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SSDPP Academic Study Group Presentation Practice for Thesis Proposal Defense

[2015-12-02]

SSDPP Academic Study Group Presentation Practice for Thesis Proposal Defense

In the week between November 23rd and 27th the 2014 cohort of SSDPP Contemporary Development of China defended their master thesis proposals. This is an important moment in the thesis development as it makes students even more engaged with their research projects and it gives them an opportunity to hear comments from professors on how to improve their planned research projects. Three professors from the School constitute a Review Committee, that reviews student’s paper draft, listens to the presentation, and comments on the research proposal and the presented content.

However, this is a stressful moment that had kept most of students working until late at night or throughout days and night in a row. In order to help students perform as good as possible at the proposal defense date, SSDPP Academic Study Group organized four sessions of Presentation Practice. Prior to each session, students would apply at ASG present their proposal, and prepare their speech and presentation. At the session, they would present their research the same way as they were planning to do in front of their Review Committee. Only, this time, their review panel was their own classmates!

The sessions were organized from November 23rd to November 26th, in range between 4 and 8 hours per session. With a few snacks, a lot of positive energy and creative atmosphere, the classroom was full of presenters and commentators. Everyone had a chance to be in both roles!

When one colleague would present, everyone else was a commentator, attentive and dedicated to the task. After each presentation, commentators would share their notes, reproaches, advice, but also a few words of praise with the presenters. As we wanted to be as thorough as possible, we analyzed each slide, so we devised a catch phrase “Let’s go slide by slide!” It was tiring, exhaustive and very detailed, but new, interesting and fun!

In the end, the presenters gathered all the comments and insights, went back home and worked more on their presentations. At the official proposal defense date, everyone was much better than at the Presentation Practice. Much better! The harsh comments of peer-reviewers were valuable and useful. Fortunately, the professors at the Review Committee got to see only the improved versions. And in the process of presenting and commenting, everyone learned a lot and everyone would remember the advice for the future presentations. Most importantly, we built the environment of team work and mutual help, without reservation and with friendly attitude!

Seeing how amazingly useful this exercise was for the 2014 cohort, we strongly encourage colleagues from the whole University to be brave and step up to present in front of their colleagues. Hear and listen to their advice and ideas with a very open mind. For every researcher it is important that they hear themselves present their project to someone else. In that way, they have a chance to see their work from a distance, and realize what they have to improve or change or keep the way it is. Also, we encourage colleagues to come and comment on others’ works, professionally and friendly, as this exercise helped the commentators in focusing, paying attention to the details, summarizing, referring and guiding the presenter through their own project.

We want to share our experience with other fellow students, so we invite you to prepare your presentation, contact the SSDPP ASG with the date when you would like to present and be commented on, “slide by slide”. Very useful, so much that we will start organizing Presentation Practices before the actual Thesis Defense, as early as March. This way, everyone will have the time to present, hear comments from colleagues, review their presentation and their research, and be brilliant at the date of the actual defense! Welcome to join us! You will enjoy it and it will be a valuable contribution to your hard work.


(by Aleksandra Radjenovic from 2014 cohort)




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