2020 Basic Presentation in Physics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Physics
Shi Jie 
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Course description and aims

This course is designed for students who have had little or no prior experiences in English academic presentations at informal and formal levels. It trains students in the following two aspects:
(1) basic public and social communication skills, e.g. introducing oneself, impromptu speech and other types of short speeches, and communication with international researchers in research labs;
(2) basic academic presentations skills, e.g. describing experiments, giving definitions, group discussion, poster and ppt presentations, and Q&A

Through interaction between students and students and teachers in the class, students practice and acquire not only the basic skills of English for social and academic presentations also cooperative learning skills.

Student learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:
(1) make a short self-introduction and an introduction on his/her current research
(2) make a short impromptu speech on social and simple academic topics of 3-5 minutes
(3) communicate with international researchers on social and research topics in labs and on campus
(4) understand the basic skills of how to describe experiments, give definitions as well as instructions
(5) participate in small group discussion
(6) make short poster presentations (with ppt presentations optional) and participate in Q&A sessions at poster presentations


basic presentation skills, short speech, group discussion, poster presentation, Q&A

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Each class is divided into four stages, the review, orientation and warming up stage, the lecture and controlled practice stage, and the free and application stage. Students are engaged in active participation in class activities either individually or collaboratively in small groups.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Guidance, Self-introduction, Icebreaking, Pre-course survey Preparing to talk about current research
Class 2 Impromptu speech 1: social topics Read the handout on Impromptu Speech and prepare the next impromptu speech
Class 3 Impromptu speech 2: current research description; necessary technical terms and expressions
Class 4 Communication with international researchers/students in labs: Interpersonal communication Preparing Survey on difficulties encountered in communicating with international students in labs
Class 5 Communication with international researchers/students in labs: Intercultural communication Applying interpersonal and intercultural communication strategies in labs
Class 6 Giving definition and explanation of terms, concepts and theorems (Review of Basic Writing in Physics) Preparation for describing an experiment/research
Class 7 Description of experiments (Review of Basic Writing in Physics)
Class 8 Group discussion skills: Sharing information (Review of Basic Writing in Physics) Read the handout on formal academic presentation structure, outline and characteristics
Class 9 Group discussion skills: Giving opinions; Basic formal academic presentation types and structure Preparing a research poster of either a conference or a lab type to bring to class
Class 10 Analysis of the characteristics of poster presentation Rehearsals of poster presentation
Class 11 Poster presentation Rehearsals of poster presentation
Class 12 Poster presentation Rehearsals of poster presentation
Class 13 PPT presentation Preparing a research PPT file to bring to class
Class 14 PPT presentation, End-of-Course Evaluation

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

To be announced in class

Assessment criteria and methods

Students are required to keep a high percentage of attendance and to actively participate in class. Creativity and critical thinking are highly encouraged and valued. As cooperative learning is a crucial point of training, students will need to be willing to work with other classmates in various kinds of activities. Student participation and collaboration in class are also part of the final evaluation.
Attendance, attitudes, performance and collaboration with other students in class: 30%
Presentations: 50%
Homework: 20%
Students' self-evaluation and peer evaluation will also be considered.

Related courses

  • PHY.P611 : Advanced Presentation in Physics

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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