**For oral presentations via Zoom, registered participants should check their email for the most up-to-date information. Any references to an in-person event below do not pertain to the Spring 2022 Virtual Showcase :)**
On this page:
Students of various programs on campus (eg. Honors, UROP) use the Undergraduate Showcase to fulfill an oral presentation requirement*. Presenters have the option to participate in an oral presentation when registering for this event.
Presenting a research project or creative work orally is a great way to practice general public speaking skills. Since students will have only one shot to present their project or work, they will need to figure out how to effectively communicate their ideas to a wide audience with different academic backgrounds. While that can be intimidating, the Undergraduate Showcase has resources to help presenters make the most of this opportunity. Students should read through this page for pointers, guidelines, and other resources to help them prepare for their presentation.
*Please note that the Undergraduate Showcase is not responsible for keeping track of presentation requirements of academic programs on campus; it is the student’s responsibility to make sure s/he meets the appropriate requirements of his/her program by participating in this event.
10 minutes for the oral presentation and 5 minutes for Q&A.
It is important to observe these allotted times ; this allows all presenters equal opportunity to present their work and answer questions. Moderators will keep time and give warnings to let each presenter know when time is almost up and when it has ended.
The Undergraduate Showcase recommends that students practice their presentation multiple times beforehand to ensure they stay within the time limits.
The oral presentation should be a concise yet detailed summary of the student’s project presented in an interesting and logically organized way. General information to cover in your presentation:
Research projects: introduction, research question/hypothesis, significance, background/definitions/literature review, methods, results/expected outcomes, analysis/conclusion, and references.
Creative works: introduction, significance, craftsmanship/skill, creativity/originality, discussion/conclusion.
*Presenters can find the most current feedback forms under Oral Resources.
Keep in mind that presenters will have a varied audience, so they should be able to communicate their ideas to people from a broad range of disciplines. Planning out and practicing the presentation ensures that presenters do not add excessive amounts of details and/or leave out important ones by running out of time.
The oral presentation should cover the main ideas and details of the student’s project; any visual aids should help enhance the key points, not overwhelm the presentation. Presenters should carefully select supplementary visual aids that add value to the presentation; text slides should be treated as prompts, rather than reading them aloud to an audience. See the Technical Requirements section for more information about creating your presentation with Microsoft Powerpoint.
Showcase suggests the following general guidelines/tips for preparing an oral presentation:
- Abstracts should contain the main points of the project and can serve as an outline.
- For text in visual aids, use at least 24 point sans serif fonts such as Arial or Helvetica. Avoid excessive italics or highly stylized fonts.
- A picture is worth a thousand words and can really add to a presentation. Make sure graphs are appropriately labeled.
- Always insert pictures rather than cut and paste. This is done from the insert menu at the top of Powerpoint.
- Use high contrast colors and a simple design. Limit use of animation/special effects.
- PROOFREAD the presentation files more than once.
- Relate the project/work to the audience to keep them engaged in the presentation.
- Avoid reading from slides; use notes sparingly. Eye contact is important!
- Have a back-up version of your Powerpoint as a PDF file and any notes printed in hard copy. See Technical Requirements for more details.
- Make eye contact, speak clearly, and loudly enough for all to hear.
- Practice, practice, practice! Not only will this help students stay within their allotted time frame, but being well-rehearsed will help presenters feel ready, calm their nerves, boost their confidence, and do their best at the Showcase.
- Tips from past Showcase presenters can be found here.
Presenters can find more detailed information for creating an effective oral presentation here.
Click here for sample presentation files from past Undergraduate Showcases.
For virtual events conducted over a platform such as Zoom, presenters will need to have the following:
- A slide preparation software that they can present on their own computers
For in-person events, each presentation room will be equipped with the following:
- Presentation remote with laser pointer
If students plan to use Powerpoint, keep in mind the following:
- The classroom computers run the newest version of Microsoft Office, including Powerpoint. If presenters are using an older version of Office, they may experience lagging or compatibility issues.
- All components of your presentation file (including any visual aids and notes) must be viewable offline, as internet access is not guaranteed in the rooms. Pictures, videos, and audio should be imported, not linked from files on a computer or the internet.
- Mac Users: If students create their Powerpoint on a Mac computer, they should test it on a PC before the day of the presentation. This includes making sure that any videos or audio files are PC-compatible.
- Save a second copy of your presentation as a PDF file: PDF slides are less likely to encounter compatibility issues. Presenters can view these slides in full screen within Adobe Reader (View –> Full Screen Mode), noting that this will remove any slide transitions or effects.
