i10 Seminar Guideline
Seminar style and participation
In our pro-/seminars you will work together with a partner to prepare and present your topic. This teamwork should train your communication and cooperation skills, which you will definitely need in your future job. Don't split the material between you and your partner to reduce the amount of required work! Meet your partner on a regular basis and work together with him to prepare the topic. You should understand and know the whole topic, and you should be able to give the complete presentation alone, just in case that your partner can't make it to the presentation.
To pass the seminar and get a certificate we expect from you to attend all presentations given by your colleagues. The seminar you registered at our chair is for you, and you will learn a lot if you participate regularly. In case that you need one day off, please talk to us in advance. You need, however, to summarize the missed talk in one page. But we will not accept students who attend other lectures, labs, or seminars that conflict with our time slots.
We usually film the presentations and make them available on the web for later review by your colleagues, together with your reports / slides. If you don't want your video to be on the web, please talk to us in advance.
Your report should go beyond a simple summary of your topic. Describe the research problem in depth, present useful and promising solutions, and discuss the results. It is NOT SUFFICIENT to cover only the papers that we referenced for you as a starting point. Use the online research references at the bottom of this page to find secondary literature on your topic.
The written report for the seminar should comprise about 10 pages, i.e., a full-paper submission for a conference. Deadline for submission of the final report is one week before the presentation. Meet your supervisor in time to present your progress, to settle questions, and to discuss details. If you have doubts about the style and content of your report or slides, please hand in a draft for review at least three weeks before due date. This will give us and you enough time for review and corrections.
We will use your final report to grade your work. Make sure that your report meets the basic standards of university-level English, as we will also grade your writing style. Please also give your report to your friends for review. They can find many mistakes that you don't see. Use a spell checker and pay special attention to grammar, sentence construction, and commas (e.g., i.e., et al.). Use an active writing style, not passive!
Don't copy the original work. Express the contents of the topic in your own words. If you are caught plagiarizing (copying an external source without giving a reference) you will be automatically expelled from the seminar and receive a failing grade on your record.
Put yourself in the position of the audience and write in a clear and easily comprehensible style. Present the main issues that you want to convey to your audience. Structure your report, e.g., Introduction, Fundamentals, Main part, Summary, and Conclusion.
The cover sheet should contain the title of the seminar and the title of your topic, your full names, as well as the name of your supervisor. Use an extra sheet at the end of the report to refer to the original literature that you have covered. Use a font style of 12 pt to ensure that the text remains readable after scaling down. We also recommend to use latex to write your report (see our latex template page).
Never write your name together with your matriculation number on the report!
Your presentation should last 20 minutes. Share the time between you and your partner equally.
Present the main issues of your topic. Don't try to cover all material you've found since time is too short. Plan to talk at least 1 minute about each slide. Make use of keywords! Don't write complete sentences or your audience would always read what's on your slide instead of listening to you anymore.
To give a good presentation, don't just read the text on your slides! We could do that too, so where is the point that you want to present? Make sure to always provide additional information that is not written on your slides - that's what keywords are for!
Talk freely without using any additional notes, so please rehearse your presentation in advance. The rehearsal will also help you to fill the supposed time slot of 60 (or 45) minutes! If you have never presented before, please contact your advisor to set up a date for a mock presentation.
Use a large font size for your slides, so people who sit at the end of the room can also read them. Use different colors or bold font to emphasize important facts. Show pictures and videos where appropriate, but please don't talk if the video already has an audio commentary.
Involve your audience during your presentation to keep them awake :) Ask some questions, but also consider to be interrupted by your audience asking questions, so try to guess what your audience may ask you. This shortens your presentation time (plan 5 minutes). In case that you may finish too early keep some further slides (e.g., demos or additional videos).
Put your names, the topic, the slide number, and the total number of slides on each slide. This will provide some information for people who come too late to your presentation. Run a spell checker and double-check your presentation with your partner, especially if you are not a native English speaker!
Please talk to us in advance if you need a computer or special hardware from us to support your presentation. Make sure to test your slides before giving the presentation under "real conditions", with the exact equipment that you will use. If you use your own laptop, please ensure that the videos run properly with our beamer.
Whenever we need to pick a set of colors for a diagram, presentation, or user interface, we usually shoot straight for full-on RED, GREEN and BLUE (as in 255,0,0 etc.). It's easy and clean, right? And you sure can tell THOSE colors apart. But they also look pretty ugly; that's why you won't find them in any professionally made print publication, for example.
Professional color artists instead select schemes in which the colors harmonize with each other, even though they're still easy to tell apart. If you want to benefit from that expertise for free, download the Color Schemer Dashboard widget (but note that those schemes are unreviewed submissions from other users, so no guarantees about their quality). If you want "tested" schemes, try Color Schemer Studio for Mac OS X or Windows ($50, free 15-day trial). Or you can try Mondrianum, a free (for now, at least) tool, which integrates directly into the OSX color chooser, and provides color schemes from Adobe's Kuler web site.
If you still want to roll your own, try this trick: Keep the hue the same, and only vary saturation and brightness in your scheme.
Besides giving a good presentation, we need your report and your presentation slides as PDF documents. Also, copy us the videos or demos that you'll use during your presentation or, in case they are too big for email, send the links to us where we can download them.
- S. L. Peyton Jones, J. Hughes, J. Launchbury: How to Give a Good Research Talk, ACM SIGPLAN Notices 28(11), Nov. 1993, 9-12.
- Ian Parberry: How to Present a Paper in Theoretical Computer Science: A Speaker's Guide for Students, University of North Texas
- Henning Schulzrinne: Writing technical articles, Common bugs in writing
- W. Strunk, E. B. White, The Elements Of Style, ISBN 020530902X (online version)
- Franklin Tessler, Polish your presentations
- Bibliothek der Fachgruppe Inormatik
- The ACM Digital Library (access is free from computers inside the RWTH network)