Seminar Guidelines

GOALS OF THE SEMINAR PROGRAM

  • Enhance skills in preparing and delivering oral presentations, and in responding to questions
    • Develop decision-making skills for selecting information to include for targeting information for the audience
    • Develop skills for preparing professional PowerPoint slides
    • Gain confidence in responding thoughtfully to questions
  • Enhance skills in introducing speakers, moderating discussions, and providing moral and technical support to the speaker
  • Gain confidence in posing questions
  • Ensure exposure to the range of research within the Institute
  • Provide feedback to the presenter and stimulate exchange of ideas

Attendance

All students enrolled in MSc (thesis) and PhD programs in Parasitology are expected to attend all regularly scheduled seminars. A sign-up sheet will be circulated each week, and everyone present must initial the sheet. If, for some reason, it will not be possible to attend a specific seminar, you MUST email marilyn.scott [at] mcgill.caIN ADVANCE of the seminar and provide a justification for your absence, and copy your supervisor. A record of absences will be included on Annual Performance Assessments, and students who miss more than 2 seminars over the course of the academic year without valid justification will receive an unsatisfactory on their annual evaluation.

All professors are expected to attend all seminars whenever possible.

Post-doctoral fellows, research assistants and associates, visiting professors, staff, and undergraduate project students are welcome to attend.

Schedule

Before each semester, each student and his/her supervisor will be contacted to confirm a date. Only under exceptional circumstances (medical issues or emergency situations) will changes be made.

Types of Seminars

  • First seminars for PARA 606 (MSc) and PARA 710 (PhD) are given in the second term of residency.
  • All graduate students are required to give a yearly seminar, if not registered for a First or Final seminar.
  • Final seminars for PARA 607 (MSc) and PARA 711 (PhD) are given prior to submission of the thesis.
First Seminar 20 min presentation plus 5 min questions
The first seminar should be a literature review of the topic area of the thesis research. Most of the seminar should be devoted to the literature review part of the thesis (13-15 min.) which leads to a rationale for the proposed research. The seminar should conclude with objectives and methods (5-7 min.). Results should not be presented.
Yearly Seminar 15 min presentation plus 10 min questions
Each year, students should explain progress over the past year. A very brief background, rationale and objective should be provided. Detailed methods and results for the current work should be explained. There is no need to repeat results presented during previous seminars. Challenges to progress should be highlighted, if relevant. Interpretation of findings and perspectives for the follow-up work should also be described. Remember, this is an opportunity to get feedback and ideas that may be helpful!
Final Seminar 35-40 min presentation plus 10 min questions
Students present a comprehensive view of their thesis research, including introduction/background, objectives and rationale, methods and results, interpretation of the results, discussion of significance.

Guest Speakers

Everyone is invited to recommend people to be invited to give a guest seminar. Given financial constraints, we like to invite people who will already be in Montreal for another reason. Students are also encouraged to be creative about ways to establish a fund that can be used to support invited speakers.

Grading and Feedback

Everyone is encouraged to provide feedback to seminar speakers on the Parasitology Seminar Evaluation Form. In addition to ticking a category for each assessment criterion, constructive written comments are greatly appreciated. Students and their supervisors will receive a PDF of all feedback.

Professors MUST write their name on each Seminar Evaluation Form and MUST provide a numeric grade for First and Final Seminar (see attached Grading Rubric).

Abstract

Each presenter must complete an abstract poster using the Institute Template. It must be submitted electronically to Amanda Johnston (amanda.johnston [at] mcgill.ca) and copied to Marilyn Scott (marilyn.scott [at] mcgill.ca) eight days before the seminar (the Thursday of the previous week).

Chairpersons

Each speaker is required to ask another student to introduce them, keep record of time, and moderate the discussion. Students should be invited to ask questions first. All students should have an opportunity to introduce a speaker at least once each year.

