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COM 2101 Public Speaking

Office Hours and Contact Information

William Purcell • Senior Lecturer

Department of Communication • Appalachian State University

Office: 134 Walker Hall

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Call/text: 828.964.2355 (between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.)

Class 1 - First Day of Class

Tuesday January 12

Cover Syllabus

William Purcell • Senior Lecturer

Department of Communication • Appalachian State University

Office: 134 Walker Hall

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Call/text: 828.964.2355 (between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.)

Universal access: the syllabus and other class materials are available in any format for the reader (large/variable font size, etc.) by request and working with the Office of Disability Services at Appalachian, please let me know how I can help meet your learning needs.


I am excited to join with you in our academic pursuits this semester as we create an interactive, supportive, and fun learning-community together. I not only want to build connections and support networks between students, but also to become a resource for you now and into your future. I have high expectations for each of you, of myself, and of this course. If there is anything I can do to make your experience in this class more meaningful, please let me know.

This class is designed for serious students willing to read, write, think, share, discuss, study, work, and interact with the issues at hand. To do well in this class, you must attend regularly, participate, write, speak up in class, and do all the reading. If you want an “easy” class, please look elsewhere because you will not be happy here.

COM 2101 Public Speaking • Spring 2016

Course Description: Intensive practice in composition and delivery of various types of speeches with emphasis on speech structure and style.

Course Goals:

  1. You should improve your abilities to “discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge” through the development of speeches and outlines.

  2. You should improve your abilities identify, analyze, and engage “the needs of individuals and society” through the study of speaking principles and civic engagement.

  3. You should develop tools for citizenship that assist with “our responsibility to be actively involved in addressing the educational, economic, cultural, and societal needs of the changing region, state, nation, and world” through examination of contemporary public discourse.

Textbook: rental - DK Guide to Public Speaking, 2nd edition, Ford-Brown

Materials required: minimum of $10 for printing, could be more according to your needs; $10 for homework/final project supplies, could be more according to your needs; I highly recommend cloud storage or USB drive
Earning Grades
You determine your grade through participation…

Students will earn points throughout the semester based on the quality and quantity of work you produce. Students begin the semester with zero points and hopefully earn 2,000 points by the end of the semester in order to earn an “A”. Points are simply earned and added up for a grand total. No fancy math needed. Simply add up your point total and find your grade in the chart below.

Points are not guaranteed by your body being in the room; points are reflective of the level of engagement a student demonstrates by coming to class prepared, completing assignments, speaking up, being active, performing activities, etc. Students who are not engaged in course content or spend time on topics not related to class will not earn points: speaking up is more than just speaking, it is having something to say connected to the course content. An engaged student who is fully prepared, intently listening, responsive, speaking up, and connecting course material to the conversation should earn a high level of points. Points are also available for specific assignments and projects.

There are more points available than needed for an “A” in the course. This means a certain number of missed points (for absences or poor performance, etc.) are built into the system. Thus, late work or make-up work is not needed or accepted (unless it is a major assignment that a student missed during extreme, documented circumstances).


100 points: first speech
300 points: stasis speech
500 points: informational speech
500 points: persuasive speech
300 points: This I Believe speech
200 points: impromptu speech
100 points: celebratory speech
300 points: final exam

2,300 points total

Grading Scale:
A = 2,000 - 2,300 points
A minus = 1,900 - 1,999 points
B plus = 1,800 - 1,899 points
B = 1,700 - 1,799 points
B minus = 1,600 - 1,699 points
C plus = 1,500 - 1,599 points
C = 1,400 - 1,499 points
C minus = 1,300 - 1,399 points
D plus = 1,200 - 1,299 points
D = 1,100 - 1,199 points
D minus = 1,000 - 1,099 points
F = 999 - 0 points

Bonus Points: I rarely offer extra credit. However, I do reward outstanding work with “bonus” points for student work that goes beyond what is expected. This is particularly important reason to attend class and participate well. These points may be very helpful at the end of the semester.

