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Student Presentations

Using Student Presentations as an Assessment Tool

Whether done individually or in groups, presentations are an assessment strategy through which students can demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes in almost any course or discipline. Assessment goals may include, but are not limited to:

  • showing understanding of course concepts, or ability to consider those concepts in other contexts
  • outlining research results, process steps, etc.
  • demonstrating specific knowledge or skills (e.g., mastery of another language)
  • giving an artistic performance (e.g., monologue, instrumental or vocal recital, dance)
  • synthesizing various perspectives or viewpoints
  • exhibiting oral communication skills

Student presentations can be facilitated in-person or online, and can be reviewed asynchronously via audio, screencast, or video recordings.

Tips for Facilitating Student Presentations
  • Create a rubric to guide students through creating the presentation content and delivering the presentation itself. Criteria related to content can tie directly to achievement of learning outcomes within your discipline, your prompts, or generic categories (e.g., argument clarity, provides supporting evidence). Criteria related to delivery might include mechanics (e.g., eye contact, audible volume), technology (e.g., augmented presentation vs distracted from presentation), and ability to answer follow-up questions posed by you and the other students. In class, have the students apply the rubric to a sample presentation from someone outside of the class and discuss (e.g., former student recorded presentation, recorded presentation from YouTube). 
  • Provide students with a checklist for effective presentations (e.g., Ten Steps to Preparing an Effective Oral Presentation from Princeton).
  • Make it an iterative process, with reviews of the presentation outline first, the slides next, and the presentation itself last. This will give students separate feedback about their content or argument separate from the delivery.
  • Encourage students to use resources from the HUB Writing Center and to get feedback from one of the HUB student partners for writing/public speaking.
  • Include other students in peer review,, where students use the rubric to review all classroom presentations or a limited number of presentations (you can assign specific presentations for each student to review). In addition to rubric comments, you can ask students to note the most relevant points of each presentation or generate a follow-up question for the presenter.
  • If you have access to a digital video camera, record in-class presentations so students can assess themselves and review along with peer feedback and your evaluation.

Facilitating Student Presentations Online

There are many ways to facilitate discussions in the online environment. Just as you might have students provide each other with feedback on their presentations in your face-to-face courses, leveraging tools such as Camino discussion boards and Google forms can help students engage with each other’s presentations. Having clear criteria for presentations is especially important since many students may not have done online presentations before (see this article for additional ideas to guide students’ work). There are also a number of tools you can use to have students present online:

  • VoiceThread is a multimedia presentation software program embedded within Camino (see this guide) which allows users to create slides with embedded audio, video, or text comments. Students can work asynchronously with their classmates to create multimedia presentations that can be shared with the class to watch outside of class time (see this guide for students). 
  • Zoom can be used to have students present synchronously (in real time) or it can also be used to produce video or audio recordings (see this guide for recording with Zoom).
  • Smartphones often have pre-installed video and voice memo apps that can be leveraged for recording video presentations and podcasts. Having students record podcasts can be a great way to help them focus on their content without having to worry about how they look on camera (check out this rubric for scoring podcasts if you’re interested in trying this type of assignment).

Additional Resources

Princeton University. (n.d.). Teaching oral presentation skills to undergraduates

Weimer, M. (2013, February 21). Student presentations: Do they benefit those who listen? Faculty Focus.


Page authors:
Dr. Kevin Kelly, Lecturer at San Francisco State University
Dr. Rachel Stumpf, SCU Faculty Development Program Manger

Last updated:
August 6, 2020