The Hokie Pitch

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The Hokie Pitch. The Composition Program at Virginia Tech includes with each class a short-form presentation.

Presentations are a fixture in the composition sequence at Virginia Tech. Both ENGL1105 and ENGL1106 feature presentations, usually near the end of the semester, though in some cases presentations are positioned earlier as opportunities to share (and receive feedback on) in-progress projects. In both courses, presentations are extensions of major written projects. These are opportunities to transform substantial written work into a delivery format that features oral delivery, an accompanying slidedeck, and to interact with audiences of peers in real time and space. Presentations in first-year writing classes also respond to a standard set by SCHEV, the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, and they accord with the program’s multimodality core principle.

Individual instructors have great leeway in determining how presentations are configured, from the specifications applicable to the slidedecks to the timeframe to the use of scripts and handouts to collaborative dimensions. The program generally encourages short-form presentations of three minutes in ENGL1105 and five minutes in ENGL1106. Short-form presentations offer experience with the genre of the elevator pitch, and they bear the influence, as well, of recent models in a wide variety of disciplines, including the Three-Minute Thesis, Ignite, and pecha kucha. We recommend the following as resources, all of which are available from Newman Library, for dynamic, memorable short-form presentations: Presentation Zen (Reynolds), Presentation Zen Design (Reynolds), and Slide:Ology (Duarte).

Presentations in ENGL1105

In ENGL1105, we encourage three-minute individual presentations with an accompanying slidedeck, with the following recommendations:

  • Three slides (a cover slide and a concluding slide with contact information may extend this to four or five slides)
  • Slides are advanced by the presenter (i.e., no predetermined timings)
  • No more than ten words per slide.
  • No more than one image per slide. Use only images with appropriate citation or with permission, or images created by the presenter. For Creative Commons-licensed images, visit https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/.
  • The talk may be fully scripted, delivered from note cards, or extemporaneous.
  • Presentations should focus on one of the three major projects from the course. They may also take into account day one beliefs about writing (if these were a part of the class) and how those beliefs have changed over 13-14 weeks.

Presentations in ENGL1106

In ENGL1106, we encourage five-minute presentations, delivered individually or as part of a panel or roundtable (i.e., group presentations). These presentations should also accompany a slidedeck, which we regard as an authored document warranting careful development and oftentimes multiple drafts. The following recommendations have bearing in ENGL1106:

  • Fifteen slides (a cover slide and a concluding slide with contact information may extend this to sixteen or seventeen slides)
    Slides are automatically timed to advance after 20 seconds.
    No more than ten words per slide.
    No more than one image per slide. Use only images with appropriate citation or with permission, or images created by the presenter. For Creative Commons-licensed images, visit https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/.
  • Blank slides and repeated slides are optional (instructor discretion).
    The talk may be fully scripted, delivered from note cards, or extemporaneous.
    Presentations should focus on the major research project for the course.

We will be adding more resources to this page, so please send your ideas to composition -AT- vt.edu. In time, we will also include model slidedecks from students in ENGL1105 and ENGL1106, as well as some produced pitches (e.g., playable, closed captioned versions playable on YouTube).