Small Group Presentation Assignment

Spring 2003, Sections 1541 & 1553, TTh 11:30-12:45 a.m.
Office Hours: MTWThF 9-10 a.m.
MON241, (623)935-8454 (Office)
roselyn.turner {at} emcmail.maricopa(.)edu"">roselyn.turner {at} emcmail.maricopa(.)edu

Course Description
Principles and processes of small groups and development of skills for participation and leadership in small group settings. Practice in problem solving, decision-making, and information sharing.

Course Competencies
1. Identify and describe the basic theories of small group communications.
2. Identify and describe the purposes and functions of small groups.
3. Identify and describe the characteristics of a variety of small groups structures.
4. Organize and conduct small group meetings using a variety of formats.
5. Identify the major factors of small group dynamics.
6. Identify and describe the roles involved within groups.
7. Apply verbal land nonverbal communication techniques in the small group process.
8. Describe how differences in the background and experiences of group members impact the small group process.
9. Identify and demonstrate strategies for developing a supportive climate in a small group.
10. Identify and use effective conflict management strategies in a small group.
11. Demonstrate intercultural sensitivity within the group process.
12. Identify and use team-building techniques.
13. Demonstrate effective interpersonal communication skills in small group settings.
14. Use meeting management techniques to organize, plan, and conduct a small group meeting.
15. Identify information required in the research of a topic.
16. Describe the techniques of information management.
17. Identify and describe theories and styles of leadership.
18. Identify, describe, and demonstrate key leadership functions within small groups.
19. Use appropriate problem solving techniques to identify, analyze and resolve a problem in a small group setting.
20. Utilize Internet technology for communication.
21. Utilize multimedia support to enhance presentations.

Course Evaluation

Grading Criteria:
90-100% = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, <60% = F

    • In-class Activities (10 points each)


    • Homework Exercises (10 points each)


    Group Projects (50-500 points each)

Required Materials
Text: Packet of readings from Communicating in Groups and Teams, Lumsden and Lumsden, 3rd Edition, Wadsworth: Belmont, California. 2000.
One notebook for keeping notes, handouts, and research materials.
Two 3.5 DSHD floppy disks (double-sided high density) or One Zip 100 disk
Poster boards, or overhead projector transparencies, or other materials as needed for visual aids or props

Homework Policies
The design of this course includes a commitment to perform a minimum of 20 hours of Service Learning. Service performed outside of class will be considered homework, and no additional homework assignments will be required during that time. The course may also require time outside of class for group meetings (in person or on the internet) that will also count as homework time.

Course assignments are due on the day scheduled within the first 10 minutes of the start of class. If you arrive in class more than 20 minutes late on a due date, your assignment will be penalized 10%. Assignments more than one class session late will not be accepted, and a score of 0 points will be recorded for that assignment.

You will receive two grades for group projects and presentations an individual score and a group score. Each group project or presentation will have built-in individual accountability and positive interdependence. In addition, you will engage in self-evaluations and group processing that will also determine your grades.

In-class group work cannot be made up unless the student communicates with the instructor and the group members about a necessary absence PRIOR to the absence. Violating the attendance policy may lower grade.

Extra credit may be afforded students who, are, at the time, passing the course and who have not violated the attendance policy. Extra credit opportunities may included participation in, and support of, service and communications events on or off campus.

Attendance and Tardy Policies
Because of the very nature of this class (i.e., GROUP), it is imperative that students attend all classes. Your established group will be dependent upon you to fulfill your role and tasks in class. Students may be dropped from the class after three absences.

Occasional tardiness is understandable, but if it becomes continual, a private conference will be held between student and instructor. Class will always begin on time, and being tardy means missing important instruction, learning, and performance.

Other Policies
A grade of Incomplete will be given at the discretion of the instructor, and only if a student, at the time of the request for an Incomplete has performed up to that point at a 70%, or higher, level. The grade of Incomplete is not available to students who are performing at less than a 70% (D or F) level.

Policies regarding plagiarism, grade appeals, student grievance, special services, and other concerns are included in the Estrella Mountain Community College 2002-2003 Student Handbook.

Common courtesy to classmates and instructor dictates that all cell phones and pagers should be turned off or put on vibrate mode during class time.

Disclaimer Statement
Instructor reserves the right to alter course assignments and due dates to meet the needs of the class.

Instructor Availability
This instructor firmly believes in the philosophy that YOUR success is MY success. My job is to teach you and provide the conditions, to the best of my ability, to help you achieve the course competencies. I, therefore, make myself available to you for conferences during my office hours and/or by appointment. Please communicate with me and your assigned group members if you have advance notice of a necessary absence so that arrangements can be made for make-up.