NEVER email/text about grades: Instead, make an appointment or drop by during office hours to chat in person. I will not respond to emails concerning grades. DO NOT ask me about grades before, during, or after class, or in front of other students. Your grades are private and protected information that federal law prevents me from discussing anywhere except my office where the integrity of the privacy of the information can be maintained.

24/7 Rule: If you have a concern about a grade, I ask that you first take 24 hours to review the comments and to think about the assignment. After 24 hours, you have seven days to schedule an office appointment to discuss any concerns. The obvious exception is during exam week.

Late Work/Makeup Work: Only accepted/given in extreme circumstances with documented reasons. If you can’t get your assignment to class on time, get someone else to bring it. Make an office appointment for a decision. All late work penalized at the instructor’s discretion. DO NOT EMAIL LATE ASSIGNMENTS w/o permission.

NEVER email assignments: unless you are specifically asked to do so.


You should attend all classes…

If you do not plan on attending class, you should drop immediately. That said, there is no attendance policy. I don’t keep track of attendance. If you want to learn, come to class. If you don’t, don’t come to class.

If you miss a class: It is your responsibility to discover what you missed from being absent. Make a friend in class and ask that friend for notes and assignments. Make an appointment or drop by during my office hours. I don’t need to know why you were not in class. I assume students missing class have a good reason. If you have a unique situation that involves you requesting any type of make-up work, please set up a meeting during my office hours. Bring the appropriate documentation to the meeting. I will create an additional assignment/s for valid, documented, excusable reasons.

NEVER email me to ask what you missed in class: Instead, make an appointment or drop by during office hours to chat in person.

Late or have to leave early? Come on in! I’d rather you get part of the class rather than none at all. My philosophy is to learn by doing and you have to be here to learn. However, don’t make it a habit.

Policy on Personal Electronic Devices
Personal Electronic Devices (PED) includes laptops, smart watches, tablets, mobile phones, or any web enabled communication device. PEDs are ubiquitous both in and outside the classroom. Research and my own experience finds that when someone is using a PED they are, for all practical purposes, “absent” from class as completely as if they are physically gone. Of course, for the individual student, being physically absent is a personal choice.

However, in-class use of PEDs ceases to be a personal choice when it has negative impacts on peers and the course. Experience has shown that:

• PED use is annoying and distracting to those around you and interferes with your peer’s classroom experience. Students complain about it regularly.

• PED users are much more likely to ask questions on information that has already been discussed in class. This wastes class time and is annoying to both your peers and myself. This is effectively stealing others time – time, which they and taxpayers have paid for.

• PED users are much more likely to be confused on class assignments and expectations or miss critical information with three results:

 1. Contacting the instructor with requests for repeating information disseminated in class, which is disrespectful of

 my time.

 2.  Being much more likely to misinterpret assignment directions and miss important deadlines and instructions and

 thus receive lower grades or no points for missed assignments/deadlines.

 3. Habitual in class PED users earn poorer final grades.

Rules on use of Policy on Personal Electronic Devices

  1. PEDs are to be silenced and stowed out of sight for the duration of class (ear phones should be removed and stored).

  2. Checking PEDs for messages, texting, or any other activity is prohibited.

  3. Students who violate this policy will receive one letter grade deduction for each infraction. For example, at the end of the semester an “A” grade becomes a “B”, if there is a violation of this policy.

PED use is allowed when:

 • It is explicitly authorized by the instructor. Laptops and smart phones may be used for some activities or during breaks.

 • If students have an ongoing need to be available via mobile phone such as communication with young children, family medical issues, or other similar serious and compelling reasons they need to contact me to work out an arrangement immediately. 

 • If students have a serious and compelling reason on a particular day such as an emergency situation involving family or work they need to contact me at the start of class and exit the classroom to answer calls or text replies. Note that abuse of this privilege will not be tolerated.

 • If you have an official accommodation from the Office of Disability Services, please speak with me after our first class to arrange the appropriate accommodation.

