Dare to Disagree

Overview:

This is a TED talk by Margaret Heffernan that describes the value of conflict and how it enriches our ideas and creates progress.

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Strengths:

Quick video link; the video lasts about 13 minutes. Simple way to add multimedia into your classroom time.

Concerns:

I did not have many concerns with the content or use of this material.

Recommendations for use:

This video can be shown to any class that uses group process to demonstrate the value of conflict to group discussions and growth.

Evaluating scientific credibility (or, do we have to take the scientists’ word for it?)

The author directly addresses and attempts to refute the notion that only scientists are equipped to evaluate scientific evidence. She argues that, and explains how, even if someone cannot evaluate a study’s data or methods, that person can evaluate whether the data is logically used to support arguments.

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Strengths

This article does an excellent job of reminding students that they can evaluate whether the structure of an argument is logical, even if they cannot understand the individual premises. With regard to the sciences, this article would be very helpful for introductory students, because it helps them understand that they can evaluate scientific claims, even if they don’t understand all of the data or methods.

Concerns

The first half of the article references previous blog posts which were not did helpful or relevant to the SLOs. BUT…the article is brief, and the second half was useful.

Recommendations for use

Use this article to introduce students to the idea that they can evaluate the logic of a scientific claim (or an argument in general), even if they cannot understand the raw data (or evidence in general). This blog post would pair well with an exercise where students map and evaluate the logic of an argument.

Critical Thinking Fundamentals

A series of brief 5-10 minute video clips that introduces the philosophical concepts of truth and validity. The Critical Thinking module has several videos, but this reviews refers to just three: 1) Fundamentals: Validity, 2) Fundamentals: Truth and Validity, and 3) Fundamentals Soundness.

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Strengths

The videos are engaging with high quality visuals and content. Moreover, the videos stand alone as a resource that students can use on their own time.

Concerns

The video describes sound arguments in general, but is not specific to oral arguments. Students would probably struggle to make discipline-specific connections, but this is something that an instructor can do in class.

Recommendations for use

An instructor could use this video to introduce the vocabulary that students need to describe whether an argument makes sense. It would be important to supplement the video with discipline-specific examples.

Twenty tips for interpreting scientific claims

This article introduces 20 lines of questioning that relate to interpreting scientific evidence. The article is targeted at politicians and aims to prepare them for asking better questions of scientific experts.

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Strengths

The article includes a very diverse list of things to consider when evaluating scientific evidence. It does not deal with evaluating the data, but with evaluating the assumptions, arguments, and sampling methods.

Concerns

The article does not stand alone as an academic resource. It introduces topics using accessible terminology, but does not develop each concept to the point that students could apply it without further instruction. If students were asked to read one of the 20 points in this article, an instructor could use that brief paragraph as the starting point for robust classroom discussion.

Recommendations for use

The article could be used as the roadmap for an entire section of class, or any one of the twenty points could be used to introduce just one subtopic that relates to evaluating scientific arguments.

Preparing for Oral Presentations

A document that includes VERY BASIC tips for preparing an oral presentation: 1) Determining the Purpose, 2) Thinking about the Audience, 3) Preparing the Content 4) Preparing the Visuals, 5) Practicing the Delivery.

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Strengths

I include this resource because I liked the “Observer Checklist” on page 30 and includes a nice template for providing feedback on the performance (non-content related) aspect of oral communication.

Concerns

A vast majority of the material is not very beneficial because other resources deliver the same content more effectively. That is, most of the suggestions are more clearly described in other resources.

Recommendations for use

Incorporate the “Observer Checklist” into a more comprehensive set of questions for providing feedback on both content, and delivery.

What if My English Isn’t Good Enough?

This website addresses common fears that people might have about giving an oral presentation in a second language. There are practical suggestions, and links to a video where a TA puts these suggestions into practice, and delivers a clear presentation despite having a strong accent. The target audience is international TA’s, but the content will generalize well to undergraduates.

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Strengths

The following strategies help shape how students perceive your English language abilities:

  • Check for understanding by stopping periodically to have students summarize for you and the rest of the class the material you have just finished explaining.
  • Ask for clarification.
  • Help your students understand you better by using a board.

Concerns

The content is directed at Graduate Student TAs, so at first glance an undergraduate student may not find the material relevant. BUT… this resource can be a really good conversation-starter for helping non-native English speakers.

Recommendations for use

Individuals in a teaching capacity should glean from the content to help non-native English speakers prepare for presenting. Additionally, the strategies can be used as a starting point for anyone looking to become better presenters.

Designing effective scientific presentations

A 42 minute video that provides basic guidelines for delivering a PowerPoint presentation. The video focuses on scientific presentations, but generalizes well across disciplines. The first 25 minutes provides basic rules for preparing clear slides, the next 15 minutes has instructions for how to organize an oral argument to best engage the audience, and the final few minutes includes tips for how to practice speaking and solicit feedback.

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Strengths

Includes practical tips with both positive and negative examples. The video is easily accessed, the speaker is engaging, and the video includes subtitles in both English and Spanish.

Concerns

This content is a great resource for improving oral presentations that are aided by visuals such as a poster or PowerPoint presentation. The content may not be helpful for improving oral communications that do not incorporate visuals. The video can be viewed via YouTube, but is not available for download through YouTube. The video can also be accessed through iBiology.org, downloaded and free to share provided you abide by the Creative Commons terms.

Recommendations for use

Use this OER in classes where students deliver PowerPoint or poster presentations. The talk is designed with PowerPoint in mind, but through class discussions students could translate the basic guidelines into tips for preparing a poster.

Speech Critiques: Why study other speakers?

Read critiques and view videos of famous speeches from history with this resource. Andrew Dlugan, an award-winning public speaker and speech evaluator has taken numerous well-known speeches and broken down the positive and negative aspects of each.

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Strengths

There are many and varied speeches on this site. It is a wonderful place for students to start to learn the vocabulary of critique. The links are embedded and all work well on the site. The evaluations are easy to read and well-formatted.

Concerns

Be sure to check out the specific rules of use on this material for copyright. It is encouraged for fair use in the classroom, but you may not take written materials and reproduce them into your own powerpoint.  As long as you send the students to the Six Minutes site, the videos are free to use.

Recommendations for use

With a growing supply of speech videos readily accessible, video critiques can be especially useful teaching and learning aids. This site could serve as the “how to” before assigning student critiques of speeches. The link could be provided via Scholar as a homework assignment.

Oral Communication Toolkit

Instruction about speaking and presentations skills is presented in this toolkit, “Oral Communication Skills.”

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Strengths

The toolkit begins by providing a list of opportunities to use Oral Communications Skills in the classroom. Within this pdf, there is a clear table of contents that allows the user to jump to a specific section via hyperlink.

Concerns

This is a good, basic, beginner’s guide to oral presentation. It is not an exhaustive or comprehensive consideration.

Recommendations for use

 

This toolkit might be particularly helpful to anyone who is considering incorporating an OC designation into a class.

Checklist: Questions to ask when assessing the validity of primary and secondary sources

This checklist helps students understand and question the validity of primary and secondary sources.

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Strengths

In addition to being succinct and easy to use, the questions are well-written.  The document also explains the differences between primary and secondary sources.

Concerns

This document is a bit difficult to find. You must first go to the website indicated. Then, click on “questions to ask when assessing the validity of primary and secondary sources.”

Recommendations for use

 

This checklist could be distributed in hard copy or electronically to students who need to evaluate and assess the validity of primary and secondary sources they are using to support an oral presentation.