Course Syllabus for
BIO 397 - Professional Presentation Techniques

Dr. Kenneth M. Klemow
Fall 2002

Purpose of this course:

Students enrolled in BIO 397 will learn a variety of techniques for researching, organizing, and presenting information dealing with a topic in the biological sciences.

Course Objectives:

As a result of taking this course, students will:

  • Explore a topic of interest, and to learn more about areas of biology that might not be covered through coursework.
  • Have additional practice in identifying and locating pertinent pieces of literature using state-of-the-art bibliographic search techniques.
  • Gain further experience with the literature of biology, and in extracting meaningful information from primary and secondary articles.
  • Become even more aware that biology is a process, and not merely a collection of facts.
  • Gain experience in selecting and researching a topic and consolidating the information into an organized format.
  • Gain experience in developing an oral presentation, using electronic imaging and presentation equipment.
  • Learn how to present information using a poster format.
  • Enhance their personal marketing skills by developing a resume and a sample cover letter
  • Gain experience in critically reviewing technical information presented by peers.

Course Topic: Biocomplexity

What is Biocomplexity? Click here for one description

In this course, we will address three questions pertaining to biocomplexity.

How is biocomplexity defined and viewed by scientists in various disciplines, educators, health practitioners, and government officials?

What examples of research are underway that bear upon biocomplexity?

What is the future of biocomplexity? Is it a passing fad, or will it revolutionize the way that we view biolological phenomena?

To that end, you will be asked to do the following:

Present a summary of a published article or webpage dealing with biocomplexity

Select a technical topic that has some bearing on biocomplexity

Identify research articles that pertain to your topic

Develop and present a poster summarizing one of the articles

Develop and present a formal oral presentation covering the topic that you selected

Pose questions of your classmates concerning their presentations

Critique the posters and presentations given by your classmates

In addition, you will also be asked to prepare a resume and cover letter for a position that might be of interest to you.

Steps leading to a successful seminar presentation:

1. Select the topic
2. Search the literature and identify appropriate articles
3. Read appropriate articles, taking notes as needed
4. Identify themes and threads within and between articles
5. Determine the points that you seek to make in your presentation
6. Develop a coherent organizational strategy
7. Prepare the visual materials
8. Prepare the abstract
9. Practice your presentation
10. Deliver the talk
11. Bask in the glory of a job well done

Meeting Schedule:



29 August

Course introduction

5 September

Bibliographic searching (meet at library)

12 September

Presentations on general biocomplexity articles

19 September

Presentations on general biocomplexity articles

26 September

Refining your topic; how to present a poster

3 October

How to prepare a great seminar; computer imaging and PowerPoint

10 October

Careers in biology, and how to get one

17 October

Poster day

24 October

Student presentations

31 December

Student presentations

7 November

Student presentations

14 November

Student presentations

21 November

Student presentations

28 November


5 December

Student presentations (maybe)



Point value

Presentation on general article

25 points


50 points

Oral seminar presentation

75 points

Seminar abstract

25 points

Resume and letter of application

25 points

Class participation

25 points


225 points

Grade distribution:










Point range

> 202








Other Information:

Office: Location: SLC 351 Phone (570) 408-4758 FAX: (570) 408-7862
email: IM Screen Name: DrKlemow
Office hours: MTWRF 10:00 - 11:00 A.M.

This page posted and maintained by Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D., Biology Department, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766. (570) 408-4758,