Course Description:

In today’s society, it is necessary for educated people to be able to present and discuss information with individuals and groups of people. According to a survey conducted in 2006 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, communication skills, both written and verbal, ranked as the most important personal quality that employers seek in an employee. The ability to logically and clearly present one?s ideas is integral to success in almost any area of life.

Effective Oral Communication is a course designed to round out the triad of Critical Thinking and Effective Writing. The purpose of the Effective Oral Communication component of the Core curriculum at King’s College is to hone the speaking and presentational skills of each student. By the end of the course, students should be capable of delivering an effective speech relating to a specific topic, issue, or question from an academic discipline including subjects related to the Core curriculum and the student’s major field of study.

Well rounded students are both academically knowledgeable and aware of the community that surrounds them. As such, tenets of service learning have been added to the class as a means of fostering practical, real world experience in speaking to persons from different walks of life. The hours spent at the student’s site will be used as the background to bi-weekly extemporaneous speaking opportunities, a group presentation, and a persuasive speech.

Course Objectives:

This course will focus on the basic and necessary skills fundamental to oral communication. To complete such an end, this class is designed as a dialogue and lecture laboratory. From the first day of the class, students are expected to begin their journey into better communication skills in an effort to reach the following goals.

Student will be able to:

  • State clearly and effectively the thesis of a presentation.
  • Clearly and logically present their ideas.
  • Accurately show knowledge of content.
  • Display awareness of implications drawn from the information presented.
  • Be proficient in concluding the presentation in an appropriate manner.
  • Present oneself in a poised manner that displays credibility and professionalism.
  • Listen and evaluate the content and delivery of speeches with perception and composure.

Course Assignments:

The course assignments are listed below.

  • Extemporaneous Speeches:
    1. Speeches to Introduce
    2. Literary Excepts
    3. Ceremonial Speech
    4. Service Site Experiences
    5. Speeches to Entertain
    6. Speech to Demonstrate
    7. Speech to Inform
    8. Speeches to Persuade
  • Outlines of Demonstrative, Informative, and two Persuasive speeches
  • Reflection Paper
  • Reading of assigned text
  • Peer evaluation of speeches
  • Journaling exercises about service-learning experience

Course Expectations:

  1. Attendance: Attendance is required. Due to the nature of this class, attendance is of the utmost importance. In order to successfully deliver a speech, there must be both a speaker and a listener. Your presence in class will assist you and your classmates to develop and improve listening skills through audience feedback. Therefore, it is imperative that students are vigilant about attending class. This being said, absences can happen for unavoidable reasons. Therefore, a total of three “free” exceptions will be made. Beyond the aforementioned three absences, a total of four points for each absence will be deducted from your total score. In cases of absence, the absent student will be solely responsible for missed information and assignments. Coming to class late or leaving early will be counted as an absence for the entire class period, unless previously discussed with the instructor.
  2. Service Component: All students will be required to complete 12 hours of community service as part of a service-learning component to this class. The service site must be visited a minimum of four times throughout the course of the semester. Experience at the student’s service site will be incorporated into a group PowerPoint presentation, a mini-persuasive speech, a personal journal, bi-weekly extemporaneous speaking opportunities, and a 3-4 page reflection paper. Sites will be chosen by the student, with the instructor’s approval. Sites must be determined, placed in writing, and accepted by the instructor no later than Friday, January 25, 2008. Reflection papers are due no later than the Monday of finals week.
  3. Required Text: “A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking,” D. O’Hair, H. Rubstein and R. Stewart; Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s 2004.
  4. Classroom Participation: Students are expected to come to classes prepared by having read the assigned text and being able to answer questions and discuss the material contained in the assigned readings. Each student is required to give an evaluation of each speech given, noting strengths and weaknesses of each presentation. Participation includes, but is not limited to, paying attention to both the instructor and fellow classmates, coming to class on time, and voluntarily answering questions. It is expected that all students will refrain from disruptive behavior during other students’ presentations and from talking to fellow classmates during class. Active participation is extremely important and each student’s grade is heavily influenced by his/her participation or lack thereof.
  5. Appearance: Presentable dress and attire are necessary for making a good first impression. This principle also applies to public speaking. Clean, neat attire is required for all public speaking opportunities. Two points will be deducted for each of the following items: hoody sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, t-shirts, or shorts. Jeans, without rips, are allowed for first nine speeches. However, points will be deducted for jeans worn during the final exam (persuasive speech). Professional dress is expected for the final (i.e. – khakis, dress shirt, black pants, etc.).
  6. Students with documented disabilities who may need academic accommodations should discuss these with the instructor during the first two weeks of the semester. Students will need to provide documentation of their disability to the Director of the Academic Skills Center, who in turn will provide faculty with the necessary Classroom Accommodation Form(s). Students will not be accommodated for testing or services if they have not made the necessary contacts within this two week time frame. Only extenuating circumstances as determined by the Director of the Academic Skills Center will be accommodated. The Director of the Academic Skills Center is Mrs. Jacinatha Burke, who can be contacted at (570) 208-5800 or

Course Evaluation:

a. Class attendance/ participation 50 points
Four points will be deducted from your total participation score for each absence (See stipulations under Attendance).  
b. Speeches (#s 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, &9- 12 points each) 72 points
c. Community Service, Reflection Paper, and related activities 33 points
d. Outlines for Demonstration, Informative and two Persuasive Speeches (5 points each) 20 points
e. Final Exam (Persuasive Speech, #10) 25 points
Total: 200 points

Tentative Course Outline