48C:001:27 Oral Communication

New information will appear in pink.

meets from 3:30-4:45 TTh in Lang 223

Catherine H. Palczewski, Ph.D.

e-mail: palczewski@uni.edu

office: Lang 341, x32714

office hours:

Tuesday: 10:30-12:00

Thursday: 11:00-12:30

I also am available for quick questions at the following times (when other students have scheduled regular meetings with me):

Tues 1:00-1:30

Weds 11:00-11:30, 2:00-2:30

Thurs 10:30-11:00

Lang 218 debate office hours:

Weds: 4:15-6:15

If none of these times work, feel free to call or email to make an appointment.


Weeks at a glance:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9

Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Final

Purpose: This course is a survey course designed to assist you in increasing your knowledge and skills in employing verbal and nonverbal communication messages in a variety of settings (i.e., intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and public contexts). By studying the process of communication and applying communication theory and principles to diverse real-life situations, you will have an opportunity to practice and analyze communication skills in various communication contexts. In order to do this, this course involves both speaking and writing assignments throughout the semester.

Goals: At the conclusion of the course it is expected that students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in several core areas. Specifically, students should be able to:

1. Create and present well-organized, well-delivered speeches.

2. Use effective audience analysis to communicate in interpersonal, group, and public situations.

3. Use research support to make a persuasive argument.

4. Use appropriate visual aids and/or technology to enhance communication.

5. Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical responsibilities of communicators in public, interpersonal, and group situations.

6. Work constructively in groups to solve problems and accomplish tasks by applying specific group communication concepts and processes.

7. Identify how the process of perception works in everyday life.

8. Critically analyze and interpret verbal and nonverbal messages.

9. Identify specific strategies for how interpersonal relationships begin, are maintained and end.

10. Apply interpersonal conflict concepts to personal interactions.

11. Demonstrate an understanding of language bias/prejudice and its impact on the communication process.

12. Demonstrate an understanding of culture and its impact on the communication process.

13. Demonstrate effective listening in a variety of contexts.

Liberal Arts Core: As part of UNI's Liberal Arts Core (Category V), along with the required College Reading & Writing and Math courses, this course has the following proficiencies it hopes to develop/increase in students (cf. liberal arts website at http://fp.uni.edu/lac/):

1. Communication: Students should be able to speak, listen, read, write, and view effectively, adapting appropriately to the audience and material at hand.

2. Information: Students should be able to use both traditional and modern technologies to access, analyze, and manage information.

3. Thinking: Students should be able to address complex issues and problem situations with sound reasoning, reflective judgment, creative imagination, and a critical, analytical bent of mind.

4. Interpersonal: Students should understand human emotions, motivations, and idiosyncrasies, and be able to participate effectively in relationships, groups, and citizenship activities.

5. Quantitative: Students should be able to make effective use of quantitative data, and to intelligently apply relevant mathematical and statistical concepts and methods on appropriate occasions. (http://fp.uni.edu/lac/goals.htm)


Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. (2004). Communication: Principles for a Lifetime (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Additional reading items will be electronically linked to the syllabus.

Assignments: points total 100.

1) Exams

A. Test 1 (10 points): Communication basics, verbal, nonverbal, listening, adapting: September 16

B. Test 2 (10 points): Developing, Organizing, and Delivering Informative speeches, October 14

C. Test 3 (10 points): Persuasion, Interpersonal and Group, November 23

2) Individual presentations: The class will determine a general topic on which all class speeches are to be focused. The purpose of the class topic is two-fold: 1) it means you have to adapt to an educated audience and cannot rely totally on your topic's idiosyncrasies to keep their attention, and 2) it enables you to share research, both between your own speeches and with each other. In addition, once you pick a more specific speech topic for your own speeches, both of your speeches will need to be on that topic. Structuring a speech as informative or persuasive is, itself, a persuasive choice. This assignment should expose the different choices in terms of tone, evidence, and structure that one makes depending on whether you choose to appear to be informing or persuading. For example, say the class chooses the topic of global warming. Your informative speech could be about the Kyoto Protocol: what it is, who has signed, what effect it might have, and the presidential candidate's positions on it. Your persuasive speech could defend the Bush administration's decision to not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that it is unfair and would cripple the U.S. economy.

