Small Group Course Leadership

due ?

an overview . . .

The goal of this assignment is for you to work through and present a class lecture and to lead a discussion on a given topic. Your rhetorical goal is to help facilitate the learning of the class toward your particular week’s subject not to display mastery of the material.

To simply present the material is not enough. You must expand the class and add value to the conversations of the class. Value comes in terms of showing new content, asking new questions, making new connections, engaging the class in new activities.

Your goal is to ground the material, readings, and issues of your particular weeks topic in the lived experience of members of the class and in the context of previous readings and assignments. Your group will then divide the topic into segments so that each group member will have at least one aspect to research or a particular take on an aspect or issue. As a group, you will need to coordinate your efforts and organize your presentation. You will be given class time to meet with your group.

You will be coworking not assembly lining your presentation.

In a nutshell, your goal is to add value to the readings for that week.

evaluation . . .

Group Presentation/Group Memo: 75 points

  • Each group will lead a class discussion that needs to be substantive i.e. it will need to be long, though the format is up to the group. That presentation must include:
    • a collaborative activity with the class
    • a slide show to help accomplish your goals
    • a memo that describes your teams goals are
    • a new “tool” (a website, an app, etc.) to help the
  • Each group should plan to take up approximately 40 minutes of class time

Peer evaluation/Individual Memo: 25 points

  • Members will grade each other’s efforts in preparation. This grade will have to be justified on the part of the grader i.e. why does little Johnny deserve the “Very Helpful” you are giving him. I will provide you with a form to help facilitate this.

getting started . . .

Here are some suggestions on how to start:

  • What about that week’s topic is interesting to you? What might be interesting to the rest of the class? Is that day’s author on to something? Using shoddy evidence? Not using the right sources? Pandering to their audience?
  • Isolate some issues involved in your topic then explore each of the issues in depth to discover some of the key problems or questions, and then assign areas of research. Also consider methods of presentation which your group can consider using
  • Each person should share the information he/she gathered so that the group as a WHOLE expands its understanding of the topic, the issues, and the problems. Also, there should be some discussion about what is yet unknown to the group

deliverables from group . . .

Due the day of the presentation

  • a hard copy class planning memo turned in the day of the presentation
  • slideshow turned in the day of the presentation

deliverables from individuals . . .

Due one week after presentation.

Reflective hard copy memo indicating:

  • A paragraph reflecting on the overall experience as well as the presentation from a personalized perspective. Please note, I am uninterested in your opinion of the value of group work.
  • One paragraph discussing both the performance and process of each fellow group member evaluated according to the following system: (Extremely Helpful, Very helpful, Helpful, Not So Much, Detrimental). Please make a claim then give specific supporting detail to support that claim i.e. if Doug was “Not So Much,” it is because he didn’t really talk while we were trying to figure out what to do and then didn’t seem that prepared the day we gave the presentation.

two final pieces of advice

For God’s sake, listen to me about this. I have been teaching collaborative work for ten years. I have seen many; many presentations go down in flames. Here are the two biggest pitfalls and you can easily avoid them.

One, learn the technology in the room you are presenting in. Know how to get your presentation to work. Download everything. Internet connections FAIL mostly when you are in front of people. Know how to lower the lights. Don’t listen to Jimmy when he says he knows how to do it because Jimmy is a clown and he’s just saying that to impress you.

Two, do not, under any circumstances, divide the labor and make certain people responsible for individual things. Tackle the work, together. For example, don’t put Jimmy in charge of making the slide show because Jimmy is a clown and won’t do it. Make the slideshow together. Write the content together.

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