Journal 4 and Speeches

I’ve uploaded an electronic copy of your speech topic ideas for future reference. I also want to use this space to lay out the requirements for your group speeches next Wednesday.

A speech that earns a good grade in this class will have the following elements:
(1) a topic that is relevant to most college students or college-aged individuals
(2) a thesis that is clearly stated early in the presentation
(3) an organizational scheme that reinforces the clarity of the message
(4) a good balance between facts/data and an engaging narrative
(5) delivery by a comfortable, confident speaker (or speakers)

Visual aids may be appropriate depending on your topic, but they are not required. If you decide to go the visual route, try to steer from the done-to-death powerpoint slide show (although I have been guilty of indulging in that tried-and-true method myself) and consider making some interesting graphics of your own. Play around with some free web applications like or Piktochart. To see a presentation that beautifully incorporates visual representations of “boring” facts and makes them interesting, watch this video by Hans Rosling (thanks, Tyler, for the tip). Notice that he also has an accent. This must be an essential quality of a good public speaker.

If you want to get really, really specific, use the attached rubric to help you prepare. This is how I will actually grade your presentations.

Remember that I have set aside a block of time from 11:00 – 12:30 on Friday for any groups who would like to discuss ideas, get help with research, or do a test run with the AV equipment in our classroom. Feel free to come see me if you would like any guidance before you get too far into this project over the weekend.

Also remember that your journal entry should cover these essential points:

(1) Team members

(2) Presentation topic

(3) What the topic means to you personally and your position on the subject

(4) Your role, as agreed upon by your teammates, in the project (i.e. researcher, fact-checker, visual aid designer, speaker)


Sept. 16: Campus Event Report

Don’t forget that your first campus event report is due Monday before midnight. If you still haven’t attended your first event, let me make a few suggestions:

starsIf you’re into stargazing (or maybe want to be), check out the first of Powell Observatory’s Star Parties this fall.  This event runs from 8-10 on Saturday night, so remember that you’ll not have much time to waste writing up your report and turning it in. ETSU astronomy faculty will be on hand to answer questions, and Dr. Giroux will be giving a talk on Johannes Kepler. Specifics can be found at this link.


public healthTomorrow morning, the College of Public Health is hosting a symposium on Prostate Cancer. If you have a break between classes from 9:45-11:00, you can attend this event just two buildings over from us in Lamb Hall. This symposium has been organized by a classmate of mine. If you are someone who thinks medical practice and advice is all a black and white, reliably established thing, the controversy surrounding a relatively new cancer screening test could be of interest to you. You can expect to hear debates about ethics, cost, pragmatism, and the psychological burden of a false diagnosis. This seminar will let you see behind the scenes as you watch how the medical and public health communities determine best practices for diagnosing, treating, and communicating with patients.

palsAny of you interested in starting your own business or working in quality control should take advantage of next week’s Entrepreneurship Club meeting on Sept. 23 (note that this is too late for Campus Event 1). Pal Barger will be speaking at this meeting. For those of you who aren’t from the area and have not been initiated into the local wonder that is Pal’s, this fast food chain won a Baldridge quality award many years ago. In certain circles, this award is kind of a big deal, so Pal is something of a regional celebrity. You might get some good advice. If not, at least the next time you’re tucking into an order of Frenchie Fries, you’ll be able to say you’ve met the guy who made that magic possible.


Several future weekend events can be found here. If in doubt about whether an event fits one of our categories, please ask first.


Sept. 14: Journal 3

Topic: This journal will summarize what you learned Monday on the challenge course.  I want you to address this general question: What effect did physical and mental obstacles (heat, fatigue, nerves, distance, ambient noise) have on your ability to communicate, plan, and negotiate this task as a team? Be sure to conclude with some ideas about how you can apply what you’ve learned about yourself to a real work setting.

We are accumulating writing skills over the course of the semester, so these essays will get progressively more complex as the weeks go on. This week, you will be graded on how well you:

  • State your thesis upfront (LRWB Ch.1)
  • Break your subject down into separate related parts (LRWB Ch.2)

It’s due Saturday at 11:59 PM. Don’t forget that your first campus event report is due next Monday, September 16.

Sept. 9: Basler Challenge Course

Today is another outdoor day for us (weather permitting).  We will bypass the classroom altogether and meet promptly at 11:05 at the base of the Basler Challenge Course.  That’s this guy between the CPA and the running track on the west end of campus.

Take some time to review this information before Wednesday, especially the dress code and list of recommended items to bring with you.

You should also print out and complete this form before we meet Monday.

This should be a fun day for all of us. If you have medical or other reasons that this would not be an appropriate activity for you, don’t feel compelled to do something unwise.  This event–and the subsequent journal essay that will be built around it–will turn your focus primarily to communicating effectively with teammates in a potentially stressful situation (a skill most of you will need in your line of work).

Until Monday!

August 28: Technology

Wednesday, we’ll be meeting in the computer lab (Wilson Wallis 202). We’ll be working with some free software and apps that will help you keep your information organized. Many of you have laptops, netbooks, smartphones, tablets–bring them so that you can set things up the way you like them on your own devices.  If you don’t have portable hardware, we have plenty of desktops to work with in the lab.

You can get a head start by checking out and bookmarking these pages.



google calendar

Google calendar



Alternates: Catch/Springpad

dropbox   Dropbox (cloud file management)

Pages to bookmark

ETSU catalog

Dept. homepage

Goldmail (ETSU email account)

Advisement site for Engineering Technology and Surveying majors

September 7: Journal 2

Topic: Next week, we will be talking about the institution itself (professors, university goals, expectations of students) and then about how your mind absorbs, filters, and retains information. There’s a lot of communication–a lot of give and take–going on in this process. To gear you up for next week’s discussion, I want you to start thinking about the learning process, but from a different perspective. I want you to think about a time you taught someone else how to do something. This doesn’t have to be academic; you could tell me about teaching your little brother how to mow the yard, showing your girlfriend how to shoot, or teaching your grandmother how to use iTunes. Your essay should answer these questions in a narrative (sentence/paragraph) format:

  • Who was your student?
  • What did you teach?
  • About how long did the “lesson” take?
  • How well did your student pick up the information you were giving him/her?
  • What was particularly challenging about this student?
  • What did you learn about teaching?

DUE: Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11:59 PM

August 31: Journal 1 Entry

Topic: Answer one, or all, or any combination of these questions in a narrative form (i.e. full sentences and paragraphs, not bullet lists).

What do you think college is about? What are some of the purposes of these four (or more) years you spend here? Before you tell me this is job training, take a look at your general education classes and think about why a university would ask you to take these classes in preparation for a job.

What do you personally hope to accomplish here?

Have you encountered any surprises yet this week at school? Have you seen or heard anything you weren’t expecting?

Writing Skills: This one’s a freebie.  I want to see your writing in default mode so that I know where you are and how your high school classes have prepared you to write.

Submission: Save your essay as a Word document and submit it to the “Journal 1” folder in D2L Dropbox by 11:59 PM Saturday, August 31.