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Uncapping student potential: Re-thinking scaffolding and assessment of oral presentation skills

Martin-Lynch, P., Correia, H.ORCID: 0000-0003-2717-2294 and Cunningham, C. (2015) Uncapping student potential: Re-thinking scaffolding and assessment of oral presentation skills. In: Teaching and Learning Forum 2015: Teaching and Learning Uncapped, 29 - 30 January 2015, University of Western Australia.


Oral presentation skills are highly valued in the job market and are stated graduate learning outcomes for many Australian universities. In a number of degree programs, the ability to voice opinions in class and participate in collaborative learning situations are assessable, and crucial to student success and ultimately employability. The ability to present to an audience is likewise a vital skill in higher education and in later employment, particularly in the areas of business, law and education. Yet up to 75% of the population is so afraid of public speaking that they may not physically or mentally be able to perform such tasks without some form of intervention. Nonetheless, in Australian universities, we tend not to scaffold oral presentation skills, and assessments of the skills are primarily summative. This paper will review the literature surrounding social anxiety and fear of public speaking as it relates to the capacities of students to demonstrate such skills and engage in these forms of assessment. It will then make recommendations from examples of good practice, for example in the United States, to suggest that if we are indeed to uncap student potential, then we need to reconsider ways of scaffolding and assessing oral presentation skills.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for University Teaching and Learning
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