Topic Presentation

You'll PRESENT materials and TEACH a class about a specific topic in social computing.

Tips & Info

What do I do?

Once a semester, you'll lead a class section for 30 minutes. This means you'll stand in front of the class, present your own material, run activites, ask and answer questions, and facilitate class discussion. Here are the three steps that are involved:

  • Share your lesson plan with the course staff and get feedback. This is a written document (maximum one page) that needs to be sent to the course staff.
  • Read the pre-class material thoroughly (not just the required ones but all readings for that day). Also, read peer students' critiques for the assigned reading and summarize them. Cover them during your presentation.
  • Submit your presentation material and activiy document after your presentation.
Your presentation should include the following:
  • Summarize the pre-class material and peer students' critiques. Showing related real-world examples is often a good idea. But stay away from giving a long and detailed summary of the pre-class material students have already read or watched.
  • Lead an in-class discussion by asking questions, giving prompts, or throwing provocative statements.
  • Design and run an in-class activity, which should ask students to analyze, design, make, or present something.
Key in your session is to include interactive components, such as a short design exercise, a simulated crowdsourcing task, a poll, group brainstorming, etc. Surprisingly, designing for interactivity requires more time, thought, and effort than preparing a one-way lecture. So please plan ahead and talk to the course staff for feedback and help.

Why do this?

One-way lectures are boring, and they are not the best way to learn. You learn better by teaching and engaging.

How do I submit?

Here's a timeline for a Tue (Thu) presentation:
  • Sun (Tue) night: Email your lesson plan in PDF by 11:59pm two days before class, which would be Sunday (if presenting on Tue) or Tuesday (if presenting on Thu). This is to give you enough time to iterate on your plan and get feedback or help from the course staff.
  • Mon (Wed) noon: Check students' reading responses.
  • Mon (Wed) afternoon: Prof sends you feedback on the lesson plan.
  • Mon (Wed) night: Send your (tentative) slides by 11:59pm the night before your presentation. All discussion points and activity should be finalized. Minor tweaks can be made until the class. This is to ensure that Prof can better sync his part of the class with the presentation.
  • Right before class: Arrive early (at least 15 mins) and make sure your slides get displayed correctly with the computer in the classroom or your laptop. If using your laptop, you need to bring the right HDMI/VGA dongle.
  • Tue (Thu) after class: Email your final presentation slides and activity document, both in PDF, by 11:59pm the day of your presentation. Your slides will be posted on the course website.

What should a lesson plan look like?

This is a high-level outline of your class. A bullet-pointed list of things to cover is fine. Keep it to maximum one page. Make sure to include an estimate of how long you plan to spend for each component. The following should be included:
  • Learning objective: Maximum 2-3 short statements of what students will learn or achieve by the end of your class.
  • Discussion points: Include 2-3 questions you'd like the class to discuss. Make sure they are specific: Questions like "What do you think about X?" are too generic and not likely to lead to an effective discussion. Ask questions that give a concrete context students can relate to: "If we take the paper's suggestion and design Facebook with X, what would be the expected benefits and drawbacks?" or "Can you give examples of where X was used in a social computing system? Why do you think it is a (un)successful example?"
  • Activity: Design a short activity for students to practice and apply the concepts related to the topic of the class. Asking students to work in small groups (2-4) is a good idea. Be creative and innovative. Actively use physical materials (e.g., paper or post-it) as well as digital tools (e.g., Google forms for collecting responses, Google docs for collaborative document editing). A good activity asks students to generate a concrete artifact as a result. In the lesson plan, include an initial plan of your activity.

What should I submit after the presentation?

After your presentation, please send the following to the staff email ( (1) a PDF file of your final slides used in class and (2) an activity document that includes the following:
  • Learning objective of the activity
  • Detailed instructions for running the activity, to the level someone outside of your team can replicate
  • Instructions given to students during class
  • Any material used for the activity: photos of physical materials or links to digital tools (or screenshots)
  • Reflection: What worked well and not? What would you change to make it work better?

How is it going to be graded?

Your presentation will be graded by the course staff. Here's the grade break-down:

  • Lesson plan (10%): Submitted on time? How organized is the class plan? If everything goes as planned, is it going to be an engaging session?
  • Summary and Analysis (15%): How well did you cover the main points in the pre-class material? How well did you summarize and reflect on the peer students' critiques?
  • Discussion (15%): Did you facilitate an engaging and deep discussion around the topic? Did students actively participate in the discussion? Were your questions and prompts well thought out?
  • Activity (30%): Did you design an engaging activity that reflects the topic of class? Did students actively participate in the discussion? Were your instructions clear? Is time well-managed? Did the post-activity discussion point to the main lessons?
  • Presentation (30%): How well did the overall presentation go? This includes the organization, your delivery both verbally and visually, level of preparation, quality of material, fluidity of discussion, and peer students' reaction.

Criteria Weight Excellent Very Good Good Poor
Lesson Plan 10 10 8 6 4
Summary & Analysis 15 15 12 9 6
Discussion 15 15 12 9 6
Activity 30 30 24 18 12
Organization 10 10 8 6 4
Articulation & Delivery 10 10 8 6 4
Visual Aids (material / slides) 5 5 4 3 2
Overall (engagement) 5 5 4 3 2

Extra Credit

First volunteers are often at a disadvantage. Presenters in the first two sessions will get extra credit: 10% for the first session presenters and 5% for the second session presenters.

Team Presentation

You will be presenting in a team. You should work closely in your team to plan the 30-minute lesson. Every member should contribute to the preparation and presentation. The general expectation goes high as the number of members in a team increases, in terms of the level of preparation, coverage of the pre-class material, etc.

Late Policy

You should be present on the day of your presentation. No late presentations are allowed.