Oral Report Assignment for Professional Writing

[All of my advanced writing and professional writing classes do oral reports. This is an example from a recent professional writing course.]

Once you have compiled your research in a draft Annotated Bibliography, you will be asked to share your findings both online and through an oral report. We will be presenting these reports the weeks of February 20 to March 3, and you will have about fifteen minutes to provide a detailed summary of your main theme or interest.

You will need to base your oral report on at least three texts from your annotated bibliography. The idea is to create a lively and critical discussion about writing. Ideally, these conversations will extend our understanding of the issues we have been discussing in class.

The best way to encourage discussion is to present your ideas as an argument or debate. Which of the writers you have been reading do you agree with and which do you find dubious? Why? Which of the ideas you are talking about seem to be confirmed by your own experience, and which do not? Why might that be the case? Do all of the writers you have cited agree with each other or are there implicit or explicit disagreements? Do you agree with these writers?

I encourage you to rely on your own experiences; that’s often the best way to clarify ideas and to engage your audience. You are also welcome to use whatever visual aids you feel can help with your explanation. You want to take these presentations seriously, but don’t be so formal that you seem stiff; think of the oral report as a way for researchers interested in a common topic to share ideas in a professional setting. Conclude your report by talking briefly about the sort of writer you are considering interviewing and the sorts of questions you might ask in order to deepen your understanding of the ideas you have developed in your research thus far.

My assessment will be based on how well you explain and present your ideas as well as those of the articles in your bibliography. Here are some places where you can find ideas about successful Oral Reports:

Ideas for Enhancing Oral Reports” by Robert Harris

Designing Effective Oral Presentations” from the Rice Online Writing Laboratory