All speeches and presentations must be given on the day assigned. If you work out a mutually agreeable trade with another class-member, that is fine.

Speeches may be delivered from an outline, notes, or a script . . . but your grade will be affected by your choice of style. A very formal speech might need a script; an informal speech would look silly delivered from a prepared text. A detailed outline is the usually the best option. Speeches do not need to be memorized. Persuasive speeches will have a question and answer period immediately following.

On the day of the speech, all speakers need to turn in a detailed outline prior to the speech (see link for an example) and a 2 page self-critique. Tips for outlining are located at this link. The self-critique should detail what the speaker hopes to accomplish and why the speaker chose the methods (the seven elements of the rhetorical act: persona, thesis/purpose, tone, evidence, structure, audience, strategy) that s/he did. The critique should also include an assessment of the rhetorical situation (problems and resources arising from the speaker, the subject/purpose, and the audience). Make sure that you use the elements of descriptive analysis to describe the rhetorical situation when writing your self-critique.

Grading: Speeches are graded with the following criteria, in no particular order:

1) delivery, 2) use of evidence, 3) organization , 4) introduction/transitions/ conclusion, 5) outline, 6) self-critique, 7) question and answer period, 8) inventiveness, 9) appropriate choices, 10) preparation outline. The self-critique, in many ways, is the most important element. It demonstrates to me that you are self-aware of the choices you made in preparing the speech.

A. Informative speech (10 points): October 5, 7, 12. Speech length: 6 minutes. This speech is to demonstrate your ability to organize and present facts in an interesting and logical manner, therefore organization is weighted heavily in the grading of this speech. The speech is not to be an overt defense of a policy position, nor should it be an overt attempt at persuasion or a celebration of a particular person or value. These things may happen at a subtle level, and if you intend them to happen, note it in your self-critique.

This speech is:

1. a coherent description of a person, place, situation, policy, nation, culture or government action. The description should provide the audience with enough information to have a relatively complete understanding of the thing described.

2. objective in tone. Even though persuasion is inevitable, one may assume the persona of an objective observer so that the audience will find you credible. Note choices made in language and evidence so that the tone (attitude toward the subject) appears objective.

3. bound by a thesis statement. You should present an umbrella statement that functions as an organizing heuristic. Think of a single word, place, person or facet that accurately encapsulates the thing you are describing.

4. a mixture of various types of evidence. Descriptions that exclusively rely on figures and statistics are boring. Add color. Vividness is a good thing.

5. organized.

Bottom line: You should give the audience insight into something. You are not to exhort the audience to action. You are to increase the audience's awareness or understanding: create a virtual experience, explain, and at most mildly alter perspective.

B. Persuasive speech (15 points): October 26, 28, November 2, 4. Speech length: 8 minutes, followed by a short question and answer period. A policy speech is based on Aristotle's notion of deliberative speech, which asks what should be done. This speech is unabashedly persuasive. This is a speech of advocacy, so the primary purpose is to take a position, articulate that position, and then argue for it. If your position is unclear, then you have failed to adequately complete the assignment. Persuasive speeches, by their nature, invite disagreement and controversy, so during the question period, be prepared to defend unarticulated assumptions as well as to argue in more detail those aspects not developed in the speech.

This speech is:

1. more reliant on evidence from authority than other types of speeches. You need to find experts who support the position you take in this speech.

2. organized around the stock issues: problem (significance), cause (inherency), solution (solvency), desirability.

3. going to need to address resistance from within the audience. You can do this by: creating identification between yourself and the audience by calling on common values, goals, or backgrounds; starting with areas of agreement before addressing areas of disagreement; beginning with principles that are agreed upon, and then arguing for a change in the way the principle is enacted; avoiding totalistic and inflammatory language; using humor to disarm the audience; and acknowledging the problems with your proposal as well as the alternatives and then explaining why your proposal still is superior.

