Department of Theater, Speech, & the Arts


Master Syllabus

Course Description:

CORE 115 introduces students to the functions and modes of oral presentation, as well as many practical strategies with which to execute it.  It requires students to plan, prepare, practice and perform various types of public messages that provide them with invaluable experience in developing ideas thoroughly and communicating them effectively.  An electronic portfolio is kept of each student's performances to document evolving skills development.  Emphasis is given to help students execute informative and persuasive presentations that are clearly focused, well organized, substantially supported, effectively worded, and confidently delivered.  Varied contemporary presentation aids will be addressed.  The aim is to help students develop their abilities to express their thoughts, beliefs and experiences in an intelligent and affecting manner, as well as to help them gain confidence in themselves as they do so.  Students will also engage in the critique and analysis of the messages of others.  Attention is given to interpersonal & group communication class experiences as well. 


Educated citizens should at the very least be able to read, write, listen, think and speak in a competent and effective manner.  Along side The Liberal Arts Seminar” and “Effective Writing”, Effective Oral Communication” completes a battery of courses designed expressly to develop such competencies.  This fundamental course work will provide a basis for your personal, social, and professional growth.

… For we all harbor an innate need to express our “selves” … To share with others who we are, where we are, and why we are … and why we think and feel and do what we think and feel and do … To the extent that we are able to do so openly and effectively, we learn about each other, about our very selves, and about the realities that swirl about us …

This course will help you to develop your individual abilities to communicate with other human beings clearly, effectively, powerfully.  To this end you will experiment with techniques and strategies for celebrating engaging ideas, conveying information efficiently, arguing persuasively, and analyzing messages thoroughly. 


And always very much at the very heart of the matter, this course provides a place for students beginning their career here at King’s to come “to discover and develop their own unique voice” as adults, as citizens, as expressive professionals. 




To foster an understanding of and gain experience in;


I              the pragmatics of both informative & persuasive public message-making.

II.            articulating and developing well defined message purposes.

III.          the generation of ideas for message development.

IV.          the breakdown, organization, and design of messages for presentation.

V.            validating ideas with substantive support.

VI.          enhancing messages with varied presentation aids.

VII.         effectively linking up & transitioning through ideas of message. 

VIII.       the formative nature of linguistic choice.

IX.          embodying ideas through verbal & nonverbal delivery.

X.            growing a sense of poise & confidence in one’s own expressive potential.

XI.          analyzing and evaluating messages presented by others.

XII.         participating in one-to-one & group communication experiences.




To help students identify, articulate, and foster skills development in;


A.            systematic procedures with which to inform, persuade, & evoke.

B.            well defined goal declarations.

C.            the topical relationships within message content development.

D.            various format design patterns with which to structure and organize ideas.

E.            the functions and effects of varied support materials.

F.             the functions and effects of varied electronic presentation aids.

G.            transitional phrasing with which to link and blend ideas of message together.

H.            the qualities of verbal choice that put word to idea.

I.             the verbal & nonverbal components of extemporaneous delivery skills.

J.             strategies to manage performance anxiety and grow performance confidence.

K.            criteria for evaluating and critiquing messages from others.

L.            the parameters of one-to-one & group communication experiences.


General Learning Outcomes:


To promote the following liberal arts learning outcomes;


1.             understanding the nature, foundations & contexts of face-to-face communication.

2.             understanding the nature & foundations of public speaking.

3.             managing performance anxiety.

4.             honing listening skills.

5.             adapting messages to audiences.

6.             selecting & researching topics.

7.             supporting messages.

8.             structuring messages.

9.             outlining messages.

10.          choosing appropriate wording for messages.

11.          delivering messages effectively.

12.          developing informative & persuasive messages.


Optional List of Course Requirements:


a.             Ice-Breaker/Self-or-Other-Introductory Exercise                         

b.             Impromptu Presentation Exercise

c.             Interpersonal Communication Exercise

d.             Dramatic Interpretation Exercise

e.             Ceremonial Presentation

f.             Demonstration Presentation             

g.             Narrative Presentation                       

h.             PowerPoint Presentation   

i.              Informative Report                                                                            

j.              Group Presentation - Informative

k.             Individual Informative Presentation

l.              Group Presentation - Persuasive

m.           Individual Persuasive Presentation

n.             Performance Outline Submission

o.             Speech Performance Analysis                         

p.             Quizzes on Speech Communication Theory &/or Strategies &/or Practices                           

q.      Tests on Speech Communication Theory &/or Strategies &/or Practices                                                               


Means of Assessment:


1.           A self-or-other-introductory speech to assess initial confidence levels, grasp of basic idea development and structure, verbal skills, delivery skills, and poise.

2.             At least five formal presentations (which may include a more elaborate introductory presentation) of varying lengths, purposes and requirements that progressively gauge the students’ abilities to plan, prepare, and present messages with clearly defined purposes, substantive idea development and linkage, effective design structures, appropriate word choice, competent delivery skills, and a poised performance presence.

3.             Optional quizzes to hold students accountable for reading assignments &/or class notes on speech theory, strategies and practices.

