Welcome to the class webpage for English 3A, the purpose of which is to enhance (and dare we say, 'perfect') your presentation skills. Students should expect to complete this course with a firm grasp of skills to make presentations in English.

As you will readily understand, we have an ambitious syllabus for you to enjoy. While you will certainly be busy with all your other exciting classes, it is of utmost importance for you to devote sufficient time and effort to this course. Homework, for example, should be finished on time. Presentations should be rehearsed until you are fully confident in your masterpiece.

 Course Objectives 

The purpose of this course is, of course, to equip you fine students with the skills to go out into the wide, wide world of academia and use English to make presentations. The syllabi for the respective classes are here: Wednesday 3rd and Friday 4th.

 Weekly Classes 

A call to arms here to encourage students to devote themselves wholeheartedly to their endeavors in this class ... do your best, I'll help you along, and we'll all be fine!

 Week 1 (April 12/14, 2017) — Audience analysis 

In this first class of the new year, we will talk some about the oral components of public speaking and making presentation. We will also consider audience analysis.


  • ✓ Have a good look through our class webpage.
  • ✓ Send me an introductory e-mail (details in class).

 Week 2 (April 19/21, 2017) — Organization and PPT  

Our second class will be devoted to organization of presentations as well as some tips on the use of PowerPoint.

A further activity today will be some reading and an explanation of the fine art of writing a summary. We will be using the "Virtual Reality" reading below.

 Class Material & Homework: 

  • When Virtual Reality Goes Social
  • ✓ Assign first presentation (Class 4).
  • ✓ Assign the mid-term presentation (Classes 8-9).
  • ✓ Prepare presentation outline and PowerPoint (due in Class 3).

 Week 3 (April 26/28, 2017) — Logistics and tech usage; critiques  

A brief point today is to consider again the role of logistics.

Today we will talk some about writing critiques of your presentation, which you are required to complete for each of the three presentations this term.

 Critique links: 


  • ✓ Remember to bring your computer for next week's presentation.
  • ✓ Prepare presentation outline and PPT (hand in before presentation on May 10/12).

 Week 4 (May 10/12, 2017) — Presentations  

This class will be devoted entirely to presentations by small groups of students.


  • ✓ Prepare your self-critique. Remember you may hand in either a hard copy (i.e., paper) or a soft copy by e-mail.

 Week 5 (May 24/19, 2017) — Presentation English; Logic (1)  

Today I would like to devote a few minutes to the usual structure of a presentation as well as the English you could (and should) use therein. I will explain the structure in class, and we will then walk through this handout on presentation English.

Next I would like to spend some time on logic and logical fallacies. While this might seem a poor fit for our presentation course, the ability to both recognize and avoid logical fallacies is an important skill in the academic world. In presentations — the focus of our class, of course — your purpose is to both inform and persuade your audience. If your logic is suspect, then your power of persuasion will decline, which is certainly not a good thing.

From TMM, here are his Top Ten Most Irritating (Informal) Logical Fallacies (video). You'll need to listen carefully and probably several times because he speaks quickly, but this is an informative video. Of course, you could simply refer to the transcript here.

Let's take a few minutes with this worksheet on logical fallacies. Just for fun, we also have this fine reference paper on fallacies.

Following you will find a series of short videos from the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research in Australia.

 Logic Videos: 


  • ✓ Hand in the critique of your self-introduction.
  • ✓ Something else here.

Note: I will be in the US on a business trip from May 28 to June 4, so we will have no class on May 31 (Wednesday) or on June 2 (Friday).

 Week 6 (June 7, May 26, 2017) — Logic (2)  

The video to the right is an hour-long introduction to various types of logical fallacies. We will watch some of it, but you'll have to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home if you'd like to watch it in its entirety.

Our point in spending some time on logic is that you need to be aware of how pervasive logical fallacies are and be careful of using them in your own work. In presentations — the focus of our class, of course — your purpose is to both inform and persuade your audience. If your logic is suspect, then your power of persuasion will probably decline, which is certainly not a good thing.


 Week 7 (June 21/9, 2017) — Presentations, Part 1


  • ✓ Hand in presentation outline and PPT.

 Week 8 (June 28/16, 2017) — Presentations, Part 2  

Mid-term presentations, second half.


  • ✓ Hand in two checklist evaluations.
  • ✓ Prepare critique of a presentation of one of your classmates (due in Class 10)
  • ✓ (Optional) Obtain video of your own presentation.

 Week 9 (July 5/June 23, 2017) — Speed work (1); Q&A (1)  

Over the next three classes, we will be spending time on extemperanious speaking as well as questioning and answering skills. Both are areas for which time is of the essence and quick thinking is crucial.

We will be discussing nuclear power (Unit 10) today and perhaps in the subsequent class, too.

Here are my Q&A guidelines.


  • ✓ Hand in critique of one person's presentation
  • ✓ Assign final presentation

 Week 10 (July 12/June 30, 2017) — Speed work (2); Q&A (2)  

Today we will be spending some time simply working on fluency in your speaking. As you'll soon understand, this is NOT rocket science, but it does underscore the importance of practice. We will be using a talk by Arthur Benjamin titled "The Magic of Fibonacci Numbers," which all you fine math students should enjoy. Just in case you'd like to have a digital copy, here is the transcript of Professor Benjamin's presentation. On the presentation side, folks, note how nicely he uses animation in his slides.


  • ✓ Assign TED Talk homework (due in Class #14)

 Week 11 (July 19/7, 2017) — Speed work (2); Q&A  

Today we will again be practicing impromptu speaking skills in addition to doing some fluency work.

Today we'll be doing some fluency work using an entertaining TED talk by Adam Spencer titled Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers. Of course, you might find it helpful to have in hand the megaprimes transcript.


  • ✓ Review for easy take-home exam (due by July 19).

 Week 12 (July 26/14, 2017) — Impromptu practice and easy exam  

Good day, everyone. As you know from class last week, we will be having a take-home exam instead of spending our valuable classroom time on such a silly thing! Seriously, testing does have a role to play, but I would like to spend this class practicing your impromptu skills.

 Class Material: 

  • easy take-home exam (due by July 19).
  • ✓ Remember your TED Talk critique is also due by July 19.

 Week 13 (July ##/21, 2017) — Final presentations  

On this final day of our spring term, you lucky people will be entertaining everyone with your impromptu speeches. Again, you each will have three minutes of planning time, after which you will speak for three minutes.

As you will cleverly remember, you need to obtain a video clip of your final presentation, watch it as many times as you'd like, and then prepare a critique of your impromptu speech. The critique will be due by July 31, and I will not accept any late homework.


  • ✓ Hand in critique of one TED Talk.
  • ✓ Obtain video of final presentation.

 Finally ...  


  • ✓ Hand in critique of your own impromptu speech (due by July 31)


The logos were created on Cool Text.

The background image is courtesy of Momorial Cards.

Date last updated: April 9, 2017 * Copyright 2017 by JE