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CCOG for COMM 112 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
COMM 112
Course Title:
Argumentation, Advocacy, and Debate
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Explores theories of persuasion. Examines argumentation in human interaction with an emphasis on how argumentation influences self, others, and community. Provides opportunities to develop skills of inquiry and advocacy through oral discourse, including critical analysis of reasoning and evidence. Investigates how argumentation, advocacy, and deliberation help communities in decision-making processes. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test score, and WR 121 or any writing course for which WR 121 is a prerequisite. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Identify types of arguments, forms of reasoning, types of persuasive appeals, and logical fallacies.
  2. Analyze the basic structure and parts of arguments, in both written and spoken contexts.
  3. Use various types of evidence to effectively ground claims.
  4. Employ advocacy to help center marginalized voices and experiences and to promote equity in society.
  5. Describe the ethical responsibilities of speakers and listeners.
  6. Use rhetorical strategies in order to engage with audiences of diverse perspectives.
  7. Demonstrate the ability to organize arguments into a larger persuasive case for presentation in a public discourse setting.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

Communication is essential to being human. Communication courses inherently provide a foundation for understanding human interaction. While all humans use some form of communication to navigate the societies in which we live, each culture has its own set of ethical and social communicative norms. This course examines these norms by teaching students how to organize and make meaning of their own and others’ experiences, and meet personal goals in a persuasive speaking setting.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Students will deliver at least three (3) formal oral instructor-graded presentations before an audience in the classroom. “Formal” means prepared, researched and 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.

A textbook is required. Approved texts are listed. Alternative texts need Department/SAC Chair approval.

Advocacy and Opposition: An Introduction to Argumentation, Rybacki & Rybacki, 7th ed., Allyn & Bacon

Argumentation in Everyday Life, Mehltretter Drury. SAGE Publications