How To Give A Convincing 10 Minute RESCON Research Presentation

Birmingham City University recently held its 2013 version of RESCON and I delivered a short presentation on an aspect of our contract cheating research. This is an internal conference, bringing together the breadth of research across Birmingham City University.

Whilst there was some excellent research presented, showing the skill base of both the Birmingham City University staff and research students, I also noticed many presenters who were not able to work within the particular constraints of this event. The most notable constraint? A firm 10 minute time limit to presentations, with a very tight schedule, and potentially allowing for some handover time. The other constraint? A multidisciplinary audience, who don’t have qualifications in most of the fields being presented.

Research Mistakes

Because of this, I also observed several mistakes which should never have happened with professional presenters. People pitching their talk at completely the wrong level, or requiring advanced subject skills to understand it. Presenters just wanting to give a talk they gave at another conference with a 30 minute slot, and finding themselves cut off at the methodology section. And, generally, just bad presentation skills, people reading from scripts, mumbling, and suffering from poor slide design.

I can’t immediately solve the poor presentation skills that are inherent around research conferences (one would think that would be a core skill for anyone working in or considering a career in academia), but there are plenty of books and courses in that area.

What I can do is look at the core techniques designed to succeed in a research setting like this, and the motivation behind it.

How To Give More Suitable Short Research Presentations

First of all, the main reason to present at an internal conference like this is publicity. It’s all about keeping your name and research visible around the university and trying to grow the connections which will help to take it to a wider audience. This isn’t the place to debut massive research studies. This isn’t a research conference with a paper attached (these types of conferences do hold value within the Computing field). It’s a place to make connections.

Second, plan to base the talk about an aspect of your research which will make sense to all disciplines. The table showing detailed research findings in a tiny font can wait. Think of something that is accessible and which delegates can understand the basics of. For instance, I watched a presentation on music, where a piece of sheet music was projected and several features of that music were verbally explained. Assuming that most of the audience could not read sheet music, that could have been improved by playing the music.

Third, focus the talk around one idea. One small aspect of the work where a visible result can be presented (the results are generally more interesting than a detailed methodology). I saw an excellent example of this looking at fatherhood as a much larger portion of a PhD study. No technical consideration, but enough examples of results from the research, and quotes from participants, to make this accessible to an audience outside of the Health Faculty. If people are interested further in the research, provide them with a link to your other publications, or an offer to present a longer research seminar, and you’ll cover both audiences.

Fourth. If you’re inexperienced giving research presentations, particularly with this style, review the planned presentation with someone with more experience first. This is true especially for research students, who have the immediate benefit of having a research supervisor available to held them and to fulfill this role.

Think About Research Presentations Like This…

If you take one thing away from this post, make it to present one single accessible idea. Add the short set of interesting slides to your SlideShare account and the rest of your Professional Online Presence and use this to draw people in to the interesting areas of research that you’re working on.

Sandwich Year Placements Within The Computing Industry: Issues And Solutions

One of the key employability aims I have for the courses and modules that I’m responsible for is to allow students the greatest possible chance to obtain a high quality career within the Computing discipline. I particularly favour encouraging students to take an industrial sandwich year placement, to build up work experience and to capture valuable contacts within employment.

Finding out how well universities and higher education institutions across the UK are doing to help students with their placement experience has been a key part of the “Improving Industrial Sandwich Year Placements” research that I’ve been involved with. This talk summarises some of the main findings.

The presentation took place at the Embracing Employability Through Placements In Higher Education Conference, held at the University of Huddersfield. The slides, hosted on SlideShare account for Thomas Lancaster, are included here.

Whilst many of the findings should not come as a great surprise, it is the good practice going on across the sector that most stands out to me. Some of the innovations, such as peer support of placement students, and providing internal opportunities for employment and to develop entrepreneurial skills, are ones that we should be focusing on across the sector.

Commercial Aspects Of Contract Cheating

Our research into contract cheating now includes more than 18,000 examples of attempts by students to cheat. One aspect we wanted to explore is to answer the often asked questions about the monetary sides to contract cheating. Who really profits?

This talk explores the commercial aspects associated with contract cheating, including examples from the diverse range of practices that we’ve uncovered.

The presentation took place at ITiCSE 2013, held at the University of Kent in Canterbury. The slides, hosted on SlideShare account for Thomas Lancaster, are included here.

The research is focused particularly on contract cheating using auction sites, so there are still other areas to explore. The data for those other contract cheating methods, however, can be very difficult to come by.

The Application Of Intelligent Context-Aware Systems To The Detection Of Online Student Cheating – Video Post

Here is the video version of a presentation for the ICAS 2013 workshop. I’m unable to attend this workshop in person as I’m attending ITiCSE 2013 at the same time, however one of my colleagues will provide the presentation at the workshop on my behalf.

The presentation looks at applying the growing research area of intelligent context-aware systems to one of my main research fields of student cheating and plagiarism. I’ve selected three particular problems within the field and proposed some initial solutions which use this type of computer systems.

This area is very much a work-in-progress, as there are several other plagiarism, cheating and academic integrity related problems which I could have selected. Further, with some more development of solutions, each one of these concerns could easily form the basis for a paper on its own.

My intention here is to open up the discussion, and ideas for research focus, solutions and collaboration opportunities are welcome.

The slides are also available here in my SlideShare account.

What Makes Up A Professional Presence For Academics?

There’s always a question about what makes up a good professional presence for academics.

There are so many different sites which could be registered with and used, and this can look overwhelming to someone new to representing themselves online.

These are the slides I delivered for a recent Higher Education Academy workshop where I broke down the main different components which should be considered. The are hosted on SlideShare account for Thomas Lancaster.

One area I found particularly useful to go through was the different ways in which you can promote academic research using social media, so a number of sites related to that are included.

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