Oral Reports

At the beginning of the term I will circulate a list of topics suitable for reports of no more than 7 minutes in length; each student will choose one topic for the first of your two reports. Your job will be to inform your classmates as clearly and concisely as possible about various historical, literary, and cultural matters that can aid understanding of the works we're covering. You should be able to find all the information you need by means of a brief Internet search or by consulting reference materials in a humanities library.

I will grade you both on the accuracy and usefulness of the information you present as well as on your presentation style, which should not be too slangy and informal. I will be looking to see if you have prioritized the information you found so as to present what is most pertinent to our concerns in the class.

Suggest topics for oral reports:

  • Britain's Divorce Act of 1857
  • Rajah James Brooke of Sarawak
  • The "Great Game"; the Afghan Wars of the 19th century
  • Lohengrin, the Chevalier Bayard, and El Cid
  • Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt
  • Greek myths of Daedalus and Icarus (from Ovid); St. Stephen
  • Irish Republican Brotherhood; "Fenians"
  • Irish Literary Revival (or Renaissance); the Gaelic League
  • Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and the occasion for which it was written

Final Report

Final report: 10 minutes

For your final report, present alternative endings for the novels we have read this term (as many of them as you choose; if you choose fewer, you should go into greater detail in developing your alternative endings) and give some comments justifying your choices.

Advice on Oral Reports

  1. Have a prepared outline or text to speak from, but ...
  2. Don't just read out a text; make eye contact with your audience and talk to it.
  3. Rehearse and time your presentation in advance.
  4. Convey your information to the other students, not just to me.
  5. Prepare PowerPoint slides or provide handouts showing unfamiliar names or terms, maps, etc.
  6. If you use PowerPoint, don't just read out to the audience the exact same words that appear on the slides. We can read! The slides should provide the skeleton of your report, not the entire substance.

And for the audience:

Since everyone will be presenting and it will thus be your turn eventually, be respectful to the student reporting, pay attention, take notes, and show some appreciation for the effort that has gone into the presentation.