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Public Speaking Course (Basic Course) Information

Communications Studies Introductory Speech Courses
As noted in KU’s undergraduate catalog, “rhetorical and logical skills are considered hallmarks of educated persons.” To be able to speak effectively in public—as a citizen, a professional, an organizational member, or a student—requires a clear sense of purpose, resourceful thinking, an ability to adapt ideas to others, and confidence to express those ideas. Although rhetorical skills are often reduced to the flash and dazzle of mesmerizing delivery, there is far more to the art of public speaking than well-timed pauses and stellar eye contact. Good speaking is good thinking— reasonable, well-informed, creative, and flexible. Public speaking is not easy (as suggested by the large number of people who dread speaking in public), but it’s well worth the time and effort required to master the principles.

Contact Information

Communication Studies Department Office
102 Bailey Hall

Basic Course Office
117 Bailey Hall
Coms130@ku.edu
Coms132@ku.edu

Cassandra Bird                                             Gretchen Montgomery      
Bailey 117A                                                     Bailey 118
Assistant Basic Course Director                     Assistant Basic Course Director
cassandra.bird@ku.edu                                 gpm@ku.edu

Alexandria Chase                                         Dr. Jay Childers
Bailey 118                                                       Bailey 101
Assistant Basic Course Director                     Basic Course Director
alexandria.chase@ku.edu                              jaychilders@ku.edu

 

COMS 130. Speaker-Audience Communication. 3 Hours. GE22 / U.
Study of rhetorical theory and its application to the preparation, presentation, and criticism of oral discourse in audience situations. Special consideration of listening behavior and of the ethical conduct of speech in a free society. This course fulfills the College argument and reason requirement. LEC.

COMS 131. Speaker-Audience Communication, Honors. 3 Hours. GE22 / U.
The study of rhetorical theory and its application to the preparation, presentation, and criticism of oral discourse in audience situations. Special consideration of listening behavior and of the ethical conduct of speech in a free society. This course fulfills the College argument and reason requirement. This is an honors section of COMS 130 open only to students in the Honors Program. LEC.

COMS 132. Oral Communication for the Professional Schools. 3 Hours. GE22 / H.
Grounded in communication theory, the purpose of this new course is to teach public speaking skills within a professional context. Focus is on the preparation, presentation, and critique of various forms of oral communication, including but not limited to informative, persuasive, and group presentations. Course is restricted to students in the professional schools. LEC.

Communication Exemption Exam

The communication exemption exam is given twice during the academic year—once in the beginning of the fall semester and once in the beginning of the spring semester. The exemption exam is not given during the summer session.

The communication exemption exam has two parts: a written exam over basic communication theory and principles, and an oral presentation of two prepared speeches. Candidates for exemption must pass the written exam in order to qualify for the oral presentations.

The dates of the exemption exam are available in the Department of Communication Studies main office (102 Bailey Hall) by the first day of classes for each semester. Typically, multiple sessions of both the written and oral exams are offered. Students only sign up for one written exam session and one oral exam session.


Dates for Written Exam (Spring 2017): Wednesday, January 18: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Thursday, January 19: 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.


Dates for Oral Exam (Spring 2017): Wednesday, January 25: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Thursday, January 26: 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.


Registering for the Exam

Students wishing to take the communication exemption examination should register in the Department of Communication Studies Basic Course office (117 Bailey Hall). The following is required for registration: Name, Student ID#, Mailing Address, Phone Number, Email Address, and a $20 cash non-refundable fee. No student will be allowed to register for the exemption exam without first paying the $20 fee.

Students must indicate which session of the written exam they will attend on the registration form. (Students do not sign up for the oral exam unless and until they pass the written exam.)

Written Examination Procedures:
Students are encouraged to review the current textbook and handbook for COMS 130 prior to taking the written exam as questions will be based on the material in that book. A limited number of copies are available to check out at the Reserve Desk in the Watson Library.

NOTECourse Reserve materials have shortened loan periods in order to ensure availability to all borrowers. Further, these copies are intended only for the use of students intending to take the communication exemption exam and so will only be available at the Reserve Desk until the last day of the exemption exam.

The written exam has 50 multiple-choice questions, each worth 2 points. The written exam is worth a total of 100 points. Candidates for exemption must pass the written exam with a score of at least 70 to be eligible to continue with the oral presentation portion of the exemption exam.

Exemption Exam Guide [PDF]

Notification of Written Exam Results:

Students will receive the results of the written examination immediately following their written exam session.

If the student has successfully completed the written exam, he/she is eligible to participate in the oral presentation portion of the exemption exam and must sign up for the oral presentation portion at that time. When signing up for the oral presentation, students must also sign a consent form agreeing to have their oral presentations video-recorded as well as the department's statement on academic integrity/misconduct in order to participate in the oral exam.

Oral Examination Procedures:

Candidates for exemption who have passed the written portion