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COM 80 W — Designing Powerful Presentations: How to Make an Impression with Present-Day Audiences

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Oct 14—Nov 15
Drop Deadline: Oct 17
Unit: 1
Tuition: $365
Instructor(s): Jenny Hopf
Limit: 32
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is October 17th at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is October 22nd at 5:00 pm (PT).
Oct 14—Nov 15
5 weeks
Drop By
Oct 17
1 Unit
Jenny Hopf
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is October 17th at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is October 22nd at 5:00 pm (PT).
Research tells us that today’s audience increasingly relies on visuals, has a shorter attention span, and wants information delivery to be focused, efficient, relevant, and applicable. Presentations must also succeed in a face-to-face setting, a virtual webinar, or a combination of both. These developments call for an update to presentation techniques. Rather than defaulting to the slide templates and bullet lists of yesteryear, speakers must learn to harness the combined power of narrative structure and design in order to engage and influence their listeners.

In this hands-on course, you will learn research-based strategies to help you prepare, design, and deliver fresh, impactful presentations. You will learn messaging and outlining strategies used by the most compelling storytellers, and practice visual design principles that will resonate with your audience in both online and face-to-face settings. Through readings, videos, hands-on exercises, and group discussions, we will explore the complexities of how we learn, and discover how the use of color, typography, and space can play a critical role in helping audiences retain information. Students will have the option to deliver a short updated or new presentation, and receive instructor feedback. Students will leave the course with a reusable slide deck that can be adapted across any industry.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 32 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

Prerequisite: Students must have at least a basic understanding of how to create slides using presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, etc.).

Jenny Hopf, Director, Online and Professional Education, William James College

Jenny Hopf is an instructional designer and educational technologist who specializes in classroom-based and online training. She regularly consults on effective presentation design and delivery. She received an MEd in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen: Simple ideas on presentation design and delivery, 2nd Edition (ISBN 978-0321811981)
(Recommended) Nancy Duarte, Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Great Presentations, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-0596522346)
(Recommended) Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (ISBN 978-1594481710)