What: The Harvard College Writing Center invites seniors from all concentrations to share a three-minute speech about their thesis research with an audience of non-specialists. Because we can’t hold our annual Three-Minute Thesis competition on campus this spring, we’re inviting seniors to submit video presentations.
Who: All seniors who wrote a thesis this year are eligible to participate.
When: Submissions are due Wednesday, April 28 at 5 p.m. EDT. Winners will be announced in early May.
How to prepare
Get help translating the main points of your thesis into a speech: Writing Center tutors are available by appointment to provide feedback as you craft a compelling and concise presentation of your argument.
- Get help with your presentation: Peer speaking tutors are available by appointment to consult on your presentation skills. Work with a Peer Speaking Tutor to polish your presentation skills. Or schedule a tech consult to get tips on video recording.
Get media help from the Bok Center Learning Lab!
- Watch this demo on how to record your presentation: https://youtu.be/vpHG4lTjZtg
- Sign up for an appointment with the Learning Lab media team on 4/26 or 4/27. We can help troubleshoot any issues or film your video over Zoom.
- Ask for help any time at help.learninglab.xyz.
- This link provides an overview of filming help from the Bok Learning Lab: https://hackmd.io/@learninglab/HkUQn06rd
Why participate in the Pitch Your Thesis video competition?
Share your senior thesis research with an audience of non-specialists.
- Get feedback to improve your presentation (and video recording!) skills.
- Finalists will have their videos showcased on the Writing Program and Harvard College Writing Center website.
- Win a cash prize.
Presentations must be NO LONGER than 3 minutes.
- Videos should be recorded in a single take. (Post production edits should be limited to removal of unwanted footage at the beginning and end of a video.)
- The presenter should be seated in front of a solid background, with the camera positioned at eye level or slightly above.
- Please submit a single static PowerPoint slide along with the video (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description). This slide should illustrate some aspect of your speech.
- No additional electronic media (sound and video files) are permitted.
- A submission form and video should be uploaded by on Wednesday, April 28.
Judging Criteria (Adopted from the 3MT Competition)
Comprehension & Content
Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
- Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
- Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
- Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
- Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
- Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
- Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?
$100 (1st prize); $50 (2nd prize); and $25 (3rd prize)
- Can I enter with something other than a thesis? No. This event is only for thesis writers.
- Can I enter with my creative thesis? If you wrote a senior thesis, you can enter, no matter the topic or concentration. But please note, you cannot read excerpts from your thesis. You must give a presentation about your thesis.
- Do I have to sign-up for a session with a peer tutor/speaking tutor/Bok center in order to submit a video? No. But we recommend it!
- Where can I see sample videos? Check out last year’s 3MT finalists and prize winners here.
Questions? Email us.