4.             Optional tests to hold students accountable for reading assignments &/or class notes on speech theory, strategies and practices.

5.             Analysis and evaluation of observed speech performance of classmates, &/or of other students in other speech classes, &/or of other presenters on and off campus, &/or of mediated messages.

6.             Performance outlines that document in text the student’s efforts to plan, prepare and effectively execute the varying messages assigned throughout the semester.

7.             A personal electronic portfolio (which students take with them at semester’s end) that  documents the student’s progressive skills development in the execution of varying messages assigned throughout the semester.


Academic Integrity:


Instructors should include within their syllabus document pointed reference to the official college Academic Integrity Policy, and its attending protocols, as published in the STUDENT HANDBOOK.  Some statement as indicated below would suffice;

Please refer to the STUDENT HANDBOOK regarding the college’s “Academic Integrity Policy.”  You will be held responsible for upholding it in this class at all times.  Cheating, plagiarizing - or any act that represents as your own work that is not - or that otherwise diminishes the integrity of the educational process in this class will not be tolerated.  For more information, see;  URL: <> and URL: <>.



Course Alignment:


 In preparation for implementation of the New Core, the team agreed to collectively and individually; a) address at least three of the five (please see below) conventional communication contexts (interpersonal comm learning experiences & group comm learning experiences and public comm learning experiences) in some way, shape or form, b)  cover both informative and persuasive message-making, in some way shape or form, and c) address various performance aids, including conventional electronic display aids … though the actual nature of specific (graded &/or non-graded) performance exercises & assignments - the individual preparation for and the public execution thereof - may vary from one course section to another, as each instructor finds his or her own creative ways to meet the expectations of the various course requirements.             


Note: Text Book selection should also reflect such considerations, whether that means considering the use of more than but one text, choosing a more broadened hybrid text of some sort, or supplementing primary texts with personal lecture notes and handouts.






I.             Public Communication:*****


(The basic instruction of which we have all been doing as very best as we can all along, here itemized as “Roman Numeral I.,” given its primary emphasis within the course.)


II.            InterPersonal Communication (“Conversing/relating to” another person):

ü  one to one dialogue

ü  rotating roles of speaker & listener

ü  art of conversation

ü  mutual interaction


¨       Test

¨       Paper

¨       Mutual introduction exercise

¨       Formal dialogue/conversation exercise

¨       Paired interpersonal skill set exercises

¨       Critique of interpersonal interaction

¨       Creative presentation on interpersonal concepts

¨       Paired research

¨       Formal interview

¨       Speech on interpersonal concepts


III.          Group Communication (Small group “collaborating on” a specific communication task) :

ü  three to twelve people in collaboration

ü  focused on a specific task

ü  collaborating within a specific time frame

ü  establishing, or rotating group roles & responsibilities


¨       Test

¨       Paper

¨       Group exercises

¨       Group project planning & outlining

¨       Group research

¨       Group presentation/project

¨       Critique of group project/presentation




IV.          IntraPersonal Communication (Internal reflection on the symbolic process, or “self-talk”):

ü  one to self talk

ü  internal dialogue

ü  internal construction of meaning

ü  symbolic self-reflection


¨       Test

¨       Paper

¨       Self-reflective/expressive speech

¨       Self-reflective creative presentation

¨       Creative presentation on intrapersonal concepts

¨       Speech on intrapersonal concepts


V.            Mass Communication (Techno- mediated messages to audiences separated by time &  space):

ü  Collaborative message making & distribution

ü  Huge & spatially/temporally separated audience

ü  Technologically produced & mediated messages

ü  Delayed feedback mechanisms


¨       Test

¨       Paper

¨       Creative media performance

¨       Critique of mass comm product/performance

¨       Speech on mass comm concepts



Partial List of Possible Text Options:


Adler, R. B., and G. Rodman. (2005)  Understanding Human Communication.  9th Edition.

                New York:  Oxford University Press.


Devito, Joseph. (2006)  The Essential Elements of Public Speaking.  2nd Edition.

                Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.


Grice, George L., and John F. Skinner. (1999)  Mastering Public Speaking.  3rd Edition.

                Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.


Hybels, S., and R.L. Weaver II. (2001)  Communicating Effectively.  6th Edition.

                New York:  McGraw-Hill.


O’Hair, D., Stewart, R., and H. Rubenstein. (2004)   A Speaker’s Guidebook.  2nd  Edition.

Boston:  Bedford/St. Martin’s.


Osborn, Michael and Suzanne Osborn.  (2007)  Public Speaking.  8th Edition.

                Boston & New York:  Houghton Mifflin Company.


Lucas, Steven E.  (2004)  The Art of Public Speaking.  8th Edition.

                New York:  Random House.    


Verderber, R. F. and K.S. Verderber. (2002)  Communicate!  10th Edition.

                Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.


Wood, Julia T.  (2003)  Communication in Our Lives.  3rd Edition.

                Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.


Zarefsky, David.  (2002)  Public Speaking: Strategies for Success.  3rd Edition.

                Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.



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