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Teaching Demo

Table of contents

  1. Assignment
    1. Select your topic/concept and determine the learning goal(s)
    2. Prepare the demo and the assessment
  2. Presentation Guidelines
    1. Slides
      1. Text
      2. Figures
      3. Last Slide
    2. Style
    3. Presenting Remotely
  3. Submission instructions


ULAs often conduct review sessions where they go over various course topics, explain how to solve certain types of problems, and demonstrate how to approach/deconstruct a specific concept. At the end of this assignment, you will have seen the different types of concepts / questions your fellow 190J peers have seen this quarter, and the strategies they use to address and explain them.

Additionally, this assignment is meant to help you with your application for a paid ULA position, since you might need to submit a video of yourself teaching a concept.

Last but not least, this assignment’s goal is to help you identify creative strategies in which you can explain course concepts, and ways of assessing whether your audience (“your student(s)”) understood your explanation.

For this assignment, we ask that you prepare a 5-7 minute teaching demo explaining a topic/concept or a walk-through of an example from the course you are assigned to as a ULA. After your presentation, you need to test how well your audience/”students” are able to apply what you’ve explained by asking them follow-up questions, or giving them a poll, or a clicker-style/quiz question(s), or asking them to complete an activity. We encourage you to be creative and think of engaging, fun, and/or practical examples.

This demo will be recorded, so that after this exercise, you can watch it and reflect on your experience, what you did well, and what you did or would have liked to do differently during the demo, or will do differently in the future.

The goals of this assignment are to:

  • Practice identifying learning goals/objectives
  • Use the backward design to determine what information students will need to reach this goal
  • Design an assessment to check students’ ability
  • Practice presenting a short, focused talk

Additionally, as part of this assignment, you will

  • Organize and consolidate information
  • Design slides / materials / notes / assessment
  • Present your demo to the 190J students
  • Provide feedback to others
  • Reflect on your experience

Select your topic/concept and determine the learning goal(s)

The easiest way for you to select a topic is to think of the commonly asked questions or misconceptions that you’ve addressed in your course. If you created any resources for your course, you could use that topic as an example.

Once you have identified the topic for your demo, think about what should the students need to be able to do to demonstrate their learning. Use the Action Verbs to write down your learning goals for the demo. (Side note: Learning goals are interchangeably called learning outcomes or learning objectives. Read more about the Learning Outcomes and Backward Design). Take a look at some examples to get a sense of the well-written learning objectives.

Prepare the demo and the assessment

Now that you have identified the topic and the learning objectives, prepare your demo that would provide students with the information that they need in order to understand the topic. Feel free to use slides, interactive walk-throughs, write or draw in order to facilitate the learning process (see “Presentation Guidelines” below).

As much as possible, design your explanation so that someone with a limited background of CS/DS can still understand your demo: for example, limit the jargon and explain related terms whenever appropriate.

After your demo, assess how well the audience “learned” from your demo: give them a quick clicker-style quiz or questions to answer, ask them to respond to a prompt, give them a worksheet to fill out or an activity to do. What would measurably demonstrate that the audience understood the topic?

After the demo, the audience will submit their observations and feedback via the provided link.

Presentation Guidelines

Ensure that you can clearly articulate the main goal of your presentation: what do you want your audience to take away from it?

Before using slides as a default mode of your presentation, brainstorm potential other ways in which you can present.

If you decide to use slides, use them as an aid instead of as a replacement of your of talk. If you plan to share your slides as a reference, consider creating additional (hidden) slides that can be distributed separately from the slides that you use for your talk.



  • Use informative slide headings. E.g., if your slide is titled “User” and the slide describes “User Actions”, the latter is a more informative heading.

  • Make your bullet points concise – no need for full sentences.
    • Ask yourself: What is the “take-away”? What is the motivation behind including this slide and each item on this slide? Can you leave it out?
    • Aim for no more than 3-5 bullet points per slide with enough spacing between them. Limit your text to max 20 words/slide.
    • Make every bullet point begin with the same part of speech (e.g., an action verb) – such consistency makes it easier to read/digest the slides.
  • Make your slides readable: use the font size 20-24 at a minimum (that includes your figures!).
    • Ensure that bullets and sub-bullets follow the minimum font size guidelines.
    • Enlarging the font will also eliminate too much text from the slides.
  • Avoid dark text on dark background (same goes for light text on light background).
    • If using color-coding, do not use red/green as distinguishing colors (red/green color-blindness is the most common – color-blind people see distinct colors, e.g., red and green, as being indistinguishable from each other).
  • Spell-check your slides!


