2022 First-Year Engineering Experience

GIFTS: The secret is in the details. Improving oral presentation skills with a peer and self-assessed feedback module.

Presented at Technical Session T2

First-Year Engineering Students entering the Cornerstone of Engineering course at XXX University have different levels of Engineering Communication knowledge, often notably weak in oral presentation as a form of communication. Previous methods to teach oral communication included a lecture on how to format and deliver oral communication. This structure provided reference material for the students but had several weaknesses including a lack of peer feedback and self-reflection, in addition to a delay in detail-specific feedback until their skills were called upon later in the course. To remedy this, an oral communication module was created to accompany the lecture. This module had several components: an assignment, an example professional presentation, a best practices handout, peer assessment, self-reflection, and instructor feedback. An emphasis of this module was to have students reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their skills. Through the use of recordings, students were asked to self-evaluate their presentations based on our provided rubric. Of 22 students sampled, the overwhelming majority agreed there is value in teaching oral communication skills. Students also reported that their ability to give presentations and identify small details in their own and others’ presentations improved as well. Finally, many reported that through rewatching and reflecting on their presentation, they were able to identify points of improvement they would not have noticed otherwise. Through the development of these skills in their first year, students will be able to effectively communicate their ideas throughout their academic and professional careers.

  1. Ms. Sarah Lynn Benson Northeastern University [biography]
  2. Dr. Leila Keyvani Someh Northeastern University [biography]
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