COMM 1 - Public Speaking (5 units)


COMM 1 - SECTION 4Y - MW - 12:30PM-2:45 PM - L49

Instructor: James Ahern, M.A., J.D.


Textbook: (Free textbook) The Public Speaking Project: The Virtual Text

Faculty Web Site:

Visit the Student Success Center:

Materials: 4 by 6-inch note cards. 

Note to Students with Disabilities: If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic accommodations or services in this course, provide me with a Test Accommodation Verification Form (also known as a TAV form) from Disability Support Services (DSS) or the Educational Diagnostic Center (EDC). Students are expected to give five day notice of the need for accommodations. Students with disabilities can obtain a TAV form from their DSS counselor or EDC advisor. 

 Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Organize, compose, present, and critically evaluate informative and persuasive presentations appropriate in content and style to the audience and situation.

  • Display increasing confidence in speaking extemporaneously.

  • Demonstrate effective listening skills in various public speaking contexts.

  • Identify, locate, evaluate and use information technologies and information sources.

Course Objectives:

1. Examine historical and cultural traditions of public speaking in both domestic and global contexts and their impact on our views, beliefs, and practices relating to speaking in public.

2. Evaluate how making the decision to respect diversity, speak ethically, and think critically influences communication outcomes.

3. Demonstrate skills in analyzing diverse audiences and creating presentations appropriate to those audiences.

4. Research, analyze, organize, prepare, and evaluate informative and persuasive speeches.

5. Develop confidence in delivering speeches extemporaneously.

6.  Develop listening skills to foster respectful, reflective, and critical listening appropriate for public presentations.

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance and Participation: This is a HYBRID that meets on campus and online. This class requires your attendance and participation for every class. Because your role includes being a speaker, a listener, and an evaluator, your attenance and promptness are vital to this class. School policy dictates that students are responsible for dropping classes that they no longer attend. All students must attend the final session. 
  • Reading Assignments: Recommended readings from open course materials will be posted weekly in Canvas. 
  • Written Assignments: Four speeches (Narrative, Demonstration, Informative, and Persuasive) must be accompanied by a typed, full-sentence preparation outline submitted to Turnitin on Canvas prior to assigned speech presentations.
  • Online Assignments: Online assignments will be posted weekly.
  • Quizzes: There will be ten multiple-choice, true-false quizzes with five questions each based on assigned chapters. You will have unlimited attempts for each of these quizzes and the highest score will be used. Quizzes will be posted on Mondays  and are due on Sundays at 11:59 p.m.  
  • Academic Honesty: Plagiarism will result in failing an assignment or this course. School policy states: "Plagiarism is representing the work of someone else as your own. Incorporating the ideas , words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts of another person's writing, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one's own. Representing another's artistic or scholarly works such as musical compositions, computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawing or sculptures as your own. Submitting a paper purchased from a research or term paper service, including the internet. Undocumented Web source usage."
  • College Course Policy: "Students must have access to the following: a computer, the internet, an individual email address, and a webcam-enabled device for on-camera presentations."
  • Speeches: There will be five graded speeches with designated days and times (See schedule posted in Canvas). Sign-up Genius will be used for the four speeches that will be posted in the Canvas section in advance of the speech delivery deadlines. 

Speech Assignments:

1. Introductory speech: not graded

Time limit: 2-3 minutes

2. Narrative speech: 50-points

Time limit: 4-6 minutes

Self-critique required within seven (7) days of delivery 

Preparation Outline (Turnitin on Canvas)

3. Demonstration speech: 50-points

Time limit: 4-6 minutes

Preparation Outline (Turnitin on Canvas)

Self-critique required within seven (7) days of delivery 

4. Informative speech: 50-points

Time limit: 4-6 minutes

Self-critique required within seven (7) days of delivery

Preparation Outline (Turnitin on Canvas)

5. Persuasive speech: 50-points

Time limit: 4-6 minutes

Self-critique required within seven (7) days of delivery

Preparation Outline (Turnitin on Canvas)

6. Impromptu speech: 10-points

Time limit: 2-3 minutes

TOTAL: 210 points


Your final grade for the course will be based upon the following:

1. Speeches - 210 points

2. Preparation outlines - (4 @ 10 points each) 40 points

3. Self-critiques (4 @ 10 points each) 40 points

4. Action Items (10 @ three points each) 30 points

5. Quizzes (10 @ five points each) 50 points

6. Discussion (10 @ 10 points each) 100 points

TOTAL: 470 points 

A 444-470
A- 420-443
B+ 406-419
B 392-405
B- 373-391
C+ 350-372
C 326-349
D+ 312-325
D 298-311
D- 279-297
F 278-0

Students are responsible for keeping track of their assigned grades throughout the duration of this course. There are no provisions for extra credit. 

NOTE: This course depends on your active participation and it will be as exciting, interesting, stimulating, and as fun, as the energy and enthusiasm that you bring to the class. The more you give, the more you will learn about your own strengths and limitations. You will also learn from and about your classmates and that you can be a part of their learning experience as well.

Wishing you all the best in the days ahead!

Back to Top