Course Content and Outcome Guide for COMM 112

Course Number:
COMM 112
Course Title:
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores theories of persuasion. Develops skills of inquiry and advocacy through oral discourse, including critical analysis and rules of evidence. Practice in using, planning, delivering and refuting persuasive arguments in a variety of extemporaneous formats. Through this course, students will learn how to more effectively influence others as well as how others are trying to influence them. Prerequisite: COMM 111 and its prerequisite requirements. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  1. Manage arguments through learned rhetorical strategies
  2. Actively engage in decision making by continuing to construct, articulate, and evaluate arguments
  3. Continue to use rhetorical strategies in order to engage with audiences of diverse perspectives
  4. Provide community leadership through refined organizational and presentational skills

October 2009

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, structured.
  • At least one of the required presentations will be delivered as an individual presentation and one in a debate format.
  •  Students will critically analyze and evaluate arguments in oral presentations and will demonstrate their understanding of rhetorical theory and strategies via written and/or oral formats
  • Other forms of assessment and evaluation may include:
    • Examinations
    • Essays
    • Journals
    •  Research papers
    •  Portfolios
    •  In-class participation
    • Group projects
    • Peer evaluations
    • Service learning
    • Observations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Theories of persuasion
  • Audience analysis and adaptation
  • Persuasive organizational patterns
  • Critical thinking: discovery of issues, investigation, analysis

Methods to develop arguments and supports

  • Rhetorical proofs (ethos, pathos, logos, mythos)
  • Effective language
  • Effective listening
  • Effective presentation and nonverbal factors
  • Ethical practices and responsible communication
  • Principles of motivation, including values, attitudes & beliefs
  • Logical fallacies
  • Different modes of presenting arguments (i.e., debate, panel discussion, platform presentations, impromptu speeches)


Competencies and Skills:

Students will:

  • Be able to choose ethical rhetorical communication behaviors appropriate to the audience and the situation.
  • Be able to identify concepts in the study of persuasion, argumentation, and debate.
  • Be able to identify a range of potentially effective persuasive and argumentative behaviors within a variety of communication settings.
  • Be able to effectively present oral presentations using appropriate rhetorical strategies.
  • Be able to conduct research and analyze the quality of their findings.
  • Be able to analyze controversies and determine the motives of actors within conflict situations, as well as the veracity of assertions.