We can all be great, because we can all serve.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

COM230 Small Group Communication
Course Assignments and Due Dates

T,1/21 I d really rather work alone Your Groups and Teams
Introduction to course
I m not a leader I m a follower! Your Teamwork Responsibility
Homework: Read pp. 12-24 – Your Groups and Teams and do ex. #2, p. 24
Read pp. 28-31- What Leadership Means and do ex. #1, p. 50

Th,1/23 I can t do it all myself! Helping Leaders Help the Team
Roster, Truth/Truth/Lie, Scavenger hunt
Homework: Survey of problems, and read assigned article

T,1/28 Make a team outta this group? The work in teamwork.
Group processes, shared image activity
We ll solve the world s problems! Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Service Learning (SL)

Jigsaw/presentation assignment
Homework: Individual assignments
Read pp. 356-365, Common Preparation Steps

Th,1/30 Now that we know it all, how do we tell the world?
Groups prepare PBL and SL PowerPoint presentation.
T,2/4 Now we see the whole picture! PBL and SL Presentations.

PBL/SL Assignment
Homework: Conduct research regarding volunteer/problem-solving opportunities on and/or off campus.

Th,2/6 Hey! I need a group! Group Formation for PBL/SL Project
Sharing of information opportunities, problems, schedules
Group formation, group identity activity
PBL process Problem statement, what you know, what you need to know, hypotheses, research
Homework: Read pp. 262-274, Approaches to Leading and do ex. 1 p. 273
And ex. 3, p. 274
Individual research assignment


T,2/11 Who is the new leader? Visionary, Transformative, Inclusive, and Servant Leadership.
Ex. 1 and 2, p. 275
I need a plan, man. Planning the SL project
Sharing of research findings, begin group workbooks
Homework: Individual assignments
Ex. 3, p. 303

Th,2/13 Why can t I just go along with the group?? Groupthink.
Read assigned section from pp. 288-292 and handout. Do ex. 4, p. 303
Progress reports regarding SL projects

T,2/18 Whaddya mean I can t give a thumbs-up ? Nonverbal Communication
Reform groups, Group research assignment nonverbal communication
Research and DiscussionBoard training
Homework: Individual assignments

Th,2/20 Group Research at EMC commons
Homework: Individual assignments

T,2/25 So, how are we gonna present? Public Meeting Formats
Forum, Symposium, Lecture, Panel, Colloquy, Debate, Performance, Buzz Group, Role Playing, Workshop, Seminar, pp. 336-347
Research/presentation preparation
Homework: Individual assignments

Th,2/27 Group Presentations on Nonverbal Communication
Group, Self, and Peer evaluations
Progress reports and discussions regarding SL projects
Homework: Read pp. 240-247 Approaches to Listening and Questioning

T,3/4 What s that you said? Active Listening
Homework: Ineffective Listening observations
Read pp. 296-302 Conflict

Th,3/6 Let s just duke it out! Conflict Management

Exercise #1, p. 303 Conflict Assessment Form (due M,3/10 noon)
Homework: Individual assignments, and prepare or purchase food for potluck

T,3/11 So, how are we doin ? Conflict Management Assessments

Homework: Research assignment: Intercultural Group Communication
Read pp. 315-317 Members Who are New or Different

Th,3/13 BlackBoard Assignment Discussion Board:

Share a time when working in a group you have observed or experienced miscommunication because of the diversity of the group members. Describe the situation, the membership, and the result of the miscommunication. How could the communication have been improved? React to each other s experiences and provide your insights and suggestions.

T,3/18 – Th,3/20 No Class (Spring Break)

T,3/25 What s in a label? That which they label a rose is still as sweet
From Stereotypes to People
Them. They. Those People. Intercultural Competency

Decision-making/labeling group activity and processing
Homework: Your Intercultural Competency

Th,3/27 The games people play and I don t mean Monopoly! Game Playing
Gamebook assignment
Homework: Individual assignments

T,4/1 Preparation of Gamebook
Homework: Individual assignments

Th,4/3 Group presentations of Gamebook
Homework: Read pp. 200-202 Decision Modes

T,4/8 Decisions, decisions! Achieving Consensus
Consensus activity
Homework: Brainstorm rules for ethical group communication

Th,4/10 Is it right or wrong? Ethical Group Communication
Code of Ethics group brainstorming and consensus activity
Homework: Individual assignments

T,4/15 Preparation of Code of Ethics
Homework: Individual assignments


Th,4/17 Presentation of Code of Ethics
Service Learning web page assignment
Homework: Complete Service Learning journals

T,4/22 Sharing and analysis of Service Learning journal entries
Web page planning
Homework: Individual assignments

Th,4/23 Web page planning
Homework: Individual assignments

T,4/28 – Th,5/1 Web page production
Homework: Individual assignments

T,5/6 Web page production
Disks due end of class time
Homework: Make or purchase food for potluck

Th,5/8 Final Exam Service Learning Web Pages Showcase

We came we formed we normed we stormed we PERFORMED!!

Tips for Assigning Oral Presentations

Oral presentations can be among the best part of a class, or they can be the absolute worst. While there are few guarantees in the world of teaching and learning, here are some tips to make success a more likely outcome for you and your students.

1. Plan Ahead. Oral presentations take time—time for you to communicate your expectations and offer at least basic instruction on techniques; time for the students to prepare and rehearse outside of class; and time for them to actually give the presentations in class. Insufficient time devoted to any of these three things is likely to mean disappointing results.

