Teaching Online

As you move your classes to a remote model, we realize there will be concerns about how to adapt to the new environment. In addition to the technical resources provided by LITS, the following resources will address many of your concerns. 

These materials were constructed by Amy Gaffney, OCC Director, and Jennifer Ambrose, Writing Center Director.

You can also refer students to the tips and guides section of the OCC website which will be updated to include materials aimed at their needs for remote learning.

Course Support

Faculty members in any discipline may request customized oral communication support for their courses. Center professionals work directly with professors to plan and deliver support that is tailored to the specific needs of the course and the assignment. The course support may include collaborating on assignment design, providing training for students in class or in workshops outside of class, developing evaluation tools, and providing feedback to students.

Please use this form to request course support for Fall 2023, or contact algaffne@hamilton.edu with the details of your needs!

Multilingual Students

If you would like to expand your professional and pedagogical development and learn more about supporting the multilingual students in your class, contact Laura Widman, assistant director of the Writing Center and multilingual specialist, and they will be in contact.

If you have a multilingual student in your class who you would like to refer for writing, speaking, listening, and/or reading support, please fill out the referral form for Multilingual Student support on Compass, or email Laura Widman at lwidman@hamilton.edu and CC your referred student.

Workshops and Seminars

In addition to providing course support, the Oral Communication Center conducts training workshops and seminars that are open to all students and other members of the College community. Each of these sessions typically focuses on a single issue or challenge in oral communication, such as organizing a presentation, using PowerPoint, controlling speech anxiety, etc. Any Hamilton group or unit of the College may request a customized training workshop or seminar.

The Oral Communication Center with the Speaking Advisory Council provides Faculty Development Workshops focused on integrating oral assignments within curriculum. Below are past topics presented and discussed.  

If you've ever struggled to grade presentations, put off creating new assignments because evaluating them seems too daunting, or just wondered how we can objectively evaluate a student's speech, this professional development is for you.

Amy Gaffney led a discussion about using learning outcomes as a driving force for evaluating student work. While the focus was on oral communication assignments, the principles discuss apply to a variety of assignment types.

When: 12:10 p.m. or 4:10 p.m, Wednesday, March 11, 2020

At this lunch aimed at faculty seeking to learn more about the Speaking Intensive designation, colleagues shared their experiences integrating speaking into their classes. 

When: Noon, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Would you like to learn tips and tricks for providing feedback on students’ oral communication assignments?

The panelists shared examples of assignments and the associated grading criteria.

Andrew Dykstra, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Brigit Ferguson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History
Natalie Nannas, Assistant Professor of Biology
Ann Owen, Chair, Professor of Economics and Henry Platt Bristol Professor of Public Policy

Art History 153 Grading Rubric by Brigit Ferguson

When: Noon to 1:00 pm, October 31, 2018

During the workshop, Amy Gaffney shared different strategies for increasing speaking in classes (whether or not they are SI courses) as well as ways to evaluate students' presentations and other oral communication. Those who teach a course that already has a low cap (e.g., proseminar, first-year course), found the workshop particularly helpful for gaining the SI designation since they are already working within the confines of the SI seat cap.

When: Noon, Friday, May 18, 2018

Have you ever wondered what you can do to encourage participation, help students learn to articulate their ideas clearly, or help the discussion stay on track? A panel of Hamilton Faculty shared and discussed ways to encourage more and better classroom discussion. 

Richard Bedient, Professor of Mathematics 
Amy Gaffney, Director of the Oral Communication Center
Jon Gaffney, Assistant Professor of Physics
Meredith Madden, Assistant Professor of Education Studies
Russel Marcus, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Processes that Facilitate Discussion

Where: Sadove Conference Room 

Members of the Speaking Advisory Committee and Hamilton Faculty presented creative ways to implement oral assignments into class curriculum.

Adam Van Wynsberghe, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Andrew Dykstra, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Katheryn Doran, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Speaking Advisory Committee
Lisa Trivedi, Professor of History

Math 235 Oral Exam by Andrew Dykstra

Where: Azel Backus Dining Room

The Hamilton Faculty Panel gave tips on how to structure oral exams, advise students on how to prepare for oral exams, and evaluate and grade exams. 

Mark Bailey, Professor of Computer Science
John Burtle, Associate Professor of German and Russian Languages and Literatures
Dan Chambliss, Professor of Sociology
Marianne Janack, Professor of Philosophy

Where: Azel Backus House

Tutoring Services

The center offers support directly to students as they work on class assignments or independent projects. Individuals and groups of students can consult with peer tutors as they prepare oral presentations, debates, group presentations, panel discussions, podcasts, readings, interviews, oral exams, poster presentations, etc.

Peer tutors can provide guidance on matters such as organizing presentations, using research sources and creating oral citations, adapting written work for oral presentation, designing and using visual elements (such as PowerPoint slides); improving public speaking, discussion and interview skills, and managing nervousness.

Professional staff members offer support to faculty and staff members preparing lectures, conference presentations and the like.

Additional Resources

The center maintains a library of textbooks and video resources as well as tip sheets on specific oral communication issues. The center has practice rooms equipped for video recording and review of presentations.

Teaching Oral Communication Across the Curriculum


Office / Department Name

Oral Communication Center

Contact Name

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director

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