4. most dependent on clearly articulated arguments (claims supported by relevant evidence).

Bottom line: You should attempt, through reasoned argument, to influence the way the audience thinks or acts about something. You are not required to "change minds" -- only to get them to think more deeply. This speech should attempt to alter perspective, alter or maintain belief, or alter or incite action. More than any other speech, this one asks something of the audience, and so attention to making smart rhetorical choices, given who composes your audience, is essential.

3) Interpersonal assessment paper (10 points) 4 pages. Due November 30. In this paper, you should analyze an interpersonal exchange that dealt with a task. In other words, I am not interested in an exchange that was part of relational communication, but instead am interested in how interpersonal communication affects task completion. You should apply as many of the concepts from the readings as are applicable. If the exchange was a positive one, indicate why and discuss whether the techniques used in this exchange will work in others. If the exchange was a negative one, indicate why and what could be done differently the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

4) Group assignment: papers and presentation are due

A. Group presentation (10 points): December 7, 9, 14. You will be assigned to groups of 4-5, and will be responsible for a group presentation that lasts 20-30 minutes. Key to this presentation is using the group format. A series of speeches, that just happen to be delivered while you are standing next to others whom you have named members of your group, is not sufficient to garner an A. You have a unique rhetorical resource as a result of the group format. Use it creatively. All of the skills developed in the section on informative and persuasive speeches should be in evidence here as well. This means you will need a presentation outline, oral citations, a sense of organization, evidence, solid delivery, etc. Presentation dates are: December 7, 9, 14.

You will need to turn in a preparation outline for the entire presentation at the beginning of class. Although different people may be assigned to work on different parts of the outline, as a group you should put the parts together to make sure the organization works and that transitions are present. A self-critique is not required.

B. Group assessment paper (5 points) 5 pages. Due December 14. This paper should assess your experience in the group. You should apply as many of the concepts from the readings as are applicable. If the group experience was a positive one, indicate why and discuss whether the techniques used in this group will work in others. If the group experience was a negative one, indicate why and what could be done differently the next time you find yourself in a similar group situation. The focus should be on group dynamics, and not on interpersonal exchanges. If an interpersonal exchange was central to the group dynamic, make sure you explain how using the concepts provided in the text. The assessment should focus on the group dynamics leading up to the presentation, not of the presentation itself.

5) Peer assessments of presentations (10 points): For each presentation made by another student in the class (informative, persuasive, group), you are to write up a short commentary. Assessments will be turned in at the end of the class period during which the presentation was delivered. It should be in the following format.

Your name:

Presenter's name:

1. Style

A. Something done well

B. Area for improvement

2. Content

A. Something done well

B. Area for improvement

6) Discussion: In-class discussion: (10 points). A full description of in class discussion grading criteria is available by following the discussion link. Also, students will be assigned to initiate discussion by highlighting some concept in the book, and either reading an additional scholarly article about it, looking up a reference from the book, or finding an example to bring to class that illustrates the concept.


General Information: this link explains late assignment, ADA, and other pertinent policies governing course management.



Week 1: August 24, 26: Foundations of communication and self-awareness

key terms: (note: you are responsible for all the key terms indicated in the glossary provided in the text's margins -- what follows are terms for things discussed in class, but not covered in the text or where a more complete definition is offered than in the text) aesthetic, effective, ethical, truthful criteria for judging communication; range of persuasive effects; discursive v. presentational communication; rhetoric; persona; gender/sex; gender is NOT a simple division by two; definition of the situation: counting, coherence, closure

read: BBI 1-2

discussion questions:

1. Compare and contrast communication as action, interaction, and transaction

2. Give at least three reasons it is important to you personally to study communication, making reference to the five fundamental principles of communication outlined in Chapter 1.

