Presenting Complex Information

Course Description:

This course is designed specifically to help engineers and scientists develop better strategies for organizing, displaying and presenting complex data in ways that facilitate understanding in non-expert audiences. The course will apply current research from cognitive/learning sciences and technical communication, to present strategies for adapting complex information based on insights from these areas.

Students in this course will have the opportunity to develop presentations in their own interest areas that reflect best practices in the organization, design, and delivery of presentations. Students will get concrete feedback on how effectively their presentations communicate complex information from both communication experts and other participants in the course.

Students will Learn:

  • To examine different strategies for presenting complex information
  • To review methods for analyzing and adapting information for different audiences
  • To discuss content organizational strategies
  • Techniques for developing presentation slides and visual information
  • How to describe techniques for improving presentation delivery

Course Modules:

Module 1 – Analyzing the Speaking Situation

  • Learning Objective: Explain and apply demographic, psychological, and environmental audience analysis, analyze their own strengths within the speaking situation, and apply methods of information gathering to the speaking situation.

Module 2 – Organizational Methods for Arranging Material

  • Learning Objective: Compose effective intros, conclusions, and purpose statements and apply appropriate transitions and organizational structures to organize their material.

Module 3 – Explanation Strategies

  • Learning Objective: Apply the strategies for presenting elucidating, quasi-scientific and transformative explanation and identify and apply tools for effective instructional presentations.

Module 4 – Creating Visuals with Maximum Impact

  • Learning Objective: Use the assertion-evidence model to create professional slides, create effective graphs and diagrams and explain the best practices for use of font and color.

Module 5 – Using Delivery Methods to Captivate Attention

  • Learning Objective: Apply extemporaneous and impromptu delivery methods in both individual and group presentations and explain effective elements of vocal and physical delivery.

Recommended Background:

  • Engineers and scientists are ideal students for this course
  • Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in these fields will also benefit

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