelines

Submissions: preliminary & final

Presentation Length

Presentation  Physical Set-up

Audio-Recording the Presentation

Communication Delivery Skills-- minimum expectations




- Groups often engage in DISCUSSIONS (such as "private/closed" meetings)  or PRESENTATIONS  (such as "open/public" briefings) with the goal of Speaking-to-Inform -- i.e. to enlighten the audience or the group participants themselves or sometimes both.


- The goal of such Information-Sharing group presentations is to objectively  bring new knowledge to the listeners &/or audience (via facts, examples, statistics, testimony, experience, etc.), so that a more accurate understanding of the topic can be attained.


- For this particular class presentation you will be using the "open/public"  presentation format, known as SYMPOSIUM. Your organizational strategies should draw on your previous experiences with Informative Speeches (Oral Comm.) (Oral Rhetoric) & Learning Study groups {see descriptions/definitions in text}



          (1) on ______[see course calendar for due date],  each group member will bring in news clippings [h.c. or online] of the "What's up with that?"  type of occurrences/items. This means something puzzling, incongruous, or oxymoronic; not just something "weird".  (see examples linked above & also see the general  TOPIC SEARCH page. If possible, at some time in class, we will review what types of news items qualify as the "Whats Up...type).


As a group, select one (1) of these news clippings as your core topic for this presentation. {make sure it is well suited to the symposium delivery format and is researchable" so that the group can accurately enlighten the audience on the rest-of-the-story (i.e. the information behind the headlines.)


         (2) As a group, phrase a suitable, Informative "Discussion Question" --derived from your chosen topic.  A "D.Q." functions like a Thesis Statement but in question format. Use guidelines from the textbook and refer to samples presented in class.


Remember,  Informative Presentations strive to enlighten the listeners --  NOT to persuade  / NOR to give opinions  / NOR to overtly influence listeners' beliefs or behaviors.   Here are some sample Informative DQ's:

"Why are Lithium-Ion devices the ones that are catching on fire so often?

  Why is it s it that sports figures in our society command such large salaries yet other professions earn much less?"
"Considering that a low-fat diet has been promoted in the U.S. for the last 10 years, how can we explain the fact that more  Americans are overweight than ever before?",
 "How did Seton Hall make use of the concept of reengineering to revise undergraduate registration procedures?"
 "Why is it that efforts to diversify the demographics of the NJ State Police force have not worked?",  etc. ]


        (3) The group should then determine what specifics need to be researched. Then formulate a project timeline and then assign individual tasks and responsibilities accordingly. As a group, you are encouraged to use primary as well as secondary sources  to investigate the dynamics underlying the headline. Take a "360 approach" ( e.g.  Feel free to create & use surveys, conduct personal interviews, engage in observational studies, etc) .


        (4) The group should complete and submit the "Preliminary Agenda Sheet"  asap ---  but definitely no later than one class session before these presentations begin. This submission can be done via hard copy (for faster feedback) or by e-mail.  This preliminary A/O will be returned with feedback & suggestions.

The   final version of your AGENDA/OUTLINE uses a different template and a signed, hard copy of that document MUST be submitted on the designated day-of-presentation -- BEFORE the group gives its presentation.




     (5) The end result: Each group will present a brief  "Symposium" to the class on their specified date.  [see your course calendar]



          a) Overall presentation time is 15-2O minutes. – Prior to the presentation, the group should develop some procedural norms which can ensure that all members get to participate orally in the presentation.

         b) Introduction/Transitions/Conclusion - Review any basic speech text for reminders on how to effectively construct and use these three presentation components. Transitions should be used between agenda items.  For a symposium format, all three of these components can be prepared in advance as long as the group members are well prepared in advance and notify the rest of the group about what they plan to say. HOWEVER, the Conclusion should review/summarize the key points pf what actually gets said so it be necessary to include some  impromptu closing statements pertaining to the actual discussion which has just taken place. {i.e. the presentations' conclusions should not be totally "prefabricated"}


        c) Leadership Functions - Double check the textbook for lists of basic leadership responsibilities. I would expect that you've seen enough leaders/moderators of public discussions to anticipate what tasks need to be completed during the planning stages and during the actual presentation. If you have any questions, be sure to ask. [[N.B.  Over the course the semester, each person will get to lead/moderate at least once-- although the types of communication skills that are needed  will vary according to the different types of presentations.]]


< This particular presentation needs a Leader/Moderator with basic-level public speaking-type skills. >




            d) Objectivity - Always be sure to clearly distinguish between factual content and any opinions  that might be expressed in your source material.  Just as with Informative speeches, you MUST tell us where statistics, facts, details, study results, etc. came from.  All speakers should use standard oral citation techniques-- as you learned in your basic speech class-- to attribute the sources of your data. If you are "rusty" about how to do such oral source citations, be sure to refer to Guidelines for Citing Sources for further guidelines on citing sources (this citation requirement also applies to items you got from Internet) .


             e) Recording of Presentation -  Throughout the semester, whenever possible  the group presentations will be recorded in some way ( e.g. on the students' devices [TBD]  [audiorecordings] / or the instructor's camera [videorecordings]. These recordings will assist in the grading & evaluation process for both the instructor & the groups' self analysis projects, so ideally, these recordings should be circulated among the group members so that each participant will have an opportunity to listen carefully  to the  presentation as it occurred in real time.   However, technology breakdowns sometimes challenges this goal. If you want to ensure your own recordings, be sure to prearrange  your own recording methods.  Cice for recording purposes.

If possible, the group should keep an  "archive" of the recorded presentations  throughout the semester.

            f) Audience's questions - In some instances, after the group’s 15/2O minute presentation, 3-5 minutes MIGHT be allotted for questions. However, Q&A sessions are more likely to occur in conjunction with future presentations.

           g) Physical set up - To be determined by the group. Review suggestions in text. Use whatever is most conducive to the "SYMPOSIUM" format. However, despite what is often seen in classroom group presentations (but not in real world symposia)  it usually is NOT recommended to have all group members standing up throughout the entire presentation: too much potential for distracting behaviors.


             h) Presentation Aids -  To be determined by the group. Always select aids that enhance; don't use something just out of habit. Also, remember such overlooked aids as demonstration, audio, audience participation-- as relevant.  If you do plan to use computer graphics, utilize principles of effective visual  and/or slide show design. Most of the current laptops require a special adapter (dongle) to connect to the projector in FH58A so be sure to arrange in advance to borrow one from media services.


             i) Some additional performance guidelines:

> Overall, make use of use good Oral Communication & Public Speaking techniques   
      * Use appropriate appearance: individuals' & group's [i.e. non-distracting clothing]
      * Use extemporaneous delivery (via notes; conversational intonation)
      * NO HATS (of course!)
      * no inappropriate slang or colloquialisms ( and no "Hi guys"/"How ya doin")
      * avoid slouchy,  "standing around";  posture should be upright

      * Remember, even when you are not the one speaking, in a GROUP presentation, you are On Stage the entire time, so your poise, posture & listening behaviors all need to remain attentive.






last major update: 1/17/17