ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO

On Wednesday evening, I handed in a 5000+ word report and gave a presentation. With that I was done with my software testing course. Three more credits accumulated and only one more course to go. I suppose the prof still has to mark the report, which is worth 45% of the class. I’ve done the calculations though and I can get as little as 65% on the report and still get an “A-” in the class. I’m not worried.

I had a project partner to help me write the report but I did the bulk of the work. My partner is some crazy dude that has no understanding of balance. He works full-time at an engineering job and somehow still takes three graduate courses. Most full-time grad students take three courses and that occupies nearly all of their time. Dave is one stressed out guy. I’m pretty sure he didn’t really have any clue what the hell was going on with our project.

We had a joint presentation that delivered our findings to the class. I let Dave write his own slides. I took the first half of the presentation and he took the last half. Giving presentations doesn’t phase me. As long as I’m prepared, I could talk all day in front of people. So when it was my turn to speak on Wednesday night, it was a piece of the proverbial cake.

Then it was Dave’s turn. Now when he gave me his slides the night before, I looked it over and had a few comments for him. For one, he had these tables with really tiny text. Some of his slides were really crammed with text. I offered to enlarge the text in his tables, but he said it didn’t matter. I said ok, but I enlarged some of the text anyways, before I got distracted and started watching TV.

When he gave his half of the presentation, he started flying through the slides, skipping several slides entirely. I later asked him why he did that. He replied that I had taken so much of the 15 minutes allocated to us, he had to rush. I think Dave might have been on some sorta chemical stimulant because I had timed my slides at home and consistently finished them in 5 minutes. I had budgeted 7 minutes for me and 8 minutes for Dave. I was well within 7 minutes.

Regardless of how long I took, we got instant feedback from the rest of the class. The prof made everyone fill out an evaluation form for each presentation, which was to be handed to the presenters immediately after. As I rifled through the forms, I had the following terms attached to my name, “engaging speaker”, laid-back”, “good eye contact”, and “interesting presentation”. Toot! Toot! Whoa, I think that was the sound of me blowing my own horn.

I will not say exactly what comments David received though I will offer his evalutions were peppered with adjectives in direct opposition of mine.

Afterwards, I patted Dave on the back and told him to keep his chin up. You know, crap that no one wants to hear. In a way, I feel sorry for him. It’s a full-time job for me just to take two grad classes and be a TA. I can’t imagine what it’s like to work full-time and take three grad classes. No wonder he smokes a lot.

I think we can learn several things from this experience. First, if you’re going to put text in your slides for a presentation, make sure the text is large enough to read. If you don’t want the audience to read some text, just delete it, don’t make it small. Second, if you’re going to work full-time, don’t be a full-time grad student at the same time.

Ok, now I’m going back to my TV and marvel at how 49 out of 52 channels are carrying the Pope’s funeral live. That’s a lot channels.

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