Public Speaking

Course Number: COMM 111
Transcript Title: Public Speaking
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 6, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


WR 121; MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Introduces speechmaking based on a traditional public speaking approach. Aids students in developing theoretical understanding and practical application of oral communication skills. Includes techniques for controlling speech anxiety, how to organize information to present to a variety of audiences, and physical and vocal delivery skills. Prerequisites: WR 121; and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Outline and organize oral messages for delivery before a group or live audience.
  2. Critically examine and evaluate ideas and information in order to formulate a clear and effective message.
  3. Analyze diverse audiences; develop appropriate and respectful messages for each.
  4. Apply strategies and skills to develop confidence and manage communication anxiety when speaking in groups or in public.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)

Not Addressed

5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. Present three oral presentations (prepared, researched, structured) in front of a live audience in the classroom. Minimum one informative speech, minimum one persuasive speech.
  2. Critically analyze oral presentations and express understanding via written and/or oral formats.
  3. Research selected and appropriate topic, correctly citing credible outside sources.
  4. Prepare formally written Outline containing Introduction, Body (Main Points) and Conclusion.


Course Activities and Design

  • Weekly readings from course textbook and chapter quizzes.
  • In-class activities to assist in minimizing fear and anxiety.
  • In-class discussion of relevant concepts and practice in public speaking.
  • Oral presentation of individual speeches.
  • Observation and evaluation of public speaker outside of class or online.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues

  • Rhetorical theory and analysis
  • Creating the Public Speech
    • (Thesis, content, organization, outlining)
  • Different types of speeches
    • (Informative, persuasive, impromptu speaking, etc.)
  • Audience Analysis
  • Language Usage
  • Delivery
  • Active Listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication Anxiety

Competencies and Skills

  1. Speakers:
    1. Determine the purpose of the speech as appropriate to the speaking context.
    2. Choose a topic and restrict/narrow it according to the purpose, audience, and time constraints.
    3. Formulate and use a proper thesis statement.
    4. Provide adequate and credible supporting material that is appropriate based on the topic, audience setting and purpose. Demonstrate awareness of available types of support.
    5. Select a suitable organizational pattern that is appropriate to the topic, audience, context, and purpose. Demonstrate awareness of alternative organizational patterns and their functions.
    6. Demonstrate careful choice of words. Select words appropriate to the topic, audience, purpose, context, and speaker, while avoiding words that express prejudice. Demonstrate appropriate grammar and intelligible pronunciation. Demonstrate the effective use of appropriate technical vocabularies, slang, idiomatic language, and regionalisms. Present speeches using an extemporaneous style.
    7. Provide effective transitions that, establish connectedness, signal movement from one idea to another, and clarify relationships among ideas.
    8. Employ vocal variety in rate, pitch, and intensity. Demonstrate vocal variety as suitable to the message, occasion, and audience.
    9. Demonstrate appropriate nonverbal behavior that supports the verbal message.
  2. Listeners:
    1. Attend with open minds.
    2. Recognize and recall main ideas.
    3. Identify supporting details.
    4. Distinguish between emotional and logical arguments.
    5. Examine whether asserted relationships exist between ideas.
    6. Detect bias and prejudice - recognize and appreciate the effects of personal, ideological, and emotional biases on the message.
    7. Synthesize and evaluate information by drawing logical inferences and conclusions.
    8. Recognize discrepancies between the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages.
    9. Be an active participant during other student’s speeches through being attentive and providing appropriate nonverbal feedback to the speaker.