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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Filtering by Tag: stress

Student Post: Tackling the Group Presentation!

David Patton

During your time at university it is inevitable that you will have to take part in at least one group presentation, and having a good idea about what to expect will be very helpful. Image

Sometimes, you’ll be able to choose who you work with, but on other occasions it will be decided for you – in this situation it is paramount that you try your very best to get on with (or at least tolerate!) your group members, for the sake of your marks! Working in groups can be fun and very beneficial if you do things the right way, so here are my five tips on a positive and organised group presentation.

1.       Take a Register I can’t recommend this enough. There’ll be at least one occasion that a member of your group is unable to attend and this can make completing the task in hand a lot more difficult – therefore, keeping a register allows all of you to see if someone isn’t pulling their weight.

2.       Be Calm and Considered Stress won’t help any of you. Make an action plan from the start, this way you’ll be able to set deadlines together and delegate work efficiently.

3.       Distributing Work Although sometimes the topic of your presentation may be dictated by your lecturer, you will almost always have scope to expand this topic in ways that interest you and the rest of your group. In your first meeting, you should discuss each others personal interests and areas of expertise in the topic you are working on. This allows you to then create sections of your presentation and choose who works on which part and it also ensures that each group member is happy with what they will be focusing on.

“In my first presentation at uni, other people in my group sorted out what work people were doing. This made it so much harder because I wasn’t working on the parts I was really interested in” Gemma – Criminology student.

4.       Time Management We’ve all been known to leave things to the last minute, but there’s nothing more awkward to watch than a presentation that has obviously been thrown together an hour before. It isn’t too difficult to put together a really great presentation if you make sure you follow your group’s deadlines as well as setting personal ones for when to complete your own research and slides before meeting up with the group. This way everything will run much more smoothly and you will achieve better marks.

“It is important to get started on producing the presentation early and spend time putting it together and rehearsing it so that it isn’t rushed. I think it’s also important that if it’s a group presentation that you work with people who have a similar way of working to yourself or problems can develop” 2nd year Criminology and Psychology student.

5.       The Presentation Itself In terms of the actual presentation, there are a few tips that I have from doing and being part of the audience for a lot of presentations over the last year and a half. Whatever you do, do not copy and paste huge chunks from the internet onto your slide – this is so obvious to everyone in the room (most importantly who’s marking it!). It’s fine to use quotes from relevant sources, but say where you got them from and try not to use quotes that are too lengthy.

Keep the slides brief as it is far better if you have a page of notes in your hand that prompt you on what you are going to say – people can read the slides themselves so tell them things that aren’t on the presentation.

Following on from this, one really important point is to not read everything off the slides. The whole point of a presentation is to present information, so do not just read large paragraphs from the screen. Your presentation should usually be a mix of relatively short points, pictures, videos, graphs, and whatever else is relevant to your topic – you should then vocally expand on what is on the slides in order to really put across your information to your audience. Let other people speak – interrupting people is unfair and won’t get you better marks.

“Another member of my group interrupted me in a presentation once and it completely threw me! I lost my train of thought and found it really difficult to get back on track”

Gemma – Criminology student.

Another thing that I have seen done is people giving out hand outs during their presentation – this gives the audience even more information on your topic. These hand outs could be anything from a factsheet, to government legislation, to a newspaper article, and as long as they are relevant they could be a very useful tool in your presentation. Keep the slides brief, relevant, and thought provoking – good luck!

Questions:

  1. What other tips would you add to my five?
  2. What have your experiences been when working on a group presentation at Leeds Met.

Blog post by Zoe Cox

Photo courtesy of freedigital photos.net - artist: ddpavumba

Student Post: Time Management and Stress of Deadlines.

David Patton

One thing that most students seem to find difficult at times is managing our time effectively, as a result, this can lead to much stress when deadlines are approaching.  When I was at college studying an Access Course, I was a last-minute 'panicker', convinced that “I performed better under pressure” and left everything until two days before the deadline. However, upon starting university, I realised this way of working was not going to be effective for me anymore! Image

As a mature student living alone and 20 miles away from campus, this leads to further pressure. Travelling to and from uni during rush hour can take up to an hour and a half each way. Alongside this, work commitments and the demands of occasional care responsibilities means that 2 weekends a month I have to be in Nottingham caring for an elderly relative. As a result, time often feels scarce! Therefore, for me, organisation and early preparation is essential for meeting deadlines and managing the stress often associated with them. To help combat this, I find that being organised is the only way I can manage.

At the start of each term, I familiarise myself with the assessments for each module and their deadlines which are often close together. Once I am familiar with these, I make a list of the assessment methods and deadlines and stick it on the wall above my computer. After that,  each time I go on the computer to check 'Facebook' or otherwise waste time, I am reminded that I do not have time to procrastinate! After making this list, I establish the time demands of each assessment; for example, a 3,500 word essay is going to involve significantly more preparation than a 2,000 word essay! This means that rather than waiting until a month before the deadlines and panicking, I effectively have a whole term to complete each assignment. Another benefit of early preparation is that it is much easier to find the books you require from the library before everyone else on your course wants the same books later in the term only to find they are all out on loan already!

Once I have the books, I begin reading around the subject. Some modules reveal the essay questions at the beginning of the term which proves advantageous as you can promptly decide which one you are going to attempt. This means, effectively, that as soon as the questions are released, the rest of the term can be used to prepare and complete assignments.   I also find it helps to break down essays- for example, a 3,000 word essay due in 10 weeks equates to only 300 words a week - which feels much less demanding! By tackling a proportion of the work each week, it seems more manageable and prevents panicking in in the weeks immediately approaching the deadline.  Working in this way also allows plenty of time to discuss things with lecturers if you are having problems or struggling to understand anything.

I also find that by spending time to work on things each day or week, the assignments are normally completed ahead of the deadlines.  Even if you don’t want to submit the work early, it allows time to proof-read your work and look over the assessment criteria (normally outlined in the module handbook) to ensure that you have covered the learning outcomes.  It also allows time to make alterations if necessary.   Also, once the work is done, you are then free to focus on exam preparation without the distraction or added stress of the other work.

On a practical level, each week or fortnight I go through my diary and identify what time I have free each day to study and devise a suitable study timetable.  I usually stick to this rigidly which can be difficult, and at times I fail- as we all do! It involves a lot of discipline, motivation, and sometimes - sacrifices too.  Let’s face it, an evening in the pub with friends usually seems more appealing than a mountain of textbooks!  It is easy to procrastinate and for things to sometimes seem tedious but for me, when these thoughts or procrastinating takes over, I begin to feel overwhelmed and my stress levels rise, particularly when I think of the demands of my other commitments.  This is why this way of working works for me.  Yes, I make sacrifices and at time wish I was out doing other things, but ultimately I get the work finished promptly and keep the stress levels to the minimum level possible!

Questions:

  1. How do you cope with the stress of deadlines? 
  2. Are you a ‘last-minute panicker’ or do you prefer time to plan and prepare?

By Rebecca Baird Parker

 

photo courtesy of free digital photos.net - Michal Marcol