2. Be Clear with Yourself About Your Goals. Why are you assigning presentations? Do you want to help your students become better speakers? Have them share the results of their research with classmates? Make them responsible for doing some of the teaching? Encourage active learning? Stimulate discussion? Transform your class from a monologue to a multi-voiced dialogue? Give yourself a break during a period you know will be busy? Break the monotony of exams and papers?

All of these are legitimate goals, and while they are not mutually exclusive, some require different planning and modes of evaluation than others. If you want to stimulate discussion and turn the class into a multi-voiced dialogue, for instance, you need to allow plenty of time for conversation afterwards and might want to have just one or two presentations a day. If your goal is instead for them to share research findings, it might be appropriate to schedule a number of presentations in the same class period.

3. Write a Clear and Complete Assignment. Writing the assignment out helps both you and your students. It forces you to articulate what you want and gives you something to return to when evaluating the presentations or pointing students to what might have been lacking in their performance. And having the written assignment gives students an authoritative document to return to for guidelines when they are preparing their presentations.

‘Clear’ and ‘complete’ means not assuming students know what you’re looking for but rather specifying all of the following in non-ambiguous ways:

Identify goals or aims of the presentation: spell out the purposes of the assignment and how it fits in with other course objectives. It is useful to put this right at the top of the assignment sheet under the heading ‘Purposes of this assignment,’ followed with a short list of 2-5 aims such as:

  • to allow students to share their research with their classmates.
  • to display skills of summarizing and condensing lengthy material.
  • to gain practice translating technical journal articles into oral communication suitable for a lay audience
  • to build upon concepts from the first unit of the course
  • to give students an opportunity to set the agenda for group discussion.

 Establish a reasonable time length: a specific range (e.g. 3-5, 8-10, or 15-20 minutes) is usually better than ‘about 5 minutes’ both because it reduces ambiguity and it encourages students to rehearse their presentation ahead of time.

Clarify all parts of the assignment: include both the steps leading into the presentation as well as the required components of the speech itself. One can require students to have their topic approved by you and hand in a working outline of the presentation, as well as a bibliography, several periods before they speak. On the day of the presentation, have the students turn in a formal, full-sentence outline along with the notes they use to speak from. You can ask them to bring a cassette tape to record their presentation and then hand in a self-evaluation during the next class period. They receive points for all of these parts.

For the presentation itself, be clear about what you expect: clear organization (introduction, body, and conclusion)? Supporting evidence or quotations from the text?A certain number of outside sources? A visual aid or handouts?

Highlight relevant due dates: specify due dates for both the different parts of the assignment and for the presentation itself. For the latter, decide who will give their presentations on what day (or let them choose).

Detail criteria for evaluation:exactly what will they be graded on? You might hand out the evaluation form you will use, or just make a list of criteria at the bottom of your assignment. Some possible criteria include:

  • a clear pattern of organization (intro, body, conclusion, transitions).
  • an effective delivery (eye contact, appropriate rate/tone/volume/gesture/ appearance).
  • meeting time constraints (too long or too short typically means the presentation was not sufficiently rehearsed).
  • a speech that is tailored to the audience (assumes proper level of knowledge, is absent inappropriate jargon).
  • an incorporation of outside research or concepts from the course.
  • the appropriate use of visual aids.
  • evidence of independent thought or creativity.
  • a presentation stimulates class discussion.
  • the speaker displays knowledge during question and answer session.
  • overall communication (speaks with the audience—not at them).

4. Prepare Students for Success. Once you have determined the goals, component parts, and criteria for the assignment, you can move students toward success in three ways. First, discuss the relevant techniques they will need to use—from how to select a good topic to research, adapting to your audience, using appropriate language for oral communication, and raising productive discussion questions.

Second, show good and/or bad models of these techniques. You can do this through your own speaking, by the use of videos, or by drawing attention to good examples in your students (teaching from bad student examples is a trickier business).

Third, give them opportunities to practice. The best kinds of practice involve students getting to do more than one evaluated presentation. If this is not possible, give them in-class or at-home practice opportunities. You can use peer groups here—one-on-one or small group exercises—or you could require them to tape record a rehearsal of their presentation at home and evaluate it before they give it in class.

5. Evaluate the Presentations to Help Them Improve. While giving an oral presentation in itself can be good practice, evaluating student efforts and giving them a grade can help even more. This means that you need to develop a plan for grading them.

You can use a formal evaluation sheet that includes a list of the criteria and room for written comments at the bottom. For the list, you can give students a check, plus, or minus (fine, excellent, or needed work) for each criterion with brief comments on the reasons for such a mark.

Try to put the criteria in roughly the same chronological order as the speech itself will be given (e.g. introduction at the top, Q/A toward the bottom) and fill most of this part of the evaluation sheet out as the student speaks.
Take copious notes during the speech, but make certain to grade the speech soon after the presentation, otherwise the memory of the speech will slip.

Also, use the formal outline the students turn in; it makes following the speech and developing pointed comments much easier. Students respond best when you include positive comments along with constructive ones.

Rubrics often provide comfort to students concerned about how their oral performances will be evaluated. They also assist instructors in grading speeches consistently.

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