Chinese Culture: Art-work/Author Presentation: Interpretation with final Audio Podcast

This page authored by Frederik Green, Macalester College
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This semester-long oral exercise was designed for my first-year seminar on 20th Century Literature, Film, and Art from Shanghai, but it could be used for any literature and culture class, regardless of level. It was developed after participating in an Oral Communication Workshops that focused on Argumentation Basics.

The exercise consists of four parts. The first part consists of a detailed written response or 'opinion piece' about a piece of literature, a movie, or an art work and its secondary literature that every student has to post to the course website once during the semester. This 'opinion piece' has to be the first response for that response session, and the other students have to critically respond it.

During the next class session, the student who posted the 'opinion piece' is responsible to act as moderator during the discussion of that piece of literature, movie, or art work and its secondary literature. He/she will present his/her interpretation, but will also have to take into account other students responses. He/she will then lead a general discussion, but in the closing remarks should formulate his/her final interpretation.

The student will then prepare a 4-5 minute podcast, in which he/she will present his/her interpretation of his/her piece of literature, movie, or art work to an imagined radio audience. He/she will contextualize the work, but then focus on his/her interpretation and comment on other possible interpretation as provided by his/her fellow students.

All finished podcasts will be placed on the course website, and then be evaluated by the entire class in a final class session. For this purpose, students will fill-out rubrics, which have categories for clarity of expression, clarity of argument, originality of argument, originality of presentation, and the overall presentation.

Learning Goals

  • Articulating a clear thesis or central claim
  • Speaking effectively
  • Argumentative skills and oral presentation skills.

Context for Use

This exercise was designed for a freshman first-year college level intro class, but I plan to use it for upper level seminar as well. I have used it with a class of 12 students, which is a good size, especially if all pod-casts are to be evaluated in one class session (90 mins). The activity typically fully occupies a student for one week, and every student is responsible once during the course of the semester.
  • Non-graded in-class exercise or activity
  • Debate

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity requires the use of a central course website onto which the initial 'opinion piece' can be published, and to which students can then respond. Class discussion could be facilitated with a set of questions that the moderator prepares and distributes. An audio-software such as 'audacity' is required for the production of the pod-cast, and the final version should be uploaded to the course website. A rubric is handed out when pod-casts are evaluated.

Teaching Notes and Tips

For some reason, students were very responsive to this exercise. Class discussion that was moderated by the person in charge of the respective opinion piece and pod-cast was very lively, probably because the student in charge was motivated by the prospect of having to summarize multiple view points in the pod-cast, which was to be evaluated by his fellow students.


Besides the rubric for the pod-cast, I might in the future develop a rubric for the initial presentation of the moderator, and of his closing remarks. The student then could use these evaluations when working on his/her podcast.

podcast evaluation sheet (Microsoft Word 36kB Dec7 10)

Rubric or scoring scale
Test, quiz, or examination sections

References and Resources