Online Group Presentations

Student presentations are beneficial to student learning. For example:

  • They engage students in the learning material and encourage them to be active in learning the topic they are presenting on.
  • They develop professional and transferable skills. 
  • They give students ownership of their learning.
  • Preparation for a presentation requires students to decide what they want to say and in doing so they must be selective of the materials and theories they are learning. This develops their critical thinking skills. 
  • The experience of giving presentations grows the students’ feeling of expertise and therefore sense of belonging to the discipline. 

Group presentations have additional benefits. The knowledge we disseminate during taught sessions becomes learnt at a deeper level by the students as they prepare for the presentation. They require students to work together which is an important transferable skill and they develop their communication skills using disciplinary-based language. The more they talk, the more they analyse the topic. I could go on.

However, there is at least one downside to traditional, in class, student presentations.They take up valuable seminar time and the quality of the presentations can be variable, therefore not making the best use of face-to-face contact time with your students.

How to do group presentations online

One upside of the current pandemic is that it has forced us to rethink the norm. Many of us using group presentations have thought about ways in which we can bring them to the blended learning environment. In doing so, we have realised the value in students doing a presentation in their own time and submitting a recording of it. This provides the opportunity for maximising the use of face-to-face teaching time for other tasks that the tutor leads.

Our recommendation is that students do group presentations together in a recorded Zoom meeting started in their Sussex Zoom account. They can create the slides together and share the screen when presenting. The tutor and other students can attend but do not need to be there.

All Zoom meeting recordings are transferred to Panopto so the student that has hosted the Zoom meeting will find it in the “Meeting recordings” folder in their Panopto “My folder”. The host will need to move the recording to a Panopto Assignments folder created by the tutor and would need to submit it on behalf of the group to a Canvas Assignment.

Depending on how you have set up the Group Assignment you can grade and leave feedback on the student contributions individually or as a group. You can use the SpeedGrader functionality but you can also use the Panopto Discussion feature to add comments at certain points during the presentation recording. If you wish the presentation to be peer reviewed you can allow peer review in the Assignment settings.

We have a guide on setting up a Group Presentation assignment  and a guide for students using this method. If you are interested in doing group presentations and you would like some help please contact tel@sussex.ac.uk and the team will get back to you.

As always we have many good ideas on the Teaching Online, Learning Anywhere site so we recommend you take a look, enrol and check regularly for updates.

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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