After more than two thousand years, public speaking remains a central topic in a myriad of cultures. In order to understand the process of public speaking as well as to improve one’s public speaking skills in the 21st century, two steps prove fundamental. Firstly, behind every instance of public speaking, a complex intersection of factors takes place. Therefore, it becomes essential to critically examine these factors as well as to analyze the fluid relationship between speaker, audience, and context (at the micro and macro levels). Moreover, it is necessary to examine the role of public speaking in a democracy. Secondly, the theoretical dimension aims to enhance the personal application of critical public speaking skills in synchronous and asynchronous interactions, as speakers, listeners, and members of society at large.
For that purpose, COMM 260 emphasizes the theory of speech composition, presentation, and evaluation and its relationship to public discourse, civic engagement, and the ethics of persuasion. This course provides a critical application of theory through the online presentation of several formal and impromptu speeches. Requirements include frequent online speaking assignments and related practices, including written analyses of speeches. Thus, active online participation and critical engagement prove essential in this course. This course is fully online; students will not be required to be physically present for any component of the class.