COM 210       Speech Communication

Spring 2011

Dr. Janellen Hill   Loyola 30  303-458-4969

Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Thursdays 3:15 – 5:00 p.m.


Course Description

This course explores the elements and process of communication.  It focuses on training and preparing for public speaking and group communication settings.  The goals of the course fall into two different areas:  to prepare students for communication settings in which they will participate, and to understand and evaluate communication in various contexts in our lives. 


Course Objectives

·         To develop the ability to recognize and learn from the communication behaviors of yourself and others.

·         To develop an ability to organize your thoughts logically and with clarity.

·         To practice skills for effective listening and for effective spoken presentation.

·         To encourage active and informed critical thought regarding how people communicate in a variety of settings.

·         To encourage responsible participation in public discourse about significant contemporary issues.


Course Text

O’Hair, D., Stewart, R., and Rubenstein, H. (2010).  Speaker’s Guidebook.  New York:  Bedford/St. Martin’s.


Course Requirements

·         Presentations:  You will give three individual presentations in class:  a speech of introduction, an informative speech, and a persuasive speech.   You will also participate in a Group Speech Presentation. Instructions for these presentations are included at the end of the syllabus.

·         Group Text Presentation:  You will participate in the presentation of selected text content in a presentation to the class.  This project includes a typed, detailed written outline distributed to all class members.

·         Written critiques/analyses:  It is important that you become aware observers of communication, not just competent speakers.  You will evaluate in-class speakers and write a self-critique of your speaking progress throughout the class. You will also attend an “out of class” lecture presentation and complete a written critique of the speaker’s effectiveness.  Instructions for writing assignments are included at the end of the syllabus. 

·         Quizzes:  There will be two short quizzes.  These will be scheduled one week in advance.

·         Participation: Asking relevant questions, making meaningful comments, reflecting on class assignments, and taking an active role in class discussion.


Grading Criteria


·         Self-Intro speech                                                           10 points

·         Informative speech                                                        15 points

·         Persuasive speech                                                        15 points


·         Self critique                                                                     10 points

·         Out of class speaker critique                                       10 points

Group Presentations:

·         Text material                                                                   10 points

·         Original Group  Presentation                                       10 points


·         Quizzes                                                                           10 points

·         In class-speaker critiques, and participation             10 points


Grades will be assigned as follows:

         100- 90 points   ..........A

             89 - 80 points ..........B

             79 - 70 points ..........C

 69 - 60 points ..........D


Course policies

·         Any student who misses more than four class sessions will earn a failing grade.

·         Late papers/presentations will lose 10% for each calendar day late.

·         You will not necessarily have an opportunity to make-up a missed speech.  This will depend upon the available time.  Please, don’t count on it.

·         No make-up quizzes.

·         Please, no competing audio-visual technology in class.


Course Schedule

Week One                 January 18, 20

Introduction to course.

Begin reading Sections 1-13


Week Two                January 25, 27

Public speaking basics; Audience analysis and topic selection;

Finding and building support for your speech; Organizing and Outlining.

Group Text Presentations:  Sections 1-7 Tuesday

Sections 8-13 Thursday

Read: Sections 1-13


Week Three                         February 1, 3

Self Intro speech presentations

Begin reading Sections 14-22


Week Four                February 8, 10 

Introductions, conclusions and language; Vocal and nonverbal delivery

Presentational Aids

Group Text Presentations:  Sections 14-16 Tuesday

Sections 17-22 Thursday

Read:  Sections 14-22


Week Five                 February 15, 17 

Informative Speaking

Group Text Presentation:  Section 23 Tuesday

Research Informative Speech topic on Thursday

Read:  Section 23


Week Six                   February 22, 24 

Rehearse Informative speech presentation on Tuesday

Informative Speech Presentations begin Thursday


Week Seven             March 1, 3 

Informative Speech Presentations continue

Read:   Sections 24-29


Week Eight               March 8, 10    Spring Break


Week Nine                March 15, 17 

Persuasive Speaking; Communicating in Groups

Assignment to groups for Group Presentations.

Read:  Sections 24-29


Week Ten                 March 22, 24

Preparation for Persuasive speech presentations.


Week Eleven            March 29, 31 

Persuasive Speech Presentations


Week Twelve           April 5, 7 

Persuasive Speech Presentations


Week Thirteen         April 12, 14 

Class time spent in groups.

Due Tuesday, April 12:  Out of class speaker critique 


Week Fourteen       April 19, 21 

Group Presentations



Week Fifteen            April 26, 28 

Group Presentations

Due:  Thursday, April 8:  Self-critique



Speech #1 – Self-Introductory Speech

Topic: A Pivotal Time

5-6 minutes

Share with your audience a pivotal moment in your life that somehow changed you and the way you see the world. The main purpose of this speech is to introduce yourself to your audience and familiarize you with the process of public speaking. Consider this your opportunity to celebrate with your classmates a time of great importance in your life. Perhaps it was your high school graduation, or when your grandmother died, or the birth of a sibling. This time can be either positive or negative but regardless, it should have somehow influenced the person you are now. 

The speech must have a discernable introduction, body and conclusion.  The body of your speech should contain two mutually exclusive main points—the pivotal moment and how it affected you from that point forward.


Speech #2--Informative speech

6-8 minutes

Pick a topic of interest to you, one that you think will also be of interest to your audience.  While it is not essential to discuss a topic completely foreign to your audience, a topic about which everyone is already greatly informed may not be as interesting. 

You will need to research your topic. Your goal is to provide relevant and important information about your topic.

You are required to cite a minimum of 4 sources in the body of this speech. You will also turn in a typed, complete-sentence outline (with bibliography) of the speech on your assigned speaking day.


Speech #3--Persuasive Speech

8-10 minutes

The purpose of this speech is to persuade your audience of the importance of a fact, value, or policy. Furthermore, you will ask your audience to change or reinforce their thoughts, feelings or actions in relation to your specific purpose or goal. This speech is a call to action, meaning that each of you will ask your audience to do something to aid in the resolve of the problem/issue. This could be anything from asking the audience to examine the issue in more detail to contacting her/his senator in support or opposition to a proposed bill to donating to a certain charity to honoring the US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan or participating in a protest rally/march.

Specific criteria include:


Group Text Presentation

You will participate in the presentation of selected text content in a presentation to the class.  This project includes a typed, detailed written outline distributed to all class members. This presentation should include an interactive activity with the class.


Group Speech Presentation

15-20 minutes

Select an issue of interest to your group members and the class in general. 

Each member of your team will present a different speech on a single topic.  Establish a consistent presentation format to ensure consistency in delivery.

Required Components:



Outside speaker critique

            Attend a speaker in a nonclassroom setting.  Evaluate the presentation, synthesizing your own experiences, ideas and observations as well as material from your readings and lectures.

3-4 pages in length


Self-critique of speech presentations

            Once you have given your three individual speech presentations and your group presentations, you will write an analysis of your performance and improvement over the semester.  You should summarize how you felt about the success of each speech, both in terms of preparation and the actual presentation. What went well?  What could have been better?  What changes would you make if you did the speech over?  What skills do you think you improved?  How is your confidence level as a result of the class?

4-5 pages in length