Using Team Presentations and Workshops

Team presentations and team-run workshops help students develop teamwork skills through group research activities, and the entire class gets involved.

Presentations are a team (or a person) giving the results of completed work to a specific audience, usually followed by a Q & A session. This form helps students develop skills they will need for conferences and interviews.

Workshops are presentations that, along with a team (or a person) giving the results of completed work, also involve the audience in several short activities to demonstrate applications of the topic under discussion. Those activities might involve testing, trying, building, brainstorming, etc.

The advantage of workshops over simple presentations is that the audience is more involved. The disadvantage of workshops is that they usually take more time than plain presentations.

This workshop assignment presents a model as do the workshop rubrics and evaluation measures used by the audience to evaluate the team’s effort. The instructor also completes the Workshop / Presentation Feedback Form—of course instructor feedback is usually more detailed than that provided by students.

Having students evaluate one another keeps their attention focused on the presentation, and the exercise develops their feedback skills. Explain that good feedback has three parts:

  1. What was good in the original
  2. What needs improvement
  3. Ideas on how to improve weak spots

Two Ways to Use the Team Evaluation

  1. Ask students in the audience to complete the evaluation anonymously. (Instructor completes the same form.) Collect the evaluations to read after class. Staple yours on top. Grade the team’s presentation. Next class, give the entire feedback package to the presenting team. In this case you measure only the team, and the evaluation done by the audience is an ungraded exercise in giving feedback to peers. The Learning Outcome would be: “Students will demonstrate the ability to make team presentations.”
  2. Ask students in the audience to complete evaluation forms for each presenting group and, on the back of their sheets, to write their names. (Instructor completes the same form.) Collect all evaluation forms. Make copies of the front sides of the evaluation forms. Staple yours on top of the copied evaluation forms for each group. Grade the team’s presentation. Next class, give the entire feedback package to the presenting team. As for the original evaluation forms: sort them in piles by student names. Throughout the semester, gather all original forms by student name. At the end of the semester, revisit and grade the feedback provided by each student. In this case, a part of the course grade is peer review of team presentations. The Learning Outcome would be: “Students will demonstrate the ability to provide critical feedback for peers who are involved in team presentations.”

The first method works well with larger classes. The second is for small classes.