Effective communication is a student-learning outcome found in many departments at Cal State Fullerton, and employers often report the need for college graduates to be proficient in oral presentation skills. PitchVantage is an innovative software program designed to help students practice and improve their public speaking skills. The program lets users practice presentations in front of a virtual audience and receive instant assessment and feedback on elements of presentation delivery, including pace, eye contact, and tone. It also permits students to review their videos while the software shows them what parts of the presentation they need to improve and offers them engaging video lessons addressing all components of presentation skills. Additionally, faculty have access to a student dashboard for analysis and grading.
Faculty at Cal State Fullerton want to include presentations in their course assignments, but often struggle with how to incorporate them into class and simultaneously support student improvement, especially in large class sizes and online courses. PitchVantage provides faculty an opportunity to incorporate public speaking into any class format, online or face-to-face, and offers students an engaging and safe space to practice and improve their oral presentation skills.
The grant funded a pilot of the software program with faculty from multiple departments in selected course sections (including traditional in-person and online classes). Faculty were given training workshops and resources to plan effective pedagogical implementation of the software in their courses. Faculty and student surveys were used to assess student experiences and learning from the program, as well as develop next steps.
Willie Peng, Cal State Fullerton