Targeted Communication Trainings to Foster Minority Students' Presentation Skills Conference

Elzomor, M, Santi, G, Pradhananga, P et al. (2021). Targeted Communication Trainings to Foster Minority Students' Presentation Skills .

cited authors

  • Elzomor, M; Santi, G; Pradhananga, P; Kayyali, M; Zhang, L


  • Education in the 20th century is not perceived as an objective for a restricted few, rather, it is the pillar of success that forms the primary backbone of our economy. Due to the rapid growth in economic structures and the globalized competitiveness of the market, the job industry is expected to raise the bar on our future workforce. Therefore, STEM students will require an academic career that develops and nurtures their professional skills far beyond technical skills, thus ensuring success in such competitive work environments. This is especially true for international, women, first-generation STEM students, and underrepresented minorities in STEM education, who must overcome additional barriers to succeed. To understand the current status, priorities and deficiencies in presentation skills, a benchmark survey was administered to 320 STEM students to understand their understandings of presentation skills. Afterward, a pilot study measured students' communication skills development in two construction management courses, by implementing a lecture-based communication skills training and analyzing students' improvement. Box plots with line plots were used to graphically represent the changes in descriptive statistics of pre and post-peer evaluation ratings for specific presentation evaluation criteria. Finally, to understand the influence of students' socio-demographic profiles, an ordered probit regression was conducted. Female and first-generation students expressed a deficiency of communication skills and may benefit greatly from innovative communication skills activities that can successfully foster students' growth. The results of this research emphasize the significance of developing minority students' presentation skills. The findings of this study also provide insights into a sustainable implementation of alternative learning pedagogies such as in-class training that integrate students' development skills in addition to technical contents.

publication date

  • January 24, 2021