Student Engagement (homework): Be prepared to spend six hours each week (outside of class time) on work for this course. This is consistent with Appalachian’s Statement on Student Engagement with Courses.

Assignment Formats: I will only accept assignments in the appropriate form as indicated by the assignment instructions. DO NOT EMAIL assignments, unless specifically asked to by the instructor.

E-mail: I will use your official email to communicate with you. I didn’t get the email is not an excuse. Check your email daily.

Etiquette: Be respectful. Be mindful of others. The classroom should be a sacred place of learning regarded with the respect deserving of the opportunity you have been given to study here and the investment society has put into your potential. Any etiquette violations will result in a one letter grade deduction from your final grade. This includes, but is not limited to: speaking while professor is speaking or while a peer is speaking, side-conversations, distractions during lecture or presentations, packing up before class is over, being chronically late to class or leaving early, not being prepared for class, etc. As young adults who are training to be professionals and productive leaders in society, your behavior in this class should exhibit respect for others, respect for yourself and a willingness to take responsibility for your actions. Be mindful of informal language that may offend others. Here we work to create a space where ALL people are accepted and appreciated.

Recording: No recording of class without my permission: this includes audio, video, photography, or any other means of capturing course content. This also includes screenshots, video, audio, etc. of our AsUlearn site or any other resource used for class.

Inclement Weather: DO NOT call the Communication Department main office. Call me. Check your e-mail. It is very rare that I cancel class because of weather. Because of the potential for extreme weather, the following will be the inclement weather policy for this class: should this class be cancelled for inclement weather more than two times, additional required classes will be taught. They may be in the evening or even on the weekend. Classes will meet on a one-for-one basis (one extra class for each class cancelled). The professor reserves the right to alter this policy as needed. Please make sure you let your employer know this policy.

Academic Policies of the University: Please become familiar with the information on this website: . It contains information about Academic Integrity, Disability Services, Attendance Policy (including religious observances), and Student Engagement with Courses.

Course Calendar (tentative, I will provide updated course calendar through out the semester)
Week 1 - orientation
Week 2 - public speaking basics
Week 3 - public speaking basics
Week 4 -first speeches
Week 5 - stasis speeches
Week 6 - stasis speeches
Week 7 - informational speeches
Week 8 - informational speeches
Week 9 - informational speeches
Week 10 - persuasive speeches
Week 11 - persuasive speeches
Week 12 - persuasive speeches
Week 13 - This I Believe speeches
Week 14 - impromptu speeches
Week 15 - celebratory speeches / final exam

Class 2 - Sweet Speech Ideas

Thursday January 14

Technology Policy Reminder

silence and stow

out of sight

no appearance

a letter grade deduction from final grade if a violation occurs

New Students?

pass out copy of syllabus to them

meet with them after class to catch them up

have them read syllabus and come by and meet with me if needed to get up to speed

Conduct Candy Speeches

need cups for each student

need extra candy basket

need index cards

Activity Details

start with passing out index cards

short lecture on three basic speech elements & body’s 3 points

have students sketch out opening/body (3 points)/close

go over process: dump candy on table, opening - your name, what candy you brought, body: your three points about why you brought it; closing: thank you, stay and wait for applause

goal: 1 minute, use timer, short will go over at end

remind: on-deck chair, take volunteers

finish speeches

pass out cups

make short speech about why I do this exercise

have students come forward and fill cups with candy

save candy for future classes to munch on ;-)

Themed Speech Assignment Mind Maps

need two sheets of blank paper per student

need basket of markers, each student takes two

Activity Details

Remind students of what these speeches are - card to right

Read “themed speech ideas” - card to right

Take questions

Explain mind maps, Google and show examples on screen

Give students time to create a mind map about their personal interests: hobbies, academics, work, activities, volunteer work, collections, causes, passions, beliefs, etc. ad infinitum

Have students trade mind maps with person behind them.

One a separate piece of paper come up with three themed speech ideas for the other person.

Share these out.

Switch back.

