Assignment: Focus on Technology
Events, Podcasts, and Class Presentations
Focus on Technology Assignment
- All About Android is my topic and you need to listen to one of the podcast in this area.
To succeed in your chosen field, you will need to acquire ‘soft’ skills. What we term as being soft skills are professionalization skills, and key among them is the ability to communicate with others about technical topics.
Therefore, this assignment culminates in a 5 to a 10-minute presentation where you will discuss what you learned from the technological event or podcast.
You may choose between attending an event (a meetup or other event) or watching/listening to a technology podcast. You only need to do one (event or podcast) and then create a presentation.
It will take time to find a meetup or podcast in which you are interested. And, it will take additional time to create a well-designed presentation for your classmates and professor. Therefore, you will want to consult the syllabus for the due date of this assignment and plan accordingly.
COVID-19 Notice: Because we are currently living in a COVID-19 world, you will not be expected to attend a meeting or meetup. Your work must be conducted entirely using resources available online. And, this is fine because many of the meetup groups have transitioned to online meetings for the foreseeable future.
Grading Notice: Because we want to encourage you to attend meetups (even if only virtually) and this is preferred over podcasts, the maximum grade you can receive if you submit a presentation using a podcast is a ‘B.’ You can obtain a maximum grade of ‘A’ if you attend a meeting (again, even virtually).
The reason why the meetup is elevated above podcasts is that they provide you with opportunities to network with other people where podcasts generally do not. Please do not attempt to convince your professor about the merits of an individual podcast. If you select a podcast, your maximum grade will be a ‘B.’
Please note that this grading scheme does not apply to CCP students.
Meeting and Podcast Opportunities
There are many avenues for you to take to satisfy the requirements for this assignment.
Meetup.com is a web site designed to facilitate periodic meetings of groups of people sharing a common interest. In central Ohio, there is an abundance of technical meetups. There are so many that a person who is so inclined could attend a different professional meetup just about every day. A list of local meetups can be found at:
- Columbus Area Tech-Related Meetups
Some groups meet once a quarter, others meet once a month, and some very active groups meet more frequently. Some events have a charge associated with them (it will say so in the meetup description), but most are free. Some events include (often free) pizza as well. Note that new events will appear every week, so if you don’t see something of interest immediately, keep watching.
If you choose to attend a meetup, find one that you are interested in and create a (free) meetup account. Then you can use the meetup.com reservation system to notify the meetup.com organizers that you plan to attend.
Meetup Group Suggestions
- The Central Ohio Python Users Meetup Group
- The Columbus AWS (Amazon Web Services) Meetup Group
- The R-Ladies Columbus Meetup Group (not just for ladies)
- The Amazon Alexa Columbus Meetup Group
- The Women in Agile Columbus Meetup Group
- Columbus Data Science Meetup Group
- DevOps Columbus Meetup Group
- The Central Ohio .NET Developer’s Meetup Group
There are numerous meetings on a variety of topics (currently all online) scheduled by Thinkful, which is a coding bootcamp. These are free to attend, and you are welcome to check out these meetings in addition to the non-corporate meetup groups listed above. Just know that you will probably begin to receive emails from Thinkful.
Other Technology Events
Rev1 Ventures is a non-profit company that funds Central Ohio technology start-ups, as well as providing workspace for these start-ups and management consulting. Rev1 hosts numerous events of interest to the Columbus area technologists often focused on entrepreneurship. Events can be found here:
Every fall, Columbus is the venue for a large weekend conference focused on Linux and open-source software. There are talks, demonstrations, and vendor exhibits. Information can be found here:
Some years ago, technology journalist Leo Laporte began a weekly technology podcast called This Week in Tech (TWiT). Over the years, TWiT grew into a series of weekly podcasts covering a variety of technology-related topics. Today the podcasts are available for direct listening via the web or for download to listen to on a PC, tablet, or smartphone. Video versions of the podcasts are available for viewing. A list of the weekly podcasts with descriptions are available here:
- All About Android
You are not limited to the list above, and you can find good podcasts at other websites other than TWiT.
Important: If you select a podcast, it must be a minimum of one hour in length.
You are being asked to make a presentation to your class based on the event you attended or the podcast to which you listened. Your presentation must include a presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, Prezi) or any other software you wish to use.
Note that these are two requirements: your class presentation where you speak (present) to your classmates and professor about the event or podcast you chose, and a well-designed presentation document.
Following are the requirements for each component of your presentation:
- The presentation must be between 4 and 5 minutes—from start to finish. Points will be deducted if you go over the 5-minute mark, or your presentation is shorter than 4 minutes.
- Your delivery must be informative, engaging, and focused on the most important points of the meetup or podcast.
- You are to create a PowerPoint, use Google Slides, Prezi, or any other presentation software to design an engaging presentation document.
- It is essential that you not write everything on your slides that you speak during the presentation. The presentation document is meant to be something that others can follow but does not spell out every detail word-for-word. It is also intended only to be a guide to keep you on track but not a storyboard from which you read to your audience.
- It is to be a well-designed document. This means that you will lose points if your document contains only black text on a boring white background.
- You are to incorporate at least one image into your document. The image should be relevant to your discussion.
- The presentation document must include no more than ten total slides.
Structure of Presentation and Document
Your class presentation will follow the presentation document. Therefore, the document, and hence your class presentation, should be well-structured. Here is what we are looking for in terms of structure (at minimum):
- Title slide. This first slide should be well thought out, designed carefully, and engaging as you open your presentation.
- Introduction and introductory slide. This should provide relevant information about your topic, meetup, or podcast. It should also contain the date of the meetup or the date of when you listened to the podcast. A link to either the meetup or the podcast must be on this slide. And, an image representing either meetup or podcast would be appropriate here.
- Content slides. These slides should each convey only one point—something important about the meetup or podcast that you wish to relate to your audience. Included here is what you learned, what you found interesting, surprising, or especially relevant to you.
- Evaluation slide. This slide should be your conclusion, and you should speak to whether you would recommend the meetup or podcast to others, and whether you would attend again or listen to another like-kind podcast in the future.
- Final and Q&A. All excellent presentations provide an ending slide that invites meeting participants to ask questions to which you provide answers.
This assignment is worth a total of 20 points. Points will be deducted for the following:
- If you use podcast rather than meetup for this assignment—deduction 2 points.
- If you use a podcast and it is shorter than one hour in length—deduction 2 points.
- Presentation time not between four and five minutes—deduction 2 points for each minute under or over the 4-5-minute range.
- Missing presentation document—deduction 10 points.
- The presentation document contains more than ten slides in total—deduction 2 points for each additional slide.
- Presentation document that lacks cohesive theme throughout or that does not exhibit any design beyond simple text—deduction 2 points.
- Presentation document that does not contain at least one image—deduction 2 points.
If you do not do the class presentation, if you have a presentation document, your grade for this assignment will be zero.
Question: Why the strict requirements for the number of slides in the presentation document and the length requirements for the actual presentation being between 4 and 5 minutes?
Answer: We want to encourage you to go beyond your coursework and explore the world of technology around us. We want you to become conversant in the discussions around technology and begin to create a network of acquaintances in the field. Then, we want you to be able to bring that new knowledge back and present it to others in a way that is polished, professional, and concise. And this is the real learning of this assignment: how to take what can often be very technical information and convey it to a room of people who may not be specialists in that particular technology.