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Comm 1100: Public Speaking

Instructor: Kathleen Beauchene, Professor of English
Office: Flanagan (Lincoln) Campus – Room #1368
Office Hours: Fall and Spring
Tuesday:  8:30 - 11:30 AM
Thursday: 8:30 - 11:30 AM

Other hours are available by appointment. Please contact me via email.

Phone: 401-333-7389
E-mail: [email protected]  (Preferred contact method)
Other Contact Methods: 401-333-7372 (Flanagan Campus, Lincoln, English Dept.) 401-825-2262 (Knight Campus, Warwick, English Dept.)

This one-semester basic course in speech is designed to develop each student’s ability to communicate effectively in his or her academic, business and social life. The major emphasis is on the preparation and delivery of formal speeches, but many areas of the communication process are explored. Lecture: 3 hours

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Students who complete the required work will be prepared to achieve two major objectives: first, be able to understand the principles of effective oral communication; and second, be able to apply these principles in actual speaking situation. A detailed course outcome list is also available. Specifically, at the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Feel confident and communicate effectively in a variety of extemporaneous speaking situations, including individual speeches and group presentations

  • Conduct audience and situational analyses and apply findings to all aspects of speech preparation and delivery

  • Present speeches that reflect solid understanding of communication theory, research techniques, and organization

  • Use delivery skills, both verbal and nonverbal, to craft an effective presentation

  • Listen critically

  • Provide constructive feedback to peers

  • Apply constructive criticism to improve in future speeches

  • Develop presentation aids following appropriate guidelines and design principles

  • Transfer skills gained from composing and presenting extemporaneous speeches to impromptu speaking situations

TEXTBOOK, etc.: A Speaker's Guidebook: Text and Reference w/Launchpad, 7th ed., by Dan O'Hair, Rob Stewart, Hannah Rubenstein. I provide instructions in class and in Blackboard. DO NOT purchase the text until you come to class.

  • Blackboard: Blackboard is an online course delivery system in use at CCRI. While our course is not online, many of its components are. For example, Bb allows you to access most of your course assignments and course resources. More importantly, it allows you to communicate with me and with your fellow students. I will provide you with information about how to access and use the site. Please follow these Bb log-in directions.
  • Computer Information:     


1. Absences – You MUST attend class. As a student of this course, you have an obligation as a speaker and as an audience member. You can’t meet these obligations if you aren’t present. I can be reached at [email protected] (email is preferred) in case you need to contact me regarding an absence. Please notify me so that I can make you aware of an assignment and so that I can make any necessary changes in planned class activities. I endorse the English Department’s Attendance Policy and will notify you when you violate it:

  • Class that meets once a week:

    • You are allowed one, unexplained absence. (Note that two late arrivals = one absence.)

    • After your second absence, your grade will be reduced by one letter grade.

    • On your third absence, you should withdraw from the course to risk failing it.

  • Class that meets twice a week.

    • You are allowed two, unexplained absences. (Note that two late arrivals = one absence.)


    • After two absences, your grade will be reduced by one letter grade.


    • After three absences, you should withdraw from the course to risk failing it.

If you are having difficulty coming to class on time or coming to class at all, please officially withdraw from the course by going to the Student tab in MyCCRI. Not withdrawing in this manner puts you at risk of receiving an “F” for the course.

  • Drop by Sept.14th to get a refund.

  • Withdraw by Nov. 10th so your name will not appear on my final grade form and you will not risk failing the course.

College Cancellations: All students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled in Rave Emergency Alerts email messages. If you supplied a cell phone number during enrollment in courses at CCRI, you will receive a text message through this system. You can also visit the CCRI homepage or listen for cancellations on various television and radio stations.

2. Communication – CCRI email is the official means of communication. (Emails from within Blackboard are part of your CCRI email.) Please do not use private email (such as Gmail, etc.) to communicate with me.

Please do not use private email (such as Gmail, etc.) to communicate with me. Attach documents created with MS Office (Word, PowerPoint, or Excel). Do not save documents as RTFs, PDFs, or Pages. Do not share documents with me via OneDrive or Google Drive.

3. Class Climate – This class works best with a combination of lectures, discussions, and activities. Questions and participation are encouraged. 