- Print a set of notes in hard copy: Students must not rely on Presentation mode in Powerpoint to read their notes, as there may be technical issues with the computer on the day of the Showcase.
Workshop sessions are held each semester to give registered presenters some pointers for preparing their oral presentation as well as provide feedback to help guide registered participants as they put their presentation together. This is a great opportunity to bring ideas or drafts of your presentation for feedback from experienced presenters. Please check the Workshops page for additional online resources. Upcoming workshop sessions can be found on the Important Dates page. Register for one of the sessions if interested.
Presenters will find out during which oral session they are presenting in when the final program draft is sent out for registered participants to review.
Please note that it is proper etiquette to remain in the presentation room from the beginning to end of the oral session. By remaining in the room for the entire session, students minimize disruptions from entering/exiting classrooms, support their fellow presenters, and learn about the work their peers are engaged in across campus.
The Event Overview page has general times of the various sessions scheduled to take place at the Showcase.
For virtual events conducted over a platform such as Zoom, presenters will send their presentations as a Google Drive link by Zoom chat to the room’s tech moderator before their session begins on the day of the Showcase as a precaution in case they cannot share their screen for any reason. Please upload your presentation to Google Drive before the event and make sure that the link works.
If presenters are capable and no technical difficulties occur, they will share their screen and navigate their slides themselves.
For in-person events, all presenters will upload their presentation files on the morning of the Showcase. Students should name the file US.LastnameFirstinitial (eg. US.WuS.pptx). They should bring this presentation file with them on a flash drive, as internet access is not guaranteed. The Undergraduate Showcase strongly recommends that students load a back-up version of their presentation files in PDF format on this flash drive as well as have a hard copy of their notes in case there are any technical issues with their main presentation file.
Presenters need to arrive at the designated registration time period found on the Event Overview page, check in at the registration table, and immediately proceed to their assigned room to upload their oral presentation in the appropriate session folder on the computer in the room. Check-in time is the ONLY time presenters may upload their presentation in their designated room, regardless of which session they are presenting in. See the Event Overview page for the exact timeframe.
The Undergraduate Showcase highly advises students to arrive early, as all presenters will be uploading their files during this period. When uploading, presenters should double check that their files open correctly on the computer in their assigned presentation room.
For virtual events conducted over a platform such as Zoom, all presenters must check into their rooms and send their Google Drive presentation links to the room’s tech moderator before their assigned session begins.
See the Event Overview page for the exact session times. All oral session presenters must follow the instructions to upload their presentation, as noted in the previous section.
There will be up to four presentations assigned to each room per oral session; these presentations are organized by related academic disciplines or project topics. A number of presentation rooms will run concurrently per session. In each room there will be a room moderator who will keep time and give warnings to let presenters know when their time is almost up and when it has ended. That moderator will also facilitate the Q&A period. There will be a second moderator (tech moderator) to collect your presentation link and assist you if you need technical help.
In order to accommodate all presenters, it is important to closely follow the time schedule provided. Presenters should be in their designated presentation room a few minutes before the oral session officially starts to ensure that the session can begin on time. The Event Overview page provides the time schedule for oral sessions during the Showcase.
Presenters should also be courteous and supportive to the rest of the presenters by adhering to the following:
- Remaining in the room for the entirety of a presentation
- Using breaks in between presentations to switch rooms.
- Muting yourself while peers are presenting and others are talking.
- Refraining from distracting movement while others are presenting if your camera is on.
For in-person events, all presenters must arrive during the registration period to sign in and upload their presentation to their respective room. There is a single check-in and designated upload time which coincides with the registration period on the morning of the Showcase, regardless of which session students are assigned. See the Event Overview page for the exact timeframe. All oral session presenters must follow the instructions to upload their presentation, as noted in the previous section.
There will be up to four presentations assigned to each room per oral session; these presentations are organized by related academic disciplines or project topics. A number of presentation rooms will run concurrently per session. In each room will be a moderator who will keep time and give warnings to let presenters know when their time is almost up and when it has ended.
In order to accommodate all presenters, it is important to closely follow the time schedule provided. Presenters should be in their designated presentation room a few minutes before the oral session officially starts to ensure that the session will begin on time. The Event Overview page provides the time schedule for oral sessions during the Showcase.
Presenters should also be courteous and supportive to the rest of the presenters by adhering to the following:
- Remaining in the room for the entirety of a presentation session, as entering/leaving rooms is disruptive.
- Using breaks in between sessions to switch rooms.
- Not talking while peers are presenting.
- When outside of the presentation rooms, keeping volume to a minimum to avoid distracting presenters.