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Student Presentations at American University in Cairo

Picture yourself standing in front of a lecture hall full of people. An audience of your peers listens with rapt attention as your slides appear on an overhead screen. You feel well prepared. The only caveat: you cannot present in your native language.

One-quarter of admitted students at American University in Cairo (AUC) face this scenario at the beginning of each semester. They’re part of a growing number of students whose professors are teaching by turning the tables on lecture capture, requiring students to record and share presentations using Panopto. As a result, students are building both communication skills and confidence that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Jonah Moos of AUC’s English Language Institute believes that developing great speaking and listening skills can impact students for life. One of his courses, Study Skills in Intensive English, focuses on both. In the course, students give oral presentations using Panopto as a large part of their assessment. They listen to special guest lectures presented in English, where their language comprehension is later tested through quizzes and a review of lecture recordings.

Student reactions: “Do I really sound like that?!”

Students in Moos’ course also give informal ‘mini lectures’ throughout the semester, and are encouraged to watch their own recordings in order to hone their speaking technique. After observing their own presentations and those of their peers, some are surprised by the sound of their own voices and the gestures they make. Moos reports that students’ response to their own videos is typically mixed. “The majority of my students are initially very nervous about standing in front of classmates and speaking on a topic, but recording these daily mini-lectures gradually eases their anxiety about presenting in a second language,” he said.

An AUC student uses Panopto in her storytelling speech on international tourismStudents in Fikry Boutros’ Public Speaking and Research Writing courses also use Panopto to evaluate their own performance as well as to share research findings. They give feedback to one another and write self-reflection papers. Recordings are viewed long after they’ve been created, as Boutros employs Panopto’s video library to introduce concepts to new students by watching past presentations by their peers.

Presentation recordings enhance performance

As an interactive learning tool, Panopto helps all students in all of AUC’s public speaking courses to make adjustments to pace, intonation, and overall presentation style. In reviewing their own presentations online, they observe verbal and physical tics and make adjustments as needed. They also learn how to build effective visuals, embedding PowerPoint or Prezi slides to enhance their recordings.

“Panopto has raised the bar for the quality of education,” Boutros said. “Instructors can now easily record and upload any lecture on Panopto; and students can watch their instructors, watch themselves, and enhance their performance.”