COMM 1100: Fundamentals of Public Speaking

Effective Date of this Description/Syllabus: Spring 2000

Prepared by: Dr. Rhonda Wilcox

Prerequisite: None

Credit hours: 3

Description in catalog: An introduction to the basic principles of public speaking, including informative, persuasive, and commemorative speaking, preparation and presentations of speeches, and critical analysis.

Course objectives: Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of effective public speaking. This will include basic principles of self-presentation in everyday life as well as formal presentation in front of large and small groups. It will cover such skill areas as topic selection, research, audience appraisal, outlines, diction, visual aids, and delivery. Informative and persuasive speech skills will be emphasized. Students completing the class will be expected to effectively demonstrate the use of supporting materials and organizational strategies in the development of their speeches.

The course thus addresses the college's expected outcomes for general education in communication skills and analytical and critical thinking skills.

Required text: Lucas, Stephen E. The Art of Public Speaking. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

You may also be assigned other readings (e.g. handouts or library work).

Plagiarism: Any work presented as your own original thinking which is determined to have been copied from another source, published or not, will be given an F. You may be subject to other penalties as established by the administration of the college.

Final Examination: The final exam for this course is scheduled for: Wed., May 3, 9-11. You must take the exam as scheduled. Any exceptions must be approved by the Dean of the Faculty.

Grading Criteria

I. Speeches:

A. Introductory Speech--3 minutes. Although not graded, this speech must be completed before student is allowed to go on to other speech assignments.

B. Informative Speech (100 pts) with outline (50 pts) due one class period before scheduled delivery. (5-6 minutes)

C. Persuasive Speech (100 pts) with outline (100 pts) due one class period before scheduled delivery. (5-7 minutes)

D. Commemorative Speech (50 pts) (2-4 minutes)

E. Final Speech (200 pts) with outline (100 pts) due one class period before scheduled delivery (5-7 minutes)

Outlines must be submitted at least one day before your speech is due. If you do not have your outline completed, you must give the speech late. Late speeches will be docked five points for each class period that passes.

Three note cards (ONLY!) are allowed per speech. They must conform to specifications for a speaking outline. We will be discussing this in class. If they do not meet specifications, you will be docked five points from your overall speech grade.

You must use a visual aid with your final speech. Failure to do so will mean a 25-point deduction from your overall score on the final speech.

II. Tests (150 pts: 75 per test)

There will be two major tests (as well as a final exam) over assigned materials. Make-up tests will be given the following week during my office hours. You must make up the quiz within one week. If you cannot come during office hours, you are responsible for scheduling another time. It is in your own best interest to make the test up as soon as possible.

III. Final Exam (150 pts)

There will be a written final examination. Students are responsible for all assigned readings, lectures, and any other assigned material.

If you miss a class period scheduled for speeches--your own or your classmates'--you will be docked five points on the relevant speech unless you can document an excuse. Being sick enough to go to the doctor, a death in the family, and auto accidents constitute excused absences. Speeding tickets, broken alarm clocks, hangovers, taking friends or relatives to the airport, etc., do not. You must document your excuses, even if that means bringing in an obituary. Those of you who are involved in legitimate Gordon-sponsored sports or choral activities will be excused from class, but any assignments due must be handed in on time.

Notice Athletes, Chorus members, etc.: We will determine the rotation for speeches by drawing numbers. It is your responsibility to notify me and to find someone to trade with you if you draw a day on which you must be absent.

If you need to contact me, you may do so through my office, through the Gordon switchboard, or through email: In an emergency, you may call me at home:404-373-5328.

What you find when you add up all the above points is a total of 1000 points possible. Grades will be assigned as follows:

900-1000 = A

800-899 = B

700-799 = C

600-699 = D

When there is a narrow margin--for example you have 895 points--then I will consider your class participation, the improvement you have shown over the quarter, your overall conscientiousness, etc. If you have been supportive of your fellow students and our learning process, if you have attended faithfully and done the required work, then I have evidence to suggest that you may have absorbed more than the numbers show. If you have not behaved in such a fashion, then the numbers stand just as they are.

If you keep track of your grades, you will have a clear idea of what grade you will receive. I will make final exam grades available to you if you provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. I will not give out grades over the phone. It is Gordon policy not to publish grades before you receive your grade slip.

Please note: This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor's discretion.

N.B.: This syllabus is based in part on that of Dr. Jeanne Beckwith.

Tentative Schedule
Week Activity Reading
1, 1/10-14 Introduction, overview Ch. 1
2, 1/17-21 Speech anxiety; listening; introductions and conclusions Ch. 3, 9
3, 1/24-28 Introductory speeches; ethics; topic selection Ch. 2, 4
4, 1/31-2/4 Organization; outlining Ch. 8, 10
5, 2/7-11 TEST ONE

Planning the informative speech

Ch. 1-4, 8-10

Ch. 14

6, 2/14-18 Informative Speeches ---
7, 2/21-25 Gathering materials; library tour Ch. 6
8, 2/28-3/3 Supporting your ideas; audiences Ch. 7, 5
9, 3/6-10 Persuasion: theory and technique Ch. 15, 16
10, 3/13-17 TEST TWO

Using language

Ch. 5-7, 14-16

Ch. 11

11, 3/20-24 Persuasive Speeches ---
12, 3/27-31 Delivery; special occasion speeches Ch. 12, 17
--- 4/3-7 SPRING BREAK ---
13, 4/10-14 Commemorative Speeches ---
14, 4/17-21 Visual Aids; review Ch. 13
15, 4/24-28 Final Speeches ---
16, 5/1-5 Final Speeches, continued;

Final Exam