Student Presentations

Student Presentations

Why use student presentations?

Student presentations serve many purposes in coursework. As you think about the best way to transition presentations online, consider the primary goals for presentations in your course. For example:

  • Is it important that student presenters interact with an audience? Are there asynchronous interactions that are sensible for your context?
  • How important is the product itself to the course objectives? Could students use other technologies and/or media to demonstrate the same learning?
  • Is this a group or solo presentation? Is student collaboration important to the course learning objectives?


Student presentations

Orally and/or visually communicate about course ideas


Synthesize and explain complex ideas for a nonspecialist audience

Create a presentation using particular media and/or techniques

Students present in real time using Zoom, either to entire class or just to instructor. Use screen sharing function to display slides, videos, and/or other visual media. Consider having students present synchronously if interaction between presenters and audience supports key learning objectives.

Students record presentations using Zoom or other video recording software (iMovie and similar tools are powerful but have limited UVA support), and post to Collab/Canvas under Media Gallery. Asynchronous presentations are likely to be more accessible to other students.

Using this practice, how do I...

create equitable and inclusive learning experiences for my students, particularly in difficult and uncertain times?
  • Provide more than one option for how students can complete the assignment, recognizing that students will have vastly different working environments and access to technology.
  • Students are adapting to many changes and stressors right now. Consider how much of a learning curve changes to presentations will require and look for ways to minimize new things students will need to learn. If they are anxious about how to use the technology, this is likely to detract from the effort they’re able to put into the aspects of the presentation related to key learning objectives.
  • If using synchronous presentations, consider if and how you allow students to interact with the presenter. Provide expectations for and model respect and reciprocity in the interactions.
  • Protect yourself and your students from “Zoombombing."
acknowledge students as whole people and design for their social, emotional, and intellectual development?
  • Recognize that students will have a range of prior knowledge and experience with the presenting medium.
  • If students will now need to use technology in ways that were not part of the original assignment, clarify whether the new format(s) will affect the assessment. For instance, if students were originally to present live and now must make a video of themselves presenting, will the quality of the video also be assessed? If so, be sure to support their learning how to use the technology.
  • If students appearing in their presentations is not critical to your learning objectives, tend to students’ possible anxieties about showing their faces by allowing multiple styles of presentation, such as screen casts and animations and podcasts. These types of presentations may also be more effective in the new medium than a video of someone speaking.
  • Tend to student motivations. Especially if the assignment is not obviously a creative production, indicate which parts of the assignment should reflect the students’ interests, attitudes, and unique positionality.
allow students to make connections and organize their knowledge in meaningful ways, recognizing their prior learning and addressing any inaccuracies?
  • Decide how students will source content for their presentations. Include scaffolding assignments to help students organize their thoughts and develop arguments or create drafts of creative work.
  • Student presentations allow students to demonstrate how they organize and apply information and principles. The creative process allows synthesis of discrete concepts, theories, and arguments.
enable students to acquire and practice skills and receive feedback?
  • Create clear assignment instructions and evaluation criteria that enable students to balance their efforts between the quality of the presentation and the mastery of the content. Make sure evaluation criteria reflect the type of learning that is most important for your course. Consider using a rubric to evaluate and make sure rubric reflects the new circumstances as appropriate.
  • Producing outlines, practicing the presentation/performance in front of peers, and other scaffolding steps can be incentivized in the assignment description and/or rubric. Consider what new skills students will need to learn and practice in order to present successfully in a virtual environment.
  • As much as possible, give students low-stakes, formative feedback on their scaffolded work and practice, in order to ensure the final presentation is as successful as possible. For example, use Zoom breakout rooms for students to practice presentations in front of small groups before giving a final presentation.
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