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Recommended Week

Weeks 1 - 10


Neill Campbell, Raphael Clifford, Rafal Bogacz


This exercise aims to give each student a chance to prepare and run a seminar, using a variety of presentation and participation techniques. The presentation may use one or many of the following; lecturing, handouts, questionnaires, reading from notes/textbooks, and so on. The seminar should contain a reasonable amount of group participation using several of the techniques described below.



Different forms of seminar participation

Seminar Exercise

One frequently used method learning is that of a seminar, in which a student presents some prepared work to a small group. The student acts as the chairperson and staff are treated in the same way as other members of the group. The staff member might choose to not sit in their normal chair, and to not introduce/begin the session. In this exercise the student is expected to prepare a 20-30 minute seminar (see below for suggestions for topics). They take control over the whole session, including starting the session and timekeeping. Most emphasis is on learning how to enable the other students to participate in the session. At the end of the seminar there is a group discussion on the positive and negative aspects of the seminar. Topics for debate include; how interesting was the seminar, what did people learn from it, what did the seminar leader get out of it etc.

The seminar leader should:

Sample topics for seminars

Different tutors use different range of topics, for example (i) work covered in the Computer Science syllabus which is shortly to be taught, but has not yet been done so, (ii) interest of the student (but the talk needs to include a technical aspect), (iii) general topics from computer science, e.g.

Combination with learning LateX

It is an interesting idea to combine learning presentation skills with learning Latex. Every week a student can be asked to give a short talk in latex/beamer. Every talk had to be emailed to everyone else with its source and each one must use at least one trick in latex/beamer that had not been used before.

Presentation on presentations

It may be useful to give students some hints on the Art of Presentation before asking them to give the seminars themselves. You can download Power Point slides on the Art of Presentation by clicking here.