Syllabus for

Syllabus for
COM 131
3 Credit Hours
Rose Beilman
Pratt High School
Office Phone: (620) 672-4540
Home Phone: 620-546-2449
Email: [email protected]
Speech For Effective Communication
By Rudolph F. Verderber
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston
ISBN: 0-03052023-1
Department of Arts and Communication
Pratt Community College
Pratt, KS
Fall 2011
Speech Communication, COM 131, 3 credit hours.
Speech Communication covers the basic principles of communication theory and oral
communication skills at the interpersonal, small group, and public levels. Students will learn how
to prepare and present several speeches: special occasion, informative, demonstration,
persuasive, and impromptu speeches. Students will prepare a major project on interpersonal
communication and work on small group projects. This course fulfils the PCC speech
requirement. Students should consult their transfer catalogues to see if this will also meet the
requirement of the transfer university or to see if they will need to take COM 276 instead.
Department of Arts and Communication, Communication
This course is a requirement for the following degrees: Associate of Science, Associate of Arts,
Associate of Applied Science, Associate of General Studies. Any student is strongly advised to
take this course since it is applicable to all areas of study.
Verderber, Rudolph. Speech for Effective Communication. 2nd Edition. Austin: Holt, Rinehart,
Winston, 1999.
Students will be responsible for additional readings, hand-outs, and research
as assigned.
Pratt Community College Speech Communication and Public Speaking classes, in keeping with
the basic course in communication at all Kansas state universities and community colleges, follow
the outcomes which have been developed by the National Communication Association. The
following student outcomes represent some of the expectations for students taking a basic
communication course and/or participating in the general education requirements. Basic course
or general education students need speaking and listening skills that will help them succeed in
future courses and on the job. They need to be able to construct and deliver messages and listen
with literal and critical comprehension. The basic course can provide knowledge of effective
communication techniques, an arena for developing and practicing skills, and positive feelings
about communicating in the future.
Speaking Competencies:
Speaking is the process of transmitting ideas and information orally in a variety of situations.
Effective oral communication involves generating messages and delivering them with attention to
vocal variety, articulation, and nonverbal signals.
In order to be a competent speaker, a person must be able to compose a message and provide
ideas and information suitable to the topic, the purpose, and the audience. Specifically, the
competent speaker should exhibit the following competencies:
A. Determine the purpose of oral discourse.
B. Choose a topic and restrict it according to the purpose and the audience.
C. Fulfill the purpose by:
1. Formulating a thesis statement.
2. Providing adequate support material.
3. Selecting a suitable organizational pattern.
4. Demonstrating careful choice of words.
5. Providing effective transitions.
D. Employ vocal variety in rate, pitch, and intensity.
E. Articulate clearly.
F. Employ language appropriate to the designated audience.
G. Demonstrate nonverbal behavior that supports the verbal message.
Listening Competencies:
Listening is the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken
and/or nonverbal messages. People listen in order to comprehend information, critique and
evaluate a message, show empathy for feelings expressed by others, or appreciate a
performance. Effective listening includes both literal and critical comprehension of ideas and
information transmitted in oral language.
In order to be a competent listener, a person must be able to listen with literal comprehension.
Specifically, the competent listener should be able to exhibit the following competencies:
A. Recognize main ideas.
B. Identify supporting details.
C. Recognize explicit relationships among ideas in organization or logic or transitions.
D. Recall basic ideas and details.
Also, the competent listener should be able to listen with critical comprehension, and
Should demonstrate the following competencies:
A. Attend with an open mind.
B. Perceive the speaker’s purpose and organization of ideas and information.
C. Discriminate between statements of fact and opinion.
D. Distinguish between emotional and logical arguments.
E. Detect bias and prejudice.
F. Recognize the speaker’s attitude.
G. Synthesize and evaluate by drawing logical conclusions.
H. Recall the overt and implied arguments.
I. Recognize discrepancies between the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages.
J. Employ active listening techniques when appropriate.
Because this course is a hybrid course, where interpersonal and group communication are also
studied in addition to speaking and listening, the following will be addressed briefly in the course:
Interpersonal Competency:
Interpersonal communication is interaction with others, and it occurs whenever one person
interacts with one other, usually in an informal setting. This type of communication occurs on a
one-to-one basis.
The competent interpersonal communicator should be able to transmit messages using
interpersonal skills suitable to the context and the audience. Specifically, this person should
exhibit interpersonal competence by demonstrating the following:
A. Develop, maintain and nurture interpersonal and small group relationships with
B. Fulfill their own interpersonal needs.
C. Manage conflict while representing all group members’ rights.
D. Respond to others’ attempts to build relationships and reciprocate by self-disclosing,
focusing on the other, empathizing, and displaying affinity.
Small Group Competency:
Small group communication occurs when a small number of people meet to solve a problem.
Usually the gathering involves 3 to 13 members who meet to do a job, solve a problem, or
maintain relationships. Small groups are essential in helping society to function smoothly.
