CB 399: Science Presentation as a Performing Art

Intellectual Unit: Building a Better Scientist

Science Presentation as a Performing Art

Course Lecturers: Nancy Houfek and David Van Vactor
Curriculum Fellow: Latishya Steele, Latishya_Steele@hms.harvard.edu

Effective communication of scientific knowledge is an essential component of any career in the sciences. The “Science Presentations as a Performing Art” nanocourse is designed to meet a critical and unfulfilled need for oral science communication training. The first day of the course is a four hour introductory lecture and workshop open to the Harvard community. Drawing from her background in theater performance, Ms. Houfek will teach specific techniques that can be easily and effectively implemented to improve the quality and effectiveness of science presentations, ranging from body language, gesture, and movement, to vocal clarity, operative words, and the use of metaphor, analogy, and storytelling. Dr. Van Vactor will contribute his scientific and teaching expertise to further inform the discussion of effective science presentation with a focus on scientific content. He will specifically address how to identify and frame the purpose and structure of a presentation and the effective use of PowerPoint as a part of the presentation performance.
The second session of the nanocourse is a four hour session where 12 students will be given the opportunity to give brief scientific presentations and work one-on-one with Ms. Houfek to improve their presentation skills. All enrolled students, including those that are unable to present given time limitations, will submit brief PowerPoint presentations to be reviewed by Ms. Houfek and Dr. Van Vactor for specific, critical feedback. In addition, all students will act as audience in the second session, learning from Ms. Houfek’s techniques both how to improve their own specific speaking skills and how to promote and develop speaking skills amongst their colleagues so that they can apply their learning to train other classmates, colleagues, and members of student organizations outside of the scope of the nanocourse.

The second session of this nanocourse is limited to 12 graduate students.

First Meeting: Monday, May 3, 1-5 pm
Location: TMEC 250
Second Meeting: Monday, May 10, 1-5 pm
Location: TMEC 250


Please Enroll/Un-enroll for this nanocourse below: