At some point, all of us are faced with the challenge of talking about our research in public. Whether we're speaking to our colleagues, an audience at a professional conference or even our family and friends, it can be a struggle to get across the results of months (or years!) of work in only a few minutes.
In this seminar, we'll talk about ways to improve scientific or professional communication. More importantly, students will have the chance to experiment with several different presentation methods and see what method works best for them. By the end of the semester, I hope that we'll be better equipped to discuss our research with both experts and non-specialists. I also expect that students will have put together a set of visual aids that they'll be able to use later in conference presentations, job interviews or public outreach.
As a 'pre-work' assignment, I'd like you to read two articles on presentations and professional communication.
The first article is called 'Let there be stoning' [PDF] and was published by the journal Groundwater in the mid 1980s. The tone of the article is pretty aggressive but it makes several good points about problems that you often see at professional conferences.
Second, have a look at 'The cognitive style of PowerPoint' [PDF] by Edward Tufte. Tufte is an Emeritus Professor at Yale University who is widely respected for his writing on information design.
Please read both articles before next week's class; they should provide a sneak-peek of some of the themes we'll discuss over the next few weeks and help you decide if this course is right for you.
See you Thursday morning, Room R-370 in the IonE Building (St. Paul Campus).