Hacking Rhetoric

End-of-semester presentations


Your oral presentation is free-form, open-topic — with one limitation. Since this is a course in rhetoric, your presentation should make some kind of argument. It does not need to relate to the course theme.

You are allowed to work in groups of up to three to put together these presentations. Time limits are as follows:
Individual: 4-5
Pair: 8-10 minutes
Trio: 12-15 minutes

These time limits are rigid — don’t go over! We need to have time for everyone to speak and for people to compose their feedback.


Your presentation can take any form at all, but it should incorporate a verbal component. You might like to:
Get together with a partner and stage a debate

  • Write and perform a brief stand-up comedy routine, or a dramatic play
  • Put together a Pechha-Kucha presentation — 20 slides x 20 seconds each
  • Compose a multimedia presentation incorporating video, music or slides
  • Write and perform a song
  • Make a Prezi
  • Remix texts into a video with Animoto or Popcorn Maker

Or any combination of the above! Your voice should dominate (more than 50% of the presentation) and external sources should be used judiciously (don’t think you can show a 4:15 YouTube clip someone else made and offer 45 seconds of commentary to meet the time limit). Likewise, audience participation is acceptable but should not dominate the presentation.

Your immediate audience will be your peers in the class — however, you can ask them to assume another role if it helps your presentation. For instance, you might want your presentation to be an address to the Facebook Board of Directors, in which you try to convince them to institute more rigorous privacy controls — in this case, you can ask your classmates to pretend that they are the kinds of people on the board.

‘Assessment’ criteria

A good presentation, for our purposes:

  • Makes a specific argument or claim (most weight)
  • Effectively employs rhetorical strategies studied in class
  • Uses evidence and selected materials to support that argument
  • Actively engages the audience
  • Demonstrates thorough preparation (few or no notes)
  • Adheres to the genre or format selected
  • Stays within the time limit (least weight)

You’ll receive written feedback from me and (anonymously) from your peers about your strengths and weaknesses. You can refer to your presentation in your Learning Record, but don’t have to–think of this as an opportunity to hone your presentation skills and get a lot of information about what works and what doesn’t.

I’ll post a link to an online form for anonymous peer feedback closer to the date.

In the meantime, please sign up to present on either Monday or Wednesday.