HSEP 301 (POLI 367/CRJS 367)

Class Presentations


The Presentation

PPT Slides

Grading Rubric

The Presentation

A good class presentation is like a good paper -- be organized and straight forward.

  1. The presentations will be five minutes long. You don’t have much time.  All you can do in five minutes is essentially give a beefed up version of your introductory section of your paper.  What is you topic?  How did you examine it?  What were the three or four major findings of your research?  What are your overall conclusions?
  2. To organize, think as a journalist would. What is the topic and issue at hand: who? what? where? when? why? Let the audience know immediately what the question you are addressing is and what the main topic of your presentation will be. For example, if the topic is al-Qaeda’s leadership, you want to start off by saying that. "My topic is al-Qaeda’s leadership.”   If the specific issue is the difficulty of penetrating foreign terrorist networks say that. "The issue I'd like to address is the difficulty of penetrating foreign terrorist networks."
  3. In spite of what many might have taught you, the trick is not to sound intellectual and complex, but to be clear and simple when you speak. Another example: "My topic is counterterrorism efforts against the al-Shabab organization in Somalia. Three groups have been fighting al-Shabab.  The local government, the African Union peacekeeping forces, led by Uganda, and US and Ethiopian efforts to isolate and defeat al-Shabab.  These efforts have largely been unsuccessful because no stable government has emerged to really challenge al-Shabab’s.  It remains the only organized political force in the nation.”  Then you can have five PPT slides.  The first three can be one each on the three main counterterrorism efforts you mention above.  The fourth can be on the reasons why they have failed and a fifth can be on what might be done to fix the problem.  You don’t have to explain who al-Shabab is or who their allies are or what their goals are because the other PPT presentations of your classmates have already explained all that.
  4. Above all else, be organized, just like you were writing a paper. Put your presentation into an outline form and then as you speak simply go through your outline, item by item. Or say, "I want to discuss three reasons why AQ will not be able to develop and sustain a long-term presence in Southeast Asia.  First, the nations in Southeast Asia are much more prosperous than nations in other parts of the developing world.  This will deny AQ a critical mass of recruits.  Second, the nations of Southeast Asia are democracies or are moving in the direction of democratic institutions.  The ability to freely criticize governmental policy creates an outlet for political dissent and reduces the likelihood that large percentages of the population will radicalize itself to the point where it may fund and support terrorists even passively.  Three, these nations have secular traditions, separation of church and state is a basic ideology of these nations’ institutions.  Factors that might change this, however, could be a long economic down turn or a failure of public education to maintain a viable alternative to religious education, which can often be militant in nature.”  Then talk about each one in turn.
  5. Since you are presenting along with some other people, you may want to organize your presentations into a coherent whole.  Work together to avoid overlap and duplication (some will be unavoidable).  I would suggest getting together outside of class and working on this.


The PPT Slides

Powerpoint is required.  Sample PPT slides for al-Shabab, based on the al-Shabab Origins Executive Summary.  You must use Power Point in your presentation. Each student can use at maximum five slides. They are due on the day of your presentation.

    1. PPT slides must be emailed to me by the day of the presentation
    2. On the day of your presentation, come to class early and boot up your PPT presentation on the screen, so that when I get to class, we can begin the presentations at exactly the time when class should start.  We don’t want to waste five minutes getting the slides up on the screen.  I can show everyone how to work the machine if necessary.
    3. Remember that you have five minutes for each student presentation.
    4. You should meet with your group before the presentation day to plan the presentation and square away any overlap.
    5. If anyone has any questions on how to use PPT, please let me know. I can help.
    6. The criteria for grading the presentation is based in the rubric below.  This is what I will use to grade your presentation and PPT slides.  I’ll fill out one for each of you and hand it back to you along with a grade.

Grading Rubric


Name____________________________________  Group______________________________






PPT Style



·      5 minutes, not longer?

·      PPT loaded onto the classroom computer before class starts?

·      5 slides no more?

·         Bulletpoint subject headings, not text?

·         Illustrations?

·         One concept per slide?


·         Are the important elements of the issue-area  covered?

·         Is there enough depth, but not too much depth (Big picture issues rather than small details)?

·         Analysis of the key questions?

·         Focus on assigned issue only?

·      Pace

·      How well does student seem to know the material?

·      Reading PPT slides?

·      Reading notes or using them as a reference?

·      Lecturing based on knowledge of material?