As you may know, many individuals have a fear of public speaking. You or one of your classmates may be one of those individuals. Therefore, it is important to have a supportive and respectful class environment. In essence, respect is key in all situations–class lecture, group work, and speaking situations. As part of this course involves your giving and receiving criticism, you are expected to deliver constructive criticism and respond to criticism with respect, even though you may not agree with my or a classmate’s comments. 

Showing respect means not walking into class late and certainly not when a fellow classmate is speaking. If you are late to class, please look and listen before entering the classroom. Do not walk in when a classmate is giving a speech.  Frequent lateness indicates that the class meeting time is not for you. After your 3rd tardiness, you will not be allowed to walk into class and will be considered absent.

Respect also means turning off all electronic devices: pagers, cell phones,  iPods, and laptops. (These items may be used ONLY with my permission.) Listening attentively is important, as it, too, shows respect for the speaker. Fidgeting, playing around with a backpack or purse, talking to others, mumbling to yourself, writing note cards, practicing your own speech, text messaging, etc., shows lack of respect and makes the speaker (classmate or me) uncomfortable. I will ask disrespectful students to leave the classroom.

Foul language, either in casual conversation or in a speech, is not allowed in the classroom. If you want to include a quote, song lyrics, or a video that has foul language, please check with me first.

Photographing or recording other students or their work and posting to a social media site is unethical and not allowed.

A good attitude and a sense of humor will take you far in this class! I know that they work for me, so I like to practice what I preach. CCRI’s Student Handbook includes specific policies regarding student code of conduct.

4. Academic Integrity – When you borrow the ideas and/or words of others, you need to acknowledge you have done so by using an approved documentation system, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the American Psychological Association (APA). Lack of documentation, intentional or accidental, constitutes plagiarism. Getting caught at it (and getting caught is easier than you might think) has serious repercussions, including failing the assignment and very possibly the course itself. Simply put, give credit to the source of any borrowed material. Please read the CCRI Policy on Academic Honesty.

5. Need Help?
As a teacher of this course for over 30 years, I certainly am aware that many students fear public speaking. This fear causes students to put off working on their speeches and often failing to show up to give speeches. I am willing to help you, in class or outside of class, with any aspect of the public speaking process. Please do not hesitate to email me, call me, or show up at my office in advance of an assignment. In fact, even after this class is over, consider me a resource for any academic, social, or professional presentation. Learning how to speak in public doesn’t stop after you leave this class, and I am willing to extend my help to you as long as you need it.


1. Readings – Readings from textbook chapters and handouts must be completed when assigned to ensure you understand lecture material and are prepared to participate in course-related activities and discussions. These readings should be completed BEFORE class.

2. Speeches – During the semester you will be required to give approximately 6 speeches: Informative (2), Demonstrative (1), Persuasive (1), and Impromptu (2). You will also be required to participate in class activities that require brief speaking presentations, some of which may be graded.

Speaking presentations will have a time frame and a particular purpose/format for which speakers will be allowed to use note cards with key words. That is, speeches are to be delivered extemporaneously, which means they are prepared beforehand; but wording, although practiced, is determined during the actual speech. You will not be expected to deliver a speech from memory, nor should you write a speech out word for word and then read it to the class as you might in a writing class. You also can not speak from your outline.

A final, computer-generated outline that follows the outline format presented in class is due at the time of your speech.

Learning to produce under pressure is part of the public speaker’s challenge. Therefore, once speaking dates are assigned, you must make every effort to complete the assignment on the given date. That means you must work in advance of your speaking date by selecting a topic, developing it, and practicing your presentation.

If you are unable to speak on the assigned date, it is YOUR responsibility to notify me PRIOR to the next class. Doing so will enable you to make up the speech. Not contacting me means that (a) the speech cannot be made up because of time constraints, or (b) the speech can be made up at the class’s convenience but with a full grade penalty.

3. Written Work – As in all college classes, you will be completing writing assignments, which include various homework assignments, critiques, and speech outlines. These mandatory assignments are important and factor into your overall grade.

Written assignments must be original and created for this course. They must be computer generated, adhere to proper grammar rules, and any research-based assignments must follow the instructor's approved documentation system (MLA or APA) with in-text citations and a Works Cited page. 