Past Speech Theme Ideas

No bees no humans - what you can do to save the bees and yourself

No-kill animal shelters - Is there a better way to deal with pet overpopulation than gas-chambers

Legalize long boarding - how you can help change Boone’s law to allow economic, environmentally-friendly, an fun travel

Make way for bikes - why you should lobby local legislators to create safe spaces for bikes in Boone

the case against cochlear implants - most deaf children are born to hearing parents, what decision would you make?

Appalachian hate veterans - behind the curtain of ASU’s pro-veteran propaganda and how you can support your peers who are vets

Summer camp for college - why you should be a camp counselor this summer

Kill More Deer - why increasing NC’s limits on hunting deer would help

Shooting film - a case against digital photography and for the use of old-fashioned film

NC fisheries


Come up with three more ideas for your themed speech, we will share out the next class

Create a mind map (by hand, no computers) based on “how public speaking matters to me now and into the future” - we will present these next class

Class 3 - Why Public Speaking Matters

Tuesday January 19

NOTE: my Tuesday 12:30 class did not meet today…this content will be covered Thursday, January 21

Technology Policy Reminder
silence and stow
out of sight
no appearance
a letter grade deduction from final grade if a violation occurs

take up homework

mind maps and speech ideas

Why is learning to speak in public important?

Mind Map Homework Activity

textbook connection: pages 2-3

Activity Details:

present mind map homework

use Elmo overhead projector

use AV mute button

use timer, speech must be 1 minute or redo

short lecture on basic speaking/presenting with visuals

• to continue to become comfortable speaking through low-stakes practice
• to stretch our speaking time to 1 minute
• to practice using technology during speaking
• to learn to use the podium equipment
• to practice speaking with visuals

when speaking with visuals
1 - do not turn your back on audience
2 - avoid reading the visual word for word, instead paraphrase & tell stories
3 - point, turn & talk

Exam Question?

What is learning to speak in public important? To you? To others? How will improving public speaking skills improve your life? Now? In your 20s? In your 30s? In your 40s? 50s and beyond?

Exam Question?

What are three basic rules for speaking with visuals?

What makes a speech memorable?


Activity Details:

take out a sheet of paper

write down the most memorable speech you’ve heard thus far

and the name of the person who gave the speech

and what they said

pause to allow writing….

then write down WHY this is the one speech you remember most

everyone share

discuss what makes a speech memorable?

Exam Question?

What makes a speech memorable? What are specific techniques you’ve learned this semester to make a speech memorable? What is the most memorable speech you’ve heard this semester? Analyze that speech to explain why it is memorable (be specific and name techniques the speaker used to make it memorable!)

Theme Speech Ideas Homework

if there is time left in class

let each student tell us about their homework

tell us the three speech ideas

if anyone was absent, write down your three new ideas while the others are speaking and go last

Class 4 - State of Public Speaking

Thursday January 21

Note: see note on Day 3 about switching content days for my 12:30 class…if you have any questions, just please drop by my office and I’ll explain

Technology Policy Reminder

silence and stow

out of sight

no appearance

a letter grade deduction from final grade if a violation occurs

State of the Union Speech

Activity Details

take out a sheet of paper

take note of - what can we learn from one of the best speakers of our time?

don’t focus on the politics of it

focus on the how he speaks, how he says it, body language, word choice, eye contact, pace, tone, structure, anything!

watch speech (about 1 hour)

discussion (15 minutes)

Exam Question?

What can we learn from the President about public speaking?

Theme Speech Ideas Homework

if there is time left in class

let each student tell us about their homework

tell us the three speech ideas

if anyone was absent, write down your three new ideas while the others are speaking and go last


Continue to think about your speech theme topic…we are getting closer to having to decide

Speech Anxiety: if you are experiencing it, read pages 10-13 in our textbook, and make a list of strategies that will help you succeed in this class; then make an appointment with Mr. Purcell to discuss how we can help you succeed and overcome your speech anxiety!

