27 Jul 2018

Academic Writing and Presentation Workshop

by Adams Osman

The Technical University Braunschweig class was on Academic Writing and Presentation Skills. It was scheduled for the Ist, 8th and 15th June, 2018 in Braunschweig. The facilitator was Matthew Ford, he exhibited high level of command over the topics by using a more practical based approach. On the first day of the class, 1st June, 2018, we were introduced to different forms of abstract writing. Students were made to appraise abstracts by rearranging sentence parts in their own words while working on ambiguity.

Matthew’s major concern was grammatical constructions and semantics where students were encouraged to use simple text and straightforward language. He further emphasised the need for one to consider the objective, methodology, main results and conclusion in writing an abstract. An assignment was given to students to identify three (3) abstracts in a particular field of study. The abstracts were to be critiqued based on the number of words, correct use of connectors, objectives, methodology, results and conclusion.

The second session took place on the 8th of June where students presented the previous assignments for criticisms from the class. After which the day’s presentation on skills of developing power points and presentation were given. This session was the most beneficial to me and I believe to other students. He was much particular on having a maximum of just four to five lines or points on each slide. He also stressed on being much conscious of the time one has and developing the number of slides to meet the allocated time of presentation (Suggesting that if one has 10 minutes of presentation he should allocate only 2 minutes to a slide hence the number of slides to be developed was just 5). The students had the opportunity to also talk about their presentation experience and the worst presentation or best one they have ever had. For the days teaching, an assignment was given to us (students) to develop a powerpoint to be submitted a day before the next session in 8th June. Knowledge acquired from presentation helped immensely redevelopment of my own slides to be presented at Leipzig African Conference. The assignment was also good as it improved coordinated and group work among the students. Because each student didn’t want to be the bad presenter with the bad score during the next session. Students circulated their presentations among each other first which was further followed by one on one discussions on the weakness and strength of each student. Also criticism from fellow students was instrumental in redesigning the slides to be presented.

On the day of presentation, all presentations were adjourned well by the lecturer. The best part of it all was the lecturer’s ability to identify each student’s weakness after presentation (this was something which amazed everyone as for just 10 mins, the criticism and personality judgements given by him of students fits perfectly). At the end of the lecture, the students thanked him for his service, time and high level of commitment and mastery in teaching. He also wished each one a happy stay in Germany and safe journey back to Ghana and Nigeria. However, the students took the opportunity to visit State Natural History Museum after the last class session.