Each assignment will have an associated due-date that you must meet. I will accept work via email as long as it is submitted by the due date and emailed to me as an MS Word attachment (NOT shared via One Drive, One Note, or Google Drive). Be sure that your name is part of the file name and that you include your name and the name of the assignment in the subject line. Without this information, I may not open your email.

4. Out-of-Class Work  – CCRI’s accrediting group, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, states that for each credit hour a student is expected to complete at least two hours of work per week outside of the class, including reading, class preparation, homework, studying, etc. Example: In a three-credit course, you are expected to complete at least six hours of work per week outside of the class including reading, class preparation, homework, studying, etc.

5.  Tests – These will be sprinkled throughout the course. Most will be announced in advance, and most will consist of multiple-choice and short-answer questions. However, I may also assign a take-home test, which will be an essay. You will also be required to answer questions based on each assigned chapter. You will access and respond to these questions through tests in Launchpad, Learning Curve, or Blackboard. Each test will have a due date assigned to it, after which you cannot take the test.


1. Start assignments early and seek assistance in advance. Unless you have made prior arrangements with me, late work will not be accepted. That means, (1) if you neglect to submit an assignment/speech on a due-date, I will not accept it late, and (2) if you are absent on an exam/speech date, you will not be allowed to make up the exam/speech. I will make allowances for extenuating circumstances that are beyond your control, such as a serious illness or bereavement.

2. Speech Grades

To receive a “C” on a speech, your speech must:

  • Be presented on the day assigned

  • Be appropriate to the audience, assignment, and time limit

  • Satisfy any specific requirements of the assignment

  • Be original

  • Have a clearly identifiable design and use transitions throughout

  • Develop and support main ideas with appropriate evidence

  • Be presented extemporaneously

To receive a “B” on a speech, your speech must:

  • Satisfy all requirements for a “C” speech

  • Have a challenging topic

  • Have clearly identified sources of information and ideas

  • Create and sustain attention

  • Be delivered with pose in good oral style

To receive an “A” on a speech, your speech must:

  • Satisfy all requirements for a “B” speech

  • Demonstrate imagination and creativity

  • Be delivered in a polished style

“D” speech, does not meet one or more criteria of the “C” speech or:

  • Is obviously not practiced

  • Is based entirely on unsupported opinions

An “F” speech does not meet three or more of the criteria for a “C” speech, reflects either of the problems associated with a “D” speech, or:

  • Uses fabricated material

  • Deliberately distorts evidence

ZERO is assigned to any speech that is plagiarized. Plagiarism is defined as “borrowing” information from another source (book, magazine, Internet, another student, etc.) and NOT acknowledging the borrowed material. In other words, passing work off as your own constitutes plagiarism.

3. Course Grade – To receive a passing grade, you must satisfy all course requirements. Speech grades comprise the bulk of the final grade. Each speech will have a different weight assigned to it, with each speech weighing more as the course progresses.

What follows is a brief description of the graded assignments for this course. I will allow ample time to answer questions as we approach each assignment.

  •  10%   --  Attendance/Participation in class activities
  • 10%   --  Average of Blackboard chapter tests
  • 15%   --  Average of other tests
  • 15%   --  Average of various homework/graded activities
  • 50%  -- Speeches (minor and major)

Point/Grade Equivalents:

93-100 A
90-92 A-
87-89 B+
83-86 B
80-82 B-
77-79 C+
70-76 C
67-69 D+
60-66 D



This course will be challenging in more ways than one. So it is my goal to provide you with the needed resources to assist you in meeting the challenge. If you require any accommodations because of any disability, feel free to see me after class sessions or connect with me via e-mail. You may also contact the Disability Services Office.

The Disability Services Office (DDS) provides support services and coordinates reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Students are responsible for identifying themselves to the DSS office and submitting appropriate documentation in advance of the requested accommodation. For more information, contact DSS: (401) 825-2164 in Warwick, (401) 333-7329 in Lincoln, (401) 455-6064 in Providence and (401) 851-1650 in Newport.



1. Blackboard has many resources for you.
2. Helpful websites can be accessed from this page.
3. On the campus of your choice, CCRI Wrtiting Center.
4. Come visit me during my office hours as listed above.


I recently came across an inspirational quotation by author and pastor John Maxwell: “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” If you want your college dream to come true, then be sure to heed the advice presented in this document. Keep informed and on a schedule. Stay connected. CCRI has had many success stories…yours could be one of them.

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