The competent member of a small group should be able to interact within the group to complete
tasks, solve problems, or maintain relationships. This person should exhibit the following small
group competencies:
A. Use problem-solving techniques to contribute to the group’s task.
B. Maintain constructive relationships in the group.
C. Manage conflict in a substantive manner.
D. Contribute to social interaction.
COM131 is performance oriented; however, performance of speeches and communication skills
are developed through knowledge of basic communication theory. As a result, assessment is
based on a variety of items which are outlined below.
The student must give at least three speeches throughout the semester, evaluated according to
the criteria on the attached grading sheet (Speaking Competencies). Students must also
participate in a group project and an interpersonal project in order to develop conflictmanagement skills (Small Group and Interpersonal Competencies). Students must also evaluate
classmates’ speeches (one for every speech assigned) in order to develop critical listening
(Listening Competencies). Projects and speeches will require research in the library and over the
Evaluation will be based on the following:
Interpersonal Project – 125 points
Group Project – 350 points
Informative - 100 points
Persuasive - 125 points
***Additional speeches range from 20-100 points each
Exams - no more than 400 points total
Final exam- 200 points
Peer Evaluations (Listening) - range of 15 points each
Daily work and quizzes - 25 points each
Absences WILL affect your grade. All work must be handed in on time. Speeches must be given
on the assigned date. Those speeches not presented on the assigned date may receive a zero
(0) grade unless approved by the instructor before the speech date. Daily work and written work
will only be accepted on the due date unless approved by the instructor ahead of time. Also for
the college breaks when we don’t have scheduled classes, don’t take off early or arrive late after
the break as these absences won’t be excused! All students missing courses due to athletic or
other collegiate events MUST notify me IN ADVANCE to make assignment or test arrangements.
Any student who fails to notify me will receive an unexcused absence for the day as well as a
zero for any assignments, speeches or tests due that day. Also failure to show up for class
without prior arrangements being made on a scheduled speech day will result in a zero for you for
that speech as well as an unexcused absence.
The evaluation criteria for speeches and projects is at the end of the syllabus.
Grades will be determined using the following scale. This is the department minimum.
A student caught cheating on an exam or plagiarizing on a project or speech will be dropped from
the class and receive an F for the course grade.
Students should remember that COM131 is a college course. As such, the assignments that are
made typically require outside time to complete. In general, a course that meets for three credit
hours a week requires six hours of study time outside of class. While this formula is not true for
everyone–some need more time, some need less–it should serve as a reminder to budget time
A file will be kept of all students’ work during the semester, and ALL work becomes the property
of the communication department. After the semester is over, work is kept for at least one
semester on the main campus. The first and last speech, interpersonal and group projects, the
first and last listening evaluation will be kept, plus any other work the instructor deems valuable.
Other specific requirements may be added by the instructor at any time and be handed out
to students. Please pay close attention to instructor requirements.
Students are expected to attend all classes, laboratories, shop sessions and other scheduled
class activities and have full responsibility for accounting to their instructor for absences. Makeup work will be provided when prior arrangements have been made for the absence with the
instructor. Make-up work may be allowed at the discretion of the instructor for absences without
prior arrangement.
Unit One: The Communication Process
Understanding Communication
Sending Verbal and Nonverbal Messages
Using Your Voice
Listening and Evaluating
Unit Two: Interpersonal Relationships
Analyzing Yourself as a Communicator
Communicating Person to Person
Speaking Informally
Unit Three: Public Speaking
Getting Ready
Gathering Information
Preparing Your Speech
Using Effective Language
Presenting Your Speech
Unit Four: Speaking for a Purpose
Speaking to Inform
Speaking to Persuade
Speaking for a Special Occasion
Unit Five: Democratic Processes
Group Discussion
Debate and Parliamentary Procedure (If time)
If you have a disability and require accommodations, it is your responsibility to notify the instructor
by the second class period.
Students who must miss class for a school-sanctioned activity must make arrangements with the
instructor before the absence. Any work missed without prior notice will result in a zero for that
assignment, test, speech, etc.
Students are expected to be punctual and to conduct themselves in a manner conducive to
learning and representative of a college atmosphere. Students should be on time for each class
meeting and remain in class until class is dismissed.
Students with more than three absences may be put on academic alert. I reserve the right to
withdraw a student from class for excessive absences (four or more), as well as for poor
performance (such as inattentiveness or an F in the class).
Assignments given during class time will always have a specific due date. If this due date is
missed due to an absence, a zero will be assessed unless prior arrangements have been made,
at the instructor’s discretion.
Major speeches are usually given over several days. Every student must be ready to give their
speech on the first day. I choose the speaking order randomly and if you are chosen and are not
prepared, a 20% penalty goes into effect. It is the instructor’s discretion as to whether or not any
work can be made up if it is late.
Group and Interpersonal projects are similarly drawn randomly. If a group member is missing
without prior arrangement, the group will proceed without him/her and that group member will
receive a zero for the assignment.
Students who plagiarize or otherwise cheat will fail the assignment, receive a zero for that
assignment, or be administratively withdrawn from the course. Incidents involving student
plagiarism are documented and reported to the Vice-President of Instruction and the Student
Success Center as well as any other administration. These reports are reviewed and further
action may be taken.
These and other electronic devices are to be turned off and out of sight during class periods. Any
interruption caused by a cell phone, iPod or similar device will result in a warning, deduction of
points, or removal from class, at the instructor’s discretion.