3. Provide one example each for any three of the key terms provided in the book's marginal glossary.


Week 2: August 31, September 2: Verbal and non-verbal messages

key terms: truncated passives; language reflects, selects, and deflects reality; terministic screens

read: BBI 3-4

discussion questions:

1. Identify and describe, using an example for each, 3 ways that words have power.

2. Provide an example of biased language for each of the following: gender, sexual orientation, age, class, ability.

3. What is your "touch ethic"? What experiences growing up contributed to your standards for appropriate and inappropriate touch?

4. Provide an example of two words that denote the same thing but have very different connotations.

5. Visit a professor's office. What do its content and location indicate?

 discussion starter:

Aug 31:

Sept 2:


Week 3: September 7, 9: Listening and adapting

key terms: world traveler v. arrogant perceiver; white privilege; xenophobia; feminine style of rhetoric; sex inclusive v. sex neutral, six techniques of adaptation

read: BBI 5-6

discussion questions:

1. Choose one of the following and explain the difference between them, offering specific examples to justify your response: a.) high-context and low-context cultures, b.) decentralized and centralized cultures, c.) individualist and collectivist cultures.

2. Think of an example of where you engaged in intercultural communication. How could you have made the exchange more positive? In particular, think about the different techniques of adaptation that could have been helpful

  discussion starter:

Sept 7: Lisa Krogman

Sept 7:

Sept 9: Tyler Bleckwehl

Sept 9: Erin Harpenau


Week 4: September 14, 16: Review and exam 1

September 14: review

September 16: test 1

 discussion starter:

Sept 14: Alexis Wumkes

Sept 14: Jenaleigh Dague

Sept 14:


Week 5: September 21, 23: Developing and organizing a speech

key terms: outlines as subordinate, coordinate and mutually exclusive; 7 elements of a speech; rhetorical situation link; how outlines argue; Toulmin model; enactment

read: BBI 11-12

discussion questions:

1. Explain some causes of speaker anxiety and offer at least three strategies for managing it.

2. Which organizational pattern would you use for a speech about Juggling? Explain why.

3. Identify and describe at least 3 TYPES of supporting material (e.g. definition, analogy, statistic, etc.). Why would you use different types of proof to defend different types of claims?

4. Find an argument in your research and diagram it, bringing the example to class.

Helpful hint: you should start researching the topic for your speeches now.

 discussion starter:

Sept 21: Cory Ireland

Sept 21: Emily Neary

Sept 23: Carlos Ruiz

Sept 23: Jared Foster


Week 6: September 28, 30 (WI?): Delivery and informative speeches

key terms: style (formality, precision, literalness, redundancy); strategies of proof (rhetorical question, a fortiori, enumeration, refutation, definition); strategies to animate and vivify (description, personification and visualization, enactment, literary); strategies to change connotation (labeling, slogans, metaphors, allusion, identification)

read: BBI 13-14

discussion questions:

1. Which mode of delivery do you think is the most useful in most speaking situations? Which do you think YOU will have to use most, based on your future career choice?

2. Identify one aspect of VOCAL delivery and one aspect of PHYSICAL delivery you think is important and justify your response.

3. In what type of situations would an "informative" speech be more persuasive than a "persuasive" speech.

4. Write a description of one of the following:

a. the U.S.-Mexican border

b. the difference between the right to have something and actually having it

c. the historical relationship between men and women

d. your generation

 discussion starter:

Sept 28: Peter Hill

Sept 28: Georgia Meeker

Sept 30: Phil Cherion

Sept 30: Erin Bidwell


Week 7: October 5, 7: Informative speeches

 October 5:
1. Georgia Meeker

2. Cory Ireland

3. Phil Cherion

4. Maurice Menzi

5. Tyson Otto

6. Michael Jungblut

7. Peter Hill

8. Emily Nodorft


October 7:

1. Erin Bidwell

2. Ben Stewart

3. Nan Jungjaturapit

4. Alexis Wumkes

5. Emily Neary

6. Eli Kilburg

7. Paul Foster

8. Jared Foster


Week 8: October 12, 14 (MN): Informative speeches and exam 2

October 12:
1. Mark McBride

2. Carlos Ruiz

3. Katie Loutsch

4. Sunni Swarbrick

5. Lisa Krogman

6. Tyler Bleckwehl

7. Jenaleigh Dague

8. Brian Fiddelke

October 14: test 2


Week 9: October 19, 21: Persuasive speeches

key terms: argument; persuasive continuum; questions (of fact, value, policy, definition); stock issues

read: BBI 15

 discussion questions:

