Introduction to Speech Communication

Introduction to Speech Communication


Fall 2010
08/23/2010 - 12/12/2010

Course Information

Section 014
MW 17:40 - 19:00
NRG4 4201
Yvette Scott

Office Hours

No office hours have been entered for this term

Course Requirements

What kinds of assignments are required for this course?

Grades are not averaged. You accumulate points based on the following (also see attached grade sheet):

  • Attendance/class participation—See information above on attendance.


  • Key terms homework (14 chapters)—Students will define key terms from each chapter using the book or (for terms not in the text) the dictionary. Homework must be typed, numbered, and in the order given to receive credit. Each chapter’s key terms are worth 100 points.
  • Impromptu presentation—This activity demonstrates that personal narratives, examples, and comparisons can make vivid supporting materials.

This speech will be a one to two-and-a half minute speech to be delivered in an impromptu fashion (no advance preparation), with about 15 to 30 seconds of preparation time to plan what you are going to say from the time you choose your topic.

Students will draw two topics, choose one (put the other back), and then deliver a presentation based on the 4’s organization (signpost, state, support, summarize) or other organizational pattern.

  • Interview report (oral and written)—In this assignment, students will choose an individual who has a career in which they’d like to work, contact that individual to set up an interview, develop questions to ask the individual, interview the individual, and prepare a written report to turn in and a four to six minute oral report (summary) for the class.


  • Speech to inform—Students will a four-to-six minute presentation that informs fellow students about a topic with which classmates may be unfamiliar. Your instructor may provide examples of topics students have selected in previous classes. Your presentation should impart information and should not be constructed to persuade or entertain.


Purpose: to explain, analyze, review, summarize, clarify, or demonstrate. The emphasis is on NEW information for the audience.


  •  Speech to persuade—Students will give a four- to six- minute persuasive speech on a topic of their choice or one from a list that the instructor will provide. This presentation is timed. At six-and-a-half minutes, you must end your presentation.

    Purpose: to present points on one side of a controversial issue so that some of the audience will give them fair consideration


  • Group presentation—One graded in-class group project is scheduled for this class. Individual group members will be evaluated for their participation in the project and the group presentation as a whole will be evaluated. The final grade on this project will be the two grades added together. Because of the nature of this project, groups are guaranteed one time slot. There is no makeup for this assignment.

    The class will be divided into groups of no fewer than three and no more than five to six people, if possible, to discuss a problem-solution topic.

This assignment gives students an opportunity to demonstrate both their public speaking and group communication skills


  • Three in-class speech analyses—Students will be paired with other students from the class to give written peer evaluations of the interview project, speech to inform, and speech to persuade.


  • Two exams (includes final)



Understanding Human Communication by Ronald B. Adler/George Rodman, tenth edition. You may purchase the textbook at the ACC bookstore.

Course Subjects

Human Communication: What and Why--Communications is defined as a process and as symbolic. Linear and transactional models are discussed as is communication competence and what makes an effective communicator.

Perception, the Self, and Communication--Students will define self-concept, communication and the development of the self, self-fulfilling prophecies and perception.

Language--Which came first--language or thought? Students will discuss the nature and power of language, in particular troublesome language.

Listening--What is the difference between listening and hearing? Why is the skill of listening so important? Students will discuss ways to overcome challenges to effective listening, personal listening styles, informational listening, and critical listening (in preparation for evaluating speeched later).

Nonverbal Communication--What are the characteristics of nonverbal communication? How important is it? What are the influences and functions of nonverbal communication? Students will discuss these topics and look at types of nonverbal communication in preparation for their presentations.

Understanding Human Relationships/Improving Interpersonal Relationships--These two chapters will be discussed in conjunction with each other to help students understand why we form relationships and how we can improve them. An important part of the discussion will include self-disclosure in interpersonal relationships--the how, when, and why we disclose information to others. Last, we will discuss managing interpersonal conflict.

The Nature of Groups/Solving Problems in Groups--In preparation for the class group projects, we will discuss characteristics of a group, cultural influences, and leadership and pwoer in groups. Last, we will discuss approaches and stages in problem solving.

Choosing and Developing a Topic--To be successful in preparing presentations, students should choose topics early and topics that interest them. This topic will help students narrow their topic choices by emphasizing general purpose, specific purpose,theses, and propositions and their importance in making the topic one that other students will want to listen to.

Organization and Support--This chapter will emphasize structuring presentations, using transitions, and finding the right kinds of supporting material.

Presenting Your Message--Most people would rather do almost anything than get up in front of any audience to speak. This topic deals with stage fright, types of delivery, using presentation aids, and offering constructive criticism.

Informative Speaking--We'll talk about types of informative speaking, by content and purpose, the difference between informative and persuasive topics, and techniques of informative speaking in preparation for upcoming presentations.

Persuasive Speaking--Finally, the class will talk about the characteristics of persuasion, fallacies, and how to create a persuasive message.

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

Introduction to Speech Communication explores the theories and practice of speech communication behavior to promote communication competence in interpersonal, small group, and public speaking situations.

After working through the key terms, students will have common ground for classroom discussion.

Classroom activities are presented to reinforce what students have read in the text and make it meaningful.

Presentations, classroom disucssion, and other activities give students the opportunity to put  learned communication principles into practice and to improve.

Following are course objectives:

  • To understand the communication process and characteristics of competence
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of perception in communication
  • Recognize the power of language and adapt verbal messages appropriately
  • Evaluate listening habits and practice effective listening skills
  • Send and interpret nonverbal messages with accuracy and effectiveness
  • Understand the role of communication in interpersonal relationships
  • Recognize own conflict style & demonstrate effective conflict management
  • Contribute to effective group problem-solving and practice role flexibility
  • Use effective delivery style in informal or formal public speaking situations
  • Recognize the need to self-monitor personal communication competence
  • Develop skill in selecting and using a variety of communication strategies and responses based on situational contexts, goals, and human needs
  • To foster a better understanding of cultural and ethnic diversity