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Professional Communications OER - Module 3: Presentations

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Module 3: Presentations cover by Olds College is under a CC BY 4.0 license (

Description: This Open Educational Resource (OER), developed by Olds College is collaboration with the Government of Alberta, is a series of modules intended for use in Higher Education courses or by independent learners. This resource is useful for instructors whose courses cover introductory communication skills, workplace communication, technical communication or business writing. It contains four modules, each with its own lesson plans, assessments, and supporting materials. This is module 3 of 4, in which students will learn the art and science of putting together an impressive presentation. Topics include presentation styles, developing a presentation strategy, presentation aids, and communicating with a live audience.

Author: Olds College OER Development Team

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Professional Communications OER - Module 3: Presentations by Olds College OER Development Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

1. Reviewed by: Lucinda Atwood
  • Institution: Langara College
  • Title/Position: Faculty
  • Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5
  • Date:
  • License: Creative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

This text covers the skills and strategies of presenting fairly well, but confusingly, also covered personal psychology, active listening, and other communication skills. Those topics should indeed be covered in a communications course, but their inclusion in the presentations module seemed inappropriate. It also seemed to overshadow the hard skills content.
I would have liked to see more emphasis on the actual skills and strategies of preparing and delivering presentations. Those portions seemed to be presented in a more theoretical than practical manner, and since this text purports to teach how to give presentations, I was surprised to see few lists of instructions or process descriptions.
The Glossary is comprehensive. It would be nice to link it from the text or top navigation. (I didn't see any links to it; just scrolled to bottom of text.)

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The content of this text seems to be accurate, error-free and unbiased.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

Content seems to have been written by older adults but is up-to-date. Content is written in a way that will age gracefully; ie without content that references pop culture or current events.

I saw only one external link within the body of the text (“What to Do with Your Hands When Speaking in Public”). All other links are in the materials following each chapter, and so seemingly easy to check and update as needed.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The writing style in this text is mostly clear although I feel that it could edited to be made more clear.

The writing style differs throughout the module. It ranges from wordy to academic to clear and brief.

The writing style in the Module Overview and first chapter to page 12 is a bit wordy, and seems to have been written by older adults. I feel it could be briefer and the key points more clearly identified. Contractions are not used. Many idioms are used.

In "Self-Awareness" (p.12) the writing suddenly becomes more academic, with lots of citations and following the academic writing style. Contractions are used.
From "What Are My Verbal Communication Techniques?" the writing becomes much more clear and active, although idioms are used.

Definitions are clear.

Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

This text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework, with the exception of my comments in "Clarity" about the variety of writing styles.

Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

This text would be more easily divisible with a few formatting changes and structural additions. I recommend more sub-headings and navigational cues, which would allow readers to understand the natural divisions within the content.

For example, the section on presenting skills could be broken down this way:
Physical Skills:
-Voice: volume, pace, pauses, vocal variety
-Eye Contact
-Body Langauge: posture, movement, facial expressions

The text is not overly self-referential.

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

This text confused me. The module title is Presentation and the chapters are Your Presentation Style, Developing a Presentation Strategy, Presentation Aids, and Communicating with a Live Audience. But the text includes a lot of content on self-knowledge, active listening, and other communication strategies. I'm unclear if the module is about presentations or communication.

Chapter 1: While I agree with the idea that we should know ourselves before we communicate, it seemed strange to include 10 pages on self-psychology and only 4 on actual presentation skills. Also, why include self-knowledge in the Presentation module? Why not in Module 1? (Including stress-reduction strategies is useful, however—keep those parts.) The same question also pertains to the section on active listening.

This text is obviously written for beginner presenters, but prior to presenting any hard skills asks the reader "Are you aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are as a presenter?"

I recommend teaching hard skills before discussing presentation psychology. In my opinion that comes later, after the student has some presentation experience. I would include those topics in an advanced manual, or if the topics are kept in this module, make them the final chapter.

The writing in this chapter is a bit unclear at times, changes style mid-chapter, and doesn't always follow a logical flow.

Chapters 2 & 3 are clear, brief and active. The writing flows well with clear instruction in an appropriate order.
Chapter 4 is also fairly clear and brief. Some of the sentences are a bit long and/or unclear.

I would recommend using more lists, sub-headings and other clear communication concepts to improve readers' ability to scan, read and understand the key points. This is a very good text that needs a strong edit and reformatting to make it beautifully clear and usable.

Organization Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

This text is free of significant interface issues including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.

However, it would be nice to have jump links within the text (probably to the start of each chapter and the Glossary). Scrolling up and down gets tedious.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

The text contains some grammatical and vocabulary errors, and formatting inconsistencies.

For example:
-Opening sentence is grammatically unparallel "You may have already had exposure to public speaking and giving presentations, or perhaps you shudder at the thought." (That is not an either/or proposition.)
-Page 2 has a duplicate word "Doing so so requires..."
-List formatting. Some lists have colons, some do not. Some use semi-colons after list items, some do not.
-Capitalisation of list items. In some lists, the first letter of list items is capitalised; in other lists it's not.

Grammar Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The text reflects diversity and inclusion, except in its use of idiom and uncommon words. If this text is to be accessible to newcomers, it should be edited to remove the idioms.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

This text contains great information that is made slightly less accessible by its physical presentation. I would recommend this text if it were edited for clarity and brevity, and then reformatted to include more lists, sub-headings and other navigational signposts.