  • Make it easy for the audience to see/read the content of the figures.
    • Circle, highlight or otherwise draw attention to the relevant elements.
    • Refer to the point about the minimum font size and color.
  • Remember to always label your axes in the graphs, include a readable legend, and provide an informative caption.

  • Create an effective functionality/diagram walk-through using step-by-step animations (they can guide audience’s attention to the appropriate section of the slide or a figure).

Last Slide

  • “Thank you!” and/or “Questions?” (possibly with some clip art) as the last slide is not informative – including an overview/major feature highlights on the last slide is more helpful (and can help you address the audience’s questions without having to scroll through your slides).
  • Include a “Possible Questions” on the last slide – it can provide a starting point and/or help your audience formulate their questions.
  • Avoid listing generic headings displaying an outline of your talk; include a major takeaway or 2-3 highlights of your talk, show a diagram of the system, or display anything else that could help your audience ask questions and/or help you answer them.
  • Bonus tip: include an Appendix with the helpful slides that you might bring up during the Q&A.


  • Introduction is the easiest part to rehearse and get a great start to your presentation – don’t skip over it.
  • Find an engaging start to the presentation: asking the audience a question, adding an anecdote or an illustrative example. Be creative but also be respectful!
  • Be aware of your non-verbal actions as they can be a bit distracting and give away your nervousness (which can be translated as the lack of preparation).
  • It’s never good to be surprised by your own slides (and/or their animations). Make sure to rehearse the full flow of your talk.
    • Rehearse the presentation at least a couple of times to practice the logical flow of slide progression and timing.
    • Practicing will help you figure out transitions between the slides, which might minimize the number of “uhm”s and other filler words during the talk.
    • Using planned transitions between different parts of the slide and subsequent slides (and maybe making them part of a story) would bring your content to life, help enhance the motivation behind the explanation, and engage your audience.
  • Having pauses in the presentation is OK, since it gives the audience a chance to take in the information and follow you better.
  • Slower speaking speed creates an impression of monotonous speaking. Slightly picking up the pace of your delivery might make your presentation even more engaging.
  • Plan how to wrap-up your presentation: don’t just end it abruptly. You could, for example, go over the major take-aways (see the notes about the Last Slide).

Presenting Remotely

  • If using an IDE or an editor for your presentation, increase the font size, so that those who are watching your talk on smaller screens can still see what you are typing. (Note that if you have a large display, its higher resolution means that someone watching the talk on their tablet would see your entire desktop squished on their screen.)
  • When sharing your screen, remove other distracting elements: e.g., close unnecessary tabs, so that you have only the windows/tabs which you need for your demo.
  • Your microphone should not be rubbing on your clothes, hair, or be too close or too far.
  • Record your presentation each time you practice your demo.
    • Watch your recording. Take notes.
    • Record your talk more than once to practice timing.

Submission instructions

  • Submit a file that outlines the following:
    • Title of your activity / topic
    • Learning objectives (that use action verbs)
    • Assessment questions / exercise
  • Include your visuals / notes for the activity (e.g., a ppt, an explanation of what you will draw, a pre-filled Python notebook and the data file)

  • Upload your materials to Gauchospace to the “Teaching Demo” assignment.

After your presentation, you will receive a link with the recording and a form through which you can submit your reflection.

If, for some reason, you would be unable to lead your demo live during our lecture, then send me an email before Friday, with the subject “CS 190J Teaching Demo” and the link to your pre-recorded video. In that email, let me know whether you’d be able to lead the assessment activity during the lecture; otherwise, the materials and the instructions for how to lead it should be uploaded to the corresponding (also before Friday during which you are supposed to present, i.e., aim to upload it on Thursday night the latest).