[ Information Sharing via Group Symposium ]

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

TOPIC VARIATION for S'15: Focus on 21st Century technology effects on human life [ click for examples]


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


- 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.

[a recent example = the news conferences conducted to prepare us for the Blizzard-of-2015]


- 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 newspaper clippings 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 & to the general  TOPIC SEARCH page. If possible, in class we will review what types of news items  exemplify the "Whats Up...concept).


As a group decision, the group members will select one (1) of these news clippings as the topic on which to base their group symposium presentation designed to enlighten the audience on the rest-of-the-story (i.e. the information behind the headlines.)


         (2) Phrase a suitable "Discussion Question" derived from the topic in the original clipping.  Use both the guidelines from the text and from the class to format a suitably phrased Discussion Question  for an Informative presentational discussion. (i.e. a Thesis Statement-function-in-a-question-format)


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

"Why is it that sports figures in our society command such large salaries?"
"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 task timeline and then assign individual responsibilities accordingly. As a group, you are encouraged to use primary as well as secondary sources  to cover all facets of the information underlying the headline. Take a "360 approach" ( e.g.  Feel free to create & use surveys, conduct personal interviews, engage in observational studies, etc)


        (4) Be sure to submit your completed "Preliminary Agenda Sheet"  asap,   but definitely no later than one class session before the presentations begin. This submission can be done via hard copy (for faster feedback) or by e-mail.  This preliminary A/O will be returned to you with feedback & suggestions for you to incorporate any annotations or suggestions into your actual presentation and into the final version of your AGENDA/OUTLINE.

This  signed,  Final Agenda-Outline document MUST be submitted to the instructor of the "day-of" --  BEFORE the group gives its presentation.



        (5) The end result: Each group will present a "Mini-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.  The Introduction & and Transitions can be prepared in advance;
HOWEVER, the Conclusion should review/summarize the key points AND should include an
impromptu closing statement 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 text 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. Ask me if you have any questions.



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

   [[If you don’t get to be leader/moderator this time, don’t worry. 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.]]



            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 instructor's [TBD] [TBD]cassette tape [audiorecordings] /miniDV camera [videorecordings]. These recordings will assist in the grading & evaluation process for both the instructor & the groups' self analysis projects, so ideally, these tapings should be circulated among the group members so that each participant will have an opportunity to carefully listen to the  presentation.  However, our technology  sometimes challenges this goal. If you want your own recordings , be sure to prearrange  your own recording methods.  Currently these recording formats are the most logistically workable for your Professor, but if you do not have access to a cassette playback system, you should ALSO  use your own device 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, it is usually NOT recommended to have all group members standing up throughout the entire presentation: too much potential for distracting behaviors.

> Overall, make use of use good Oral Communication & Public Speaking techniques   
      * Use appropriate appearance: individuals' & group's
      * Use extemporaneous delivery (notes; conversational intonation)
      * NO HATS (of course!)
      * no inappropriate slang or colloquialisms
      * avoid "standing around" / posture should be upright

 >Remember, even when you are not the one doing the speaking at any given moment, in a GROUP presentation, you are On Stage the entire time, so your poise, posture & listening behaviors all need to reflect that factor.






last major update: 1/27/15