ENGL 4886: Digital Worlds: September - December 2013
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Response to an in-class presentation

As the designated respondent to an in-class presentation, your role is to be the first to respond to the presentation of your peer. You should thank the presenter for his/her presentation and perhaps mention one or more of its good qualities: what about the presentation did you like? what seemed useful? what was particularly funny or interesting? etc.

You should then ask questions of the presenter. The questions should be based directly on the presentation: they should not go too far afield from what the presenter discussed. You can ask for clarifications (of a particular point or two the presenter made). You can ask if the presenter could apply one or two things she/he said to one or more texts (from our course that we have seen in class already or are scheduled to see in class that day). At a more advanced level, you can challenge what the presenter said by offering alternate perspectives on the theory/theories being offered. This could be as simple as saying something like, “When I read this essay, I got the impression that it was more about X than Y. Your presentation suggests that Y is the more important reading. How does what you say change if you accept my understanding of X?”

Note that you will not be the only person to ask questions of the presenter. Others in the class are encouraged to ask questions as well. But as the designated respondent, priority will be given to your questions, before discussion is opened up to the rest of the class.

You should consider it your duty to read (carefully) the essay upon which your peer will be presenting. If you understand the essay well, you can then ask questions relating to anything in it that the presenter did not spend time on or glossed over. Perhaps you felt the presentation did not do full justice to the essay: in which case you can cross-examine the presenter a bit.

You may be in a situation where you disagree with most (or all?) of a presentation. If this is the case, you should feel free to say so, but to say so in a kind and professional manner. It then becomes your duty not to tear apart the presenter and his/her presentation, but to help the presenter come to a better understanding of the theories at hand.

You will be graded on how well you are able to respond to the presentation: how pertinent and fair your questions are, how well they reflect your own understanding of the presentation, and how good they are at provoking an academic exchange of ideas.

You are free to consult with the presenter before she/he presents in class. She/he may or may not be able to offer you any indication of what her/his presentation will be about. Remember that most students do most of their work for such assignments the night before they are due. The presenter is under no obligation to help you in your role as designated respondent.

Marc R. Plamondon, Ph.D. Department of English Studies Nipissing University