Grading Rubric

Grade Yearly First Seminar Final Seminar
90% + An exceptional seminar. Highly professional visuals, easily legible, effectively used during presentation. Engaging presentation style with clear major message, very well supported by information included. Content extremely well balanced for breadth and depth, allowing everyone to gain from the presentation. Outstanding, thoughtful responses to all questions. Extremely evident that “on top” of the area of research. A clearly defined path from the literature to the rationale to the objectives, that together makes a compelling case for the research. Methods explained simply but clearly. Design and methods very clearly matched to objectives. A coherent flow from conceptualization through to sequence of findings leading to overall conclusions. Clear placement of results within the context of the current literature. Explicit recognition of limitations and discussion of their implications. Extremely interesting, novel findings. Implications explored.
85-89% An excellent seminar. Excellent visuals, legible, effectively used. Presentation style confident and enthusiastic. Clear major message quite well supported by information in seminar. Content well balanced for the audience. Excellent response to questions. Very knowledgeable about area of research. A logical path from the literature to the rationale to the objectives, that together makes a strong case for the research. Methods explained simply but clearly. Design and methods matched to objectives. An easy to follow flow from conceptualization through to sequence of findings leading to overall conclusions. Discussion of limitations. Very interesting, novel findings. Implications explored.
80-84% A very good seminar. Visuals very good. Presentation quite easy to follow, though confusing in a few places. Presentation style very good, though more enthusiasm would have helped. Content a bit too specialized or too general for audience. Handled most questions very well. A good handle on the subject area. Path from the literature to the rationale to the objectives has a few weaknesses but overall a good case for the research. Methods explained simply and reasonably clearly. Design and methods matched quite well to objectives. Reasonable link between conceptualization through to sequence of findings leading to overall conclusions. Some consideration of limitations. Several interesting observations. Implications considered.
75-79% A good seminar. Visuals helpful but some confusion; some slides not legible or not well explained. Presentation difficult to follow. Lacking confidence and enthusiasm when speaking. Content pitched at a level reasonable for the majority of the audience. Difficulty providing a clear response to many of the questions. A few gaps in understanding evident. Confusing or limited information in the literature review, no clear explanation of how the literature was used as a rationale for the study, and for the objectives. Confusing objectives. Methods or design missing important controls that may limit interpretation of findings. May not be optimal to test objectives. Parts of link from conceptualization through to sequence of findings leading to overall conclusions missing or confusing. Brief consideration of limitations. Some interesting observations. Implications considered.
70-74% A reasonable seminar. Visuals unclear, many slides not legible or not well explained. Parts of presentation difficult to follow. Presentation style conducive to audience losing focus. Seminar not pitched to the majority of the audience. Difficulty responding to most of the questions. Gaps in understanding of several areas. Quite superficial literature review where gaps in coverage might affect rationale and objectives. Methods and design poorly developed. Several gaps in links between overall objectives within/between experiments or evidence and overall conclusions. Brief consideration of limitations. A few interesting observations. Potential future work follow-up work explored.
65-69% A satisfactory seminar. Visuals not very helpful, confusing, illegible, not well explained. Presentation very difficult to follow. Very unengaging presentation style. Content pitched only for experts in the very specific research area or only for a non-researcher audience. Difficulty understanding the questions and difficulty in providing a clear response to the questions. Confusing or minimal information in the literature review, no clear explanation of how the literature was used as a rationale for the study, and for the objectives. Confusing objectives. Methods not well explained or inappropriate to test the stated objectives. Weak association between overall objectives within/between experiments, results, and overall conclusions. Limitations not considered. A few interesting observations but results not compelling. A few ideas for appropriate follow-up studies.
<65% Fail    

Note that expectations are higher for PhD students than MSc students. For example, compared to MSc students, PhD students are expected, in their First Seminar, to provide a more critical and integrated review of literature and to have a more complex set of objectives. In their Final Seminar, PhD students are expected to have completed a much larger body of work that is integrated at a much higher level.

Back to top