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6.UAT Oral Communication
Spring 2019

6.UAT Course Information

Last Updated:January 7, 2019
** Nothing in this document is set in stone until Lecture 1 **


  1. Course Learning Goals and Objectives
  2. Course Expectations
  3. Text, Materials and Other Resources
  4. Assignments
  5. Attendance Policy
  6. Grading Policy
  7. Your Feedback

Course Learning Goals and Objectives

This course will (1) encourage you to think about effective and efficient oral technical communication, and (2) equip you with communication skills necessary to succeed in a professional technical academic/industry setting. We will provide you with opportunities to practice your skills and create mechanisms for feedback to help you strengthen them.

Upon completion of the course, students will have learned how to:

  • critically evaluate technical presentations
  • architect technical presentations
  • present technical material to different audiences at different levels of detail
  • give and receive constructive feedback
  • communicate more effectively in a professional setting

Course Expectations

You are expected to conduct yourself in a manner that is professional and to manage your time accordingly. As you will be learning from each other, you are also expected to provide your fellow students with clear, respectful, concrete and constructive feedback.

Class Etiquette

Please refrain from using electronic devices in class. They distract the speaker and those around/behind you.

Please arrive on time -- it is disruptive to arrive in the middle of another person's presentation. Too many late arrivals will affect your final grade.

Academic Integrity

Your work should be your own. You should acknowledge your sources and cite references when appropriate. Inappropriate behavior (e.g. plagiarism, cheating) will result in a failing grade for the assignment and could lead to further disciplinary action.

Text, Materials and Exams

There is no required textbook. Any readings will either be distributed in class and/or made available online. There are no exams.
You'll need access to slide creation software - preferred upload formats are: pdf, ppt, pptx.

Office Hours

TA office hours will be offered during weeks when an oral assignment is due. You can also request office hours outside of these times with any staff member.


All assignments will be posted to the website by the end of the first week of class. This course can be a lot of work for some so plan ahead. If you spend much more than the provided estimated completion times (based on student feedback) for each assignment, then you may not be working efficiently.

Note: some assignments have a single due date for everyone in the class, while others have multiple due dates (of which one will be yours). For the former, any online submissions are due by 11:59pm of the date listed and the website will levy a late penalty of 0.3 points/day late (except for the Final Self Assessment, which has a strict deadline and will not be accepted late). The latter are for talks that you'll give in recitation - your due date depends on which day your talk is scheduled. Slides should be uploaded before your presentation occurs; failure to upload will result in a penalty. We suggest that you finish and upload your slides the night before so that you have a chance to practice and sleep before your presentation. You can always submit revised slides before giving your presentation.

Attendance Policy

The course consists of a series of lectures, workshops and recitations. In lecture, we go over logistics and expectations for each assignment. In workshops, you work on various oral presentation skills. And in the recitation, you reinforce your skills and give your oral presentations. Unlike technical classes, you cannot simply learn the material from reading a textbook and completing the assignments alone. Furthermoe, 6.UAT is one of the few classes at MIT focused on your individual growth; time is carved out for you and that time is dedicated 100%. As such, attendance are especially important for a class of this nature and are taken seriously. Your attendance record is available online for you to check.

Lecture Attendance

Lecture attendance is mandatory and you are responsible for anything that was covered. The website will not be updated with everything that transpired during lecture; that is not its purpose. However, you are allowed two lecture absences during the semester without penalty. These absences can be for any reason, legitimate or not (e.g. laziness, interview, illness, busyness, sleep, etc), but use your slack days wisely because lecture absences cannot be recovered. If you miss all of the initial lectures, intending to go to the last N-2 of them, and then for some reason miss one, you will be out of luck, so plan accordingly. If you find yourself out of slack days, an S3 note might waive half the penalty (determined on a case-by-case basis). It could waive the entire penalty if the S3 note is for an extenuating circumstance (e.g. hospitalization, death in the family, etc. but not interviews and too much work).

Workshop Attendance

Workshops are a way for you to take the initiative to customize your experience and explore topics that you want to work on or learn more about. Remember to follow sign in directions so that your attendance will be counted. You are required to attend any floor(N/2) of the N workshops offered this semester. For Spring 2019, N=5 and you can see when they are scheduled on the course calendar (look for W1-W5). Again, use your slack days wisely. If you miss all of the initial workshops, intending to go to the last floor(N/2), and then for some reason miss one, you will be out of luck, so plan accordingly. If you find yourself out of slack days, an S3 note might waive half the penalty (determined on a case-by-case basis). It could waive the entire penalty if the S3 note is for an extenuating circumstance (e.g. hospitalization, death in the family, etc. but not interviews and too much work).

