Digital Presentation Guide


CEE300 – Engineering Business Practices


In class, we studied the performance evaluation criteria used by the Arizona Department of Transportation so that we could better understand the criteria by which engineering job performance was judged in a professional setting.  There, we discovered that job performance will likely be dictated as much (or more!) by how superiors and peers feel about you (affective), and that this will only partially be judged by your ability to solve technical engineering problems (cognitive).

This is a lesson dramatized in the movie The Hunger Games by the mentor character played by Woody Harrelson when he says, “You really want to know how to stay alive?  You get people to like you.”

Interpersonal communication skills are essential to engineering job performance.  However, communication is increasingly becoming digital, rather than face-to-face or in person.  This assignment is intended to strengthen the students’ digital communication skills in a professional engineering context.  Students that master this assignment will be prepared to make effective digital business presentations and communicate more effectively in professional settings.

Learning Objectives

This assignment advances ABET learning objective G. — Communicate effectively.  Specifically, students are expected to familiarize themselves with digital media.

Learning Activities

Working individually, students will select one of their prior technical reports, or any other aspect of the class they found compelling to present in a digital format in five minutes or less. This can include conation, citicorp case study or any other compelling aspect of the class. The video must be posted to YouTube.  Additionally, students will serve as peer-reviewers for at least five videos produced by classmates by responding in CritViz (see Part 2: Critique).

The videos themselves should be informed by these guidelines:

  • Present the technical information in the report as a story that conveys some tension between two competing ideas.  For example, the “To Buy or Lease A Car?” post begins be presenting two opposing views, 1) That buying is always preferable to leasing, and 2) That leasing might be preferable to buying.  The “story” in the post relates to resolving this conflict.  One effective device for creating a story is to begin the video with a popular misconception, or conventional wisdom – i.e., a description of the way many people think a certain problem works.  Then, propose an alternative view that completes the narrative, “You think the world works like this.  However, it really works like this.”
  • The story should have a logical flow.  Consider an outline that follows an order like this: 1) Problem Statement, 2) Hypothesis or Proposition, and supporting evidence, 3) Investigative Method, 4) Results & Recommendations. You may find very helpful the guidance provided on publicly available web-sites like this one or this.
  • It is essential for the viewer to understand the main point of the video, as encapsulated in a recommendation.  That is, the video must be actionable and attuned to the knowledge needs of the viewer.
  • In video, visuals are essential.  Too many PowerPoint presentations are merely note card slide compilations. PowerPoint in particular has also presented frustrating audio issue for students, making a working presentation difficult to achieve. Minimize the use of words on your slides (if you use them), and instead let your voice speak the words to your viewer.  Maximize the use of visuals such as graphs, charts, data, or figures that help dramatize your point and make it intuitive.
  • It is better to have a relaxed, informal style in which you have confidence (but make mistakes) than to have a formal style that is mistake-free, but fails to put your viewer at ease.  Recording your video will likely require several attempts, but don’t obsess over small mistakes in your speaking.  Your audience will be forgiving if you simply move on.

Complete your Digital Presentation, upload it to YouTube (you can use the “unlisted” setting if you don’t want people to be able to search to find it) and (finally) load the URL for your video into CritViz as a document. Each student must upload their own video URL to CritViz.

Learning Assessment

Grades will be based on both aspects of the assignment: 1) The quality of your presentation, as judged relative to the guidelines above, and 2) The quality of your peer review.  Your reviews will not impact the grades of the students you are reviewing.

Digital presentations and critiques must be submitted and completed through CritViz.

E-mail submissions will not be accepted.

Video Presentations (Out of 100):

95-100: Videos of high enough quality to use in class lectures that teach people something new. Presents all relevant information in an interesting and engaging way.

90-95: Student is teaching something new, but there are visual or audio flaws, the math is incorrect or the analysis is incorrect. Something needs to be fixed.

85-90: The student demonstrates they are learning something, and they fulfill the expectations of the assignment, but they show they missed some element, the presentation is not engaging, or it is significantly flawed.

80-85: The presentation is aesthetically displeasing, incorrect, or incomplete. It might not make a recommendation, it may be difficult to understand, or it just doesn’t say anything about the topic.

Grades below 80 are for presentations that show a complete disregard for completing the assignment.

Reviews (out of 50):

46-50: Comments will actually improve the presentation in accordance with the assignment guide.

43-46: Comments will improve presentation, but are not in line with the guide

40-43: Reviewer clearly watched presentation, but did not offer constructive comments

Grades below 40 are for comments that show that the reviewer did not watch the presentation, or which are insensitive, rude, destructive or otherwise harmful to the presentation. Abusive language will not be tolerated.


Previous questions are addressed here.

Q: Do we have to adhere specifically to our tech report, or can we change and add things based on our grading and feedback?

A: You can and should improve your presentation based on feedback on the tech report or other assignment you choose.

Q: How much background information should we include?

A: Think of your audience as a non-expert client, but your time is limited, so get to the point of the explanation, and move on. You should keep the video interesting, while providing the necessary information.

Q: How can I make a good presentation?

A: Consult this assignment guide, and consult this video:

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