Typical Assignments

The examples below illustrate some of the most common oral and mixed-media communication assignments that students will encounter at HGSE. However, the most important sources of information regarding any assignment in your courses are your course syllabus and your teaching team. Students are encouraged to always carefully read the syllabus and assignment prompts to make sure that they fully understand what is expected. Students can find more specific guidance on some of these types of communications in the CommLab Workshop Materials.  

Class Presentations

Students present individually or in small groups on a topic related to the course material. While this is one of the most common types of oral communication assignments at HGSE, it will vary quite a bit from course to course. For example, students may present a portion of the course material, engage in a policy debate, or present on a partnership with on outside organization. Typically, students use PowerPoint or some other presentation software.

Research Posters

A concise summary presented via a visual display of information to publicize your research and generate discussion. Typical subsections include: Introduction, Research Questions, Methods, Results, and Conclusion. The content should be a mix of text and figures (graphs, charts, tables, etc.). The design should be visually appealing and easy to read. Typically, the researcher stands by the display and provides a brief description of the work. Participants view the presentation and interact with author. 

Elevator Pitches

An elevator pitch is a one to two-minute high-level overview of your story that effectively details who you are, your impact, your uniqueness, and your goals. Students may deliver this as part of a course but also in other academic or professional settings such as conferences, networking sessions, or pitch competitions. An elevator pitch may need to be delivered without warning or under pressure. Refining and practicing one’s pitch are key elements of delivering an effective elevator pitch. 

Doctoral Dissertations or Capstone Defenses

While the specifics of a dissertation and capstone defense, will vary, both types consist of a 20 to 30-minute public presentation of selected elements of the dissertation/capstone. The specific elements should be developed based on what is described in the relevant program handbook and in consultation with the academic advisor/committee. Defenses should include a (PowerPoint or other software) slide presentation. The defense also includes a 20 to 30-minute question and answer session, with questions primarily from the committee.