First Year’s Formative Presentations
I teach Illustration with Animation and Graphics students Design Theory as part of their Contextualising Practice unit at Manchester School of Art. This week my first year group handed in their formative assessments. Their assignment was to produce a poster illustrating their research and write 500 words about an object/image/collection/piece that had inspired them in the lecture series in the unit so far. For their hand-in session the students were expected to pin up their posters and give a short presentation on their work.
I had a two hour session for 27 students to present in, this needed to also include time for them to pin-up their posters, give feedback to each person and for those that needed it, individual presentations at the end of the session. Here you can see the maths means you only get 3-4 minutes per student for each presentation including their feedback. Once you allow for pinning up and the individuals at the end it’s more like 3! So, knowing the students were also going to be nervous I set up the session to (hopefully) minimise the stress and make sure we didn’t run out of time.
Everyone pinned up their work at the start and took a seat in the room. I then worked my way through the register, inviting each student to talk about their poster for 2 minutes but allowing them to present sat down if they wished. To try and make this as positive experience as possible I gave each student post-it notes on which they were to make a comment (example in image) about the ‘best’ or ‘most interesting’ part of the poster presentation they had just heard. The benefits of doing this were that the students needed to maintain focus throughout the session, it also meant they had to move around in order to put the post-it on the right poster. This kept the energy up in the room. The most important part was of course the positive feedback they then received from their peers. Whilst there was little time to give feedback, one comment from each person quickly adds up to lots of feedback in a room of twenty!
The most successful element of the session was the post-its I would definitely do this again. I would be tempted to half the group size however and have them each in for one hour. This would make them focus more and hopefully encourage more of them to be confident with their presentation. I found we kept to time really well so even with changeover this should still work. However, I found it impossible to manage the changeover of students and make any meaningful notes for my own assessment feedback. This means I’m going to have to spend some time marking the work in the usual way as well as having the presentation session. An increased length of session, so the students could read their whole mini essay and time after this to then make notes would alleviate this in the future.