What is expected from individual in-class presentations:

 (rev 9/27/2020)

* In this class you are required to give one in-class presentation on a reading assignment, and two in-class presentations about your chosen candidate or issue. You can give a second presentation on a reading assignment if you want to, and I will count the better of your two presentations and discard the lower grade.

* Your job in in-class presentations about the reading is to get the class thinking about the reading.  Keep the presentation short. Ten minutes should be plenty of time. You should not summarize the entire reading assignment. Rather, focus on one or two key issues, you may answer one of my web-posted questions, and pose (and answer) a question or two of your own.  Organize your presentation around the subjects that are interesting to you, which is not necessarily the order of presentation of material in the reading assignment. You don’t want to be saying, for instance, that after chapter 2 comes chapter 3, and then we get to chapter 4… If you have a critique or criticism of the reading, all the better.  What do you see as the inherent weaknesses and strengths of the author's argument? How does the kind of evidence the author relies on affect the kind of conclusions they can draw? Brevity and clarity will be rewarded in presentation grades, as will interesting critiques that get the class thinking.

 * Try to make eye contact (through Zoom) with your fellow classmates.

 * I would prefer you not to read from notes, but you can use notes to remind you of key points. It is helpful to practice your presentation at least once on your own before class. You can show slides if you want to. If you will have slides, please also email them to Professor Rosenfeld.

 * If you are going to have slides, write in full sentences and please try to avoid sentence fragments on the slides.

 * Assume that the class has done the reading.

 * If you have questions of your own to propose to the class, please also have answers in mind so that you can steer the discussion.

* It is useful to train yourself not to speak too quickly, and not to fill your speaking pauses with a lot of “Uhhhs” and “Ummms.” These speech patterns are natural, and you probably don’t realize how often you say them. Record yourself practicing and you may be a little surprised. You will sound smarter if you allow yourself to pause fully, and avoid the “Ummms.”

* Don’t apologize for verbal miscues or for losing your train of thought momentarily. Technological problems are going to happen sometimes, don’t stress about it.

* Your presentation on an assigned reading should be in a different class than your two paper assignments.

* Your presentations on your candidate or issue (before the election and after) should bring as much data in to the discussion as you can: what do the polls say, what have newspaper editorials said, what did the results show, and what have you learned from phone canvassing?

 

Presentations on your candidate, your election results, and your canvassing experience:

* You should endeavor to learn as much about your candidate (or your election issue) as you can. That includes: how the candidate (or issue) is polling, how they are perceived in the press, who supports them and who opposes them, and so on.

* Your election experience will include your own voting experience (if you are eligible to vote) and all the subjective aspects: did you have to wait in line? If you cast your ballot by mail, were you able to check if your ballot was received and counted? Why did your candidate or campaign win or lose? What advantages did they have and which advantages did they squander?

* Your reports on your canvassing experience should include a variety of subjective experiences: How hard was it to find canvassing opportunities? Was there a sensible or useful training? Was your experience of making phone calls frustrating or depressing (if so, it is fine to say so). What did you learn (about other Americans and about your own political views) from your interactions with strangers over the phone? Could you tell whether you were calling partisans of your party, undecided voters, or some other group? How well organized was the campaign you volunteered for? How well did they train you? If you ran the campaign, what would you have done differently?