Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
Course Title:
Public Speaking: Honors
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Honors version of COMM 111. Introduces speechmaking based primarily on a traditional public speaking approach. Covers classical rhetorical theory and highlights rhetoric's importance to public speaking. Develops theoretical understanding and practical application of oral communication skills. Includes techniques in controlling speech anxiety, how to structure and organize information to present to a variety of audiences, and physical and vocal delivery skills. GPA 3.25 minimum. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test score, and WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Use learned public speaking skills in order to present an effective and efficient message.
  2. Use an understanding of the 5 canons of rhetoric to create and present effective speeches
  3. Provide skills for community leadership through increased organizational and presentation of ideas.
  4. Make responsible decisions though the increased ability to critically examine ideas and information
  5. Use strategies and skills to manage communication anxiety.
  6. Use knowledge of digital presentation tools to create and present effective presentations.

Additional Honors Outcomes:

  1. Use learned rhetorical theory in order to critically interpret ideas, make ethical decisions, and examine current political and social issues.
  2. Analyze topics with increased depth and breadth in order to support presentations more substantially.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Students will deliver at least three (3) formal oral instructor-graded presentations before an audience in the classroom. €œFormal€ means prepared, researched, outlined, structured. This excludes such €œspeeches€ as self-introductions, €œmy favorite things€ €œmy least favorite things."
  • At a minimum, students must deliver one informative speech, one persuasive speech, and a group presentation or debate.
  • Students will critically analyze oral presentations and express understanding via written and/or oral formats.
  • Other forms of assessment may include:
    • Examinations
    • Essays
    • Journals
    • Research
    • Portfolios
    • In-class participation
    • Group projects
    • Peer evaluations
    • Self evaluations
    • Digital recording of student speeches
    • Service learning
    • Observations
    • Analysis of published speeches

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, and Issues:

  • Rhetorical theory & analysis
  • Creating the Public Speech (thesis, content, organization, outlining)
  • Speech purpose:  to inform, to persuade, to entertain
  • Modes of delivery: impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, memorized
  • Audience Analysis
  • Language Usage
  • Delivery
  • Active Listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication Anxiety
  • Use knowledge of digital presentation tools

Competencies and Skills:
I. Speakers
A. Determine the purpose of the speech as appropriate to the speaking context.
B. Choose a topic and restrict/narrow it according to the purpose, audience, and time constraints.
C. Formulate and use a proper thesis statement.
D. Provide adequate and credible supporting material that is appropriate based on the topic, audience setting and purpose. Demonstrate awareness of available types of support.
E. Select a suitable organizational pattern that is appropriate to the topic, audience, context, and purpose. Demonstrate awareness of alternative organizational patterns and their functions.
F. 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, syntax, and intelligible pronunciation. Demonstrate the effective use of appropriate technical
vocabulary, slang, idiomatic language, and regionalisms. Present speeches using an extemporaneous style.
G. Provide effective transitions that, establish connectedness, signal movement from one idea to another, and clarify relationships among ideas.
H. Employ vocal variety in rate, pitch, and intensity. Demonstrate vocal variety as suitable to the message, occasion, and audience.
I. Demonstrate appropriate nonverbal behavior that supports the verbal message.

J. Demonstrate effective use of digital presentation tools.

II. Listeners-
A. Attend with open minds.
B. Recognize and recall main ideas.
C. Identify supporting details.
D. Distinguish between emotional and logical arguments.
E. Examine whether asserted relationships exist between ideas.
F. Detect bias and prejudice- recognize and appreciate the effects of personal, ideological, and emotional biases on the message.
G. Synthesize and evaluate information by drawing logical inferences and conclusions.
H. Recognize discrepancies between the speaker€™s verbal and nonverbal messages.
I. Be an active participant during other student€™s speeches through being attentive and providing appropriate nonverbal feedback to the speaker.

III Leaders
A. Take an active role in contributing to discussion including sharing ideas, appropriately guiding discussion, and encouraging others to participate.
B. Help guide groups in fulfilling the group€™s goals.
C. Empower other group members.