Mr. Purcell’s notes for next semester…

add this in for homework

Past/Present/Future - on a piece of paper, sketch out a minute an a half speech that covers 30 seconds each on your past, present, future…how can you connect the three with an overarching theme? Write down your overarching theme at the top of your paper…we will use these to speak with during our next class

Class 5 - Intro to Impromptu Speaking - Past/Present/Futre

Tuesday January 26

Quick Speech Rules

NO GUM, ever!!!

Don’t enter or exit during a speech…wait until you hear applause

How to Be a Good Audience Member

Freewrite - list ways to be a good audience member

Share out

Exam Question?

Explain how to be a good audience member during a speech…not just good, but supportive…conversely, explain some things you should never do as an audience member.

Past Present Future

Three is a magical number for speeches - putting points, ideas, etc. into groups of three helps the listener remember, there is something magical about our ability to remember three things

Impromptu - when you have to unexpectedly speak on the fly, with little to no preparation

Past/present/future - this quick format works for almost any speech about anything

Example: Jeff Cloninger


Use the Sesame Street tiles to pair up

Pass out index cards

On one side of card only, the ruled side, take notes

Interview your partner about their past, present, and future - ask open-ended questions

Once the interviews are done - sketch out a past/present/future speech about your partner

Keep the notes simple on the index card

only write key words that will trigger the story you want to tell

write down how you will start and how you will end

you should have five words or phrases on your card

Make the speeches!

Exam Question?

Explain how to quickly organize an impromptu speech about a person.

MLK - Critiquing the greatest speech of the 20th Century

Watch Full Speech

Full text of speech

Activity Details:

take out sheet of paper

draw line down the middle

label top plus/minus

watch and listen to speech - what did MLK do well, what can we critique?

after speech discuss

at the end, take up assignment and review for bonus points

Exam Question?

Why is the MLK “I have a dream” speech considered the best speech of the 20th century?


Make sure you are getting class emails - if not, come speak to Mr. Purcell ASAP

If you didn’t watch the State of the Union speech in class, watch it for homework, analyze what the president does well and does not do well. The link to the video is in class 4 above…

Keep thinking about your speech idea, we will look at the speeches we will do this semester and come to a decision about your speech topic next class.

Class 6 - intro all the speeches we are doing this semester, decide idea, talk about research elements of each

Thursday January 28

Class 7 - basic speech format - citing sources - any old bag speech assignment, 5-5-3

Tuesday February 2

Class 8 - no class - SPBGMA conference - prepare for any old bag speeches

Thursday February 4

Class 9 - any old bag speeches

Tuesday February 9

Class 10 (one third of the way through class!!! :-)
any old bag speeches

Thursday February 11

Class 11 - PVSRS and stasis speech

Tuesday February 16

Class 12 - 8 outlines due, workshop

Thursday February 18

Class 13 - notecards due - practice speech in class

Tuesday February 23

Class 14 - 7 stasis speeches

Thursday February 25

Class 15 (one half of the way through the semester!)

stasis speeches

Tuesday March 1

Class 16 - stasis speeches

Thursday March 3


Class 17 - impromptu speeches

Tuesday March 15

Class 18 - informational speeches

Thursday March 17

Class 19 - informational speeches

Tuesday March 22

Class 20 (two thirds of the way through class, yikes!)

informational speeches

Thursday March 24

State Holiday Break

Class 21 - informational speeches

Thursday March 31

Class 22 - persuasive speeches

Tuesday April 5

Class 23 - persuasive speeches

Thursday April 7

Class 24 -persuasive speeches

Tuesday April 12

Class 25 - persuasive speeches, This I believe prep

Thursday April 14

Class 26 This I believe

Tuesday April 19

Class 27 - This I believe - impromptu prep

Thursday April 21

Class 28 - impromptu speeches, celebratory prep day

Tuesday April 26

Class 29 - no class

Thursday April 28

Class 30 - our last class day for Public Speaking - celebratory speeches

Tuesday May 3

Final Exam - you pick the time that works best for you

Choice #1 - Friday, May 6, 3 to 5:30 p.m.

Choice #2 - Tuesday, May 10, 3-5:30 p.m.