PLNT*6400 (F) Seminar

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2019 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.

All graduate students present a departmental seminar on their research proposal typically in the second semester of their program. Each student is expected to participate in seminars by colleagues within the course.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Graduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

To be determined.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the course, the students will be able to

  1. Communicate effectively in a professional environment in an oral format and articulate scientific background, experimental design, technical methods and expected results.
  2. Communicate effectively in a written format in the form of an abstract for a scientific oral presentation.
  3. Formulate and communicate clear and effective answers to questions from student peers and members of the department.
  4. Formulate effective questions in a scientific environment
  5. Evaluate the presentations of others and provide effective feedback in an ethical and supportive manner.  

Lecture Content:

There are no specific lectures for this course.  There will be an introductory class to review the course content and guidelines for preparing abstracts and effective presentations.  There will be a second class meeting to further discuss effective presentations and discussion and tips on effective PowerPoint presentations.  

Labs & Seminars:

There are no labs for this course 


The main course content is the student seminars.  Practice seminars will be presented in class and final seminars will be presented to the department.  

  • Seminars will be 20 minutes in length, plus 10 minutes for questions, for M.Sc. students
  • Seminars will be 30 minutes in length, plus 10 minutes for questions, for Ph.D. students. 

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Grade
Draft Abstract to Instructor 10%
Draft of Powerpoint presentation to Instructor 15%
Practice Seminar 15%
Seminar Presentation 5% Student Evaluation; 50% Instructor Evaluation
Seminar Participation 5%

Final examination:

There is no final exam. 

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

There are no required texts

Recommended Texts:
How to Write a Scientific Abstract (Website)
How to Prepare a Research Proposal (Website)
Lab Manual:

There is no lab manual

Other Resources:

D2L CourseLink
Teaching Support Services Learning Outcomes Resources
Selective Reading and Resource Material
Angus, H. 1993. Leading workshops, seminars, and training sessions. Self Counsel Press, N. Vancouver BC.
Barnard, S. 1946. Speaking our minds, a guide for public speaking for Canadians. Prentice-Hall, Scarborough.
Booher, D. D. 1994. Communicate with confidence, how to say it right the first time. McGraw-Hill Inc. New York
Davidson, C. I., Ambrose, S.A. 1994. The new professor’s handbook. Anker , Bolton, MA.
Gibbs, G., Habeshaw, S., Habeshaw, T. 1987. 53 interesting things to do in your lectures, Technical & Educational Services, Bristol
Habeshaw, S., Gibbs, G., Habeshaw, T. 1987. 53 interesting things to do in your seminars & tutorials, Technical and educational services Ltd. U.K
Kenny, P. 1982. A handbook of public speaking for scientists for scientists and engineers. Adam Hilger Ltd.
Makay, J. J. 1984. Speaking with an audience, communicating ideas and attitudes. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque
McDaniel, R. 1948. Scared speechless, public speaking step by step. Sage, London
Nelson, R.B. 1985. Louder and funnier. Ten Speed Press, California
Sprague, J., Stuart, D. 1988 -1984. The speaker’s handbook. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York
Thompson, A., 1991. Words into speech. Copp Clark Pitman, Mississauga, Ontario
Vasile, A.J. and associates, Mintz, H. K.. 1986 -1989. Speak with confidence, Scott Foresman and Company, Illinois, Boston and London

Field Trips:

There are no field trips

Additional Costs:

There are no additional costs 

Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

The abstract must be submitted by 11:59 pm to the Dropbox on Courselink on the due date to receive full marks. Late assignments will be docked 50% if they are one day late, 75% for two days and zero if more than 48 hours late.

A similar policy applies to the practice presentation. It must be uploaded to Dropbox by 11:59 pm on the due date. A late submission will be docked 50% for up to 24 hours and 75% for 24 to 48 hours.

Course Policy on Group Work:

All work is graded individually. However, students are encouraged to get feedback and edits from their supervisor and/or committee members and to get as much practice and feedback from faculty and students as possible when preparing the abstract, practice seminar and  seminar presentation.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor. When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.


Other Course Information:


University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students  to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring.

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community's shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact the Student Accessibility Services (SAS), formerly Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD), as soon as possible.

For more information, contact CSD at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email or visit the Student Accessibility Services website:

Course Evaluation Information

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Your responses will not affect your grade.  Course evaluation data are distributed to individual instructors after final grades have been submitted to the Registrar, following the completion of each academic semester.

Please be honest, respectful, constructive and thorough.  Instructors and review committees place great value on student course ratings and read all comments provided in course evaluations. It is helpful to provide comments on the strengths of the course, in addition to the areas for improvement.  Please refrain from personal comments unless they relate to teaching and learning.

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