1. What rhetorical problems and obstacles do you face? Use the rhetorical situation link to help outline considerations you will take when crafting your speech

2. Pick an issue. Write propositions of fact, value, policy and definition for it.

3. Identify the logical fallacies in the passages on page 395 at the end of the chapter.

 discussion starter:

Oct 19: Brian Fiddelke

Oct 19: Tyson Otto

Oct 21: Emily Nodorft

Oct 21: Eli Kilburg


Week 10: October 26, 28: Persuasive speeches

October 26:
1. Erin Bidwell

2. Brian Fiddelke

3. Alexis Wumkes

4. Emily Neary

5. Eli Kilburg

6. Jared Foster

October 28:

1. Mark McBride

2. Jenaleigh Dague trade

3. Katie Loutsch

4. Sunni Swarbrick

5. Lisa Krogman

6. Tyler Bleckwehl

Week 11: November 2, 4: Persuasive speeches

November 2:
1. Tyson Otto

2. Michael Jungblut

3. Carlos Ruiz trade

4. Emily Nodorft

5. Nan Jungjaturapit

6. Georgia Meeker


People who have indicated interest in redoing their speeches: Maurice, Nan, Jenaleigh, Katie Loutsch, Mark McBride, Jared, Sunni

1.Cory Ireland

2. Maurice Menzi

3. Phil Cherion

4. Ben Stewart

5. Peter Hill

Week 12: November 9, 11 (NCA): Interpersonal communication and Relationships

read: BBI 7-8

discussion questions:

1. What is self-disclosure and how does it serve to develop intimacy in relationships?

2. Explain briefly how your own Johari Window would look if you were to draw it today.

3. Do you think interpersonal relationships necessarily follow the 5 stages of escalation and de-escalation described in chapter 8? Explain why or why not.

4. The server at a restaurant asks how everything was as you are paying your check. In truth, your food was cold and the service was slow. Give an example of an nonassertive, assertive and aggressive response to the server.

5. Given what you learned in this chapter, outline how you would approach asking a professor either for a non-penalized extension on a major assignment or how you would challenge a grade you believed to be too low.

  discussion starter:

Nov 9: Nanc Jungjaturapit

Nov 9: Paul Foster

November 11: Guest lecture by Professor April Chatham-Carpenter


Week 13: November 16, 18: Understanding and enhancing group performance

read: BBI 9-10

discussion questions:

1. Describe a group and a team that you are a part of (or have observed closely). Do they match the text definitions of group and team?  

2. Describe a group you are currently involved in and explain whether or not that group has gone through all of Fisher's 4 Phases of group Development.

3. What is the advantage of structuring group problem-solving according to the Dewey Method?

4. Which of the leadership approaches (functional, trait, stylistic, situational or transformational) explained in this chapter do you think is best for describing leadership in groups?

5. Which of the three styles of leadership do you prefer? Which would you most prefer working with? Why?

discussion starter:

Nov 16: Michael Jungblut

Nov 16: Sunni Swarbrick

Nov 18: Katie Lootsch

Nov 18: Maurice Menzi


Week 14: November 23, 25 (no class on 25th, fall break): Test 3

 November 23: test 3


Week 15: November 30, December 2: Group work

November 30: Interpersonal paper due

 discussion starter:

Nov 30: Benjamin Stewart

Dec 2: Mark McBride


Week 16: December 7, 9: Group Presentations

December 7: Erin, Mike, Lisa, Georgia and Mark

December 9: Jared, Emily, Emily, Juan, Sunni


FINALS WEEK: December 14, Tues, 3:00-4:50: Group presentations and final group paper due.

December 14
1. Jenaleigh, Nan, Katie, Maurice

2. Brian, Eli, Tyson, Alexis


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