Recitation Absences

Recitation attendance is mandatory, but you are allowed one unrecovered recitation(UR) absence without penalty.

Email your TA when you are absent - ideally beforehand if you know ahead of time. If you miss your own recitation section for any reason, your attendance record will show a UR (Unrecovered Recitation). You can recover the absence within two weeks (flipping this to an RR); however, note that at the end of the term, you'll have less than two weeks to recover recitations occurring during the last 2-3 weeks of the term because of the timing final grades meeting, which takes place before the last recitation, so plan accordingly. Consult the website for directions on how to recover a particular recitation.

Because recitations are recoverable, recitation absences cannot be excused by an S3 note. However, a timely S3 note is needed if you are proposing an extension to the 2 week recovery window, or if you have extenuating circumstances, and are proposing that we consider waiving recovery.

Keep in mind that the ability to recover a recitation is a courtesy and is not meant to be a substitute for attending class. Unrecovered recitation absences (>1) and excessive recovered recitations (>3) will both negatively affect your grade (see grading policy below).

If you miss a recitation during which you are supposed to present, in addition to incurring an RR, you will have to schedule a make-up. It is your responsibility to contact your RI/TA to arrange for one - the earlier your request, the more likely they can accommodate. If they can't, you will receive a 0 for the assignment. If they can, a rescheduling penalty of 0.3 will be levied (because you had the ability to choose your original presentation date - not getting your first choice because you were late or absence won't be accepted as a valid excuse).

If you do not notify staff ahead of time, and simply don't show up to a recitation in which you were expected to present, you will be penalized by 0.6 for your make-up talk.

In the end, if you do not do an assignment, or do not make it to your make-up, or your TA and RI are unable to accommodate the rescheduling of a make-up, you will receive a 0 for that assignment.

To summarize:

if (makeup cannot be rescheduled) { grade = 0; }
else {  // get grade from makeup, but calculate penalty
   if S3 note, penalty=0;  // for extenuating circumstances (again, not interviews nor too much work)
   else {
      if notice given,  penalty=-0.3;
      else { // if no notice given (i.e. no show the day of)
         if no-show was for make-up, penalty=-4.0 // i.e.grade=0
         else penalty=-0.6;

Grading Policy

Everyone has the potential to get an A in the course. Grades are determined based on the following weighting:

Video Assignments:
   Self-Intro		     5%  
Written Assignments:                               	
   VideoAssessment           1%  
   VideoAssessmentII	     1%
   Recovery Assessment       1%
Oral Assignments:						
   Previous Project Dryrun   10%
   Previous Project Revision 10% (aka Storyboarding)
   Intuition ByStatement     1%  
   Intuition Talk Dryrun     10%  
   Intuition Talk 	     20% 
   Chalk Talk 		     15%
   Proposal Talk Dryrun	     10%
   Proposal Talk	     15%
Online Final Assessment      1%  

Each item is graded from 0-4, where a 4 is an "A", a 3 is a "B", etc. (so the A/B border is 3.5) and there is a penalty for late work..

At the end of the term, a weighted raw score is computed based upon the scores you received on your assignments.

This weighted raw score is then adjusted to account for absences: -0.3 is deducted for each lecture absence beyond two; -0.3 is deducted for each missing workshop; -0.3 is deducted for each unrecovered recitation absence beyond one, and when there are too many recovered recitations (i.e. RR>3), -0.3-0.1(RR-4) is deducted (e.g. -0.3 if RR=4; -0.4 if RR=5, etc). Note that in some cases, a 0.3 deduction is enough for your final grade to drop by a letter.

Some factors that might positively or negatively affect your grade, mainly for borderline cases, include: answers to lecture attendance questions, participation, punctuality, responsibility, attitude, professional conduct, creativity and improvement.

All assignments must be completed to be eligible for an A (of any flavor) in the course.

Requests for individual assignment regrades should be submitted in writing to your RI/TA. State the nature of the complaint and why the grade awarded should be otherwise. Work will be re-evaluated in its entirety.

Email requests for final grade reconsideration to your RI (and cc by the end of finals week.

Your Feedback

This course is constantly being redesigned and improved. Your constructive input is an important part of this process. We will solicit feedback at the end of the course, but you are welcome to send us suggestions at anytime; if we can accommodate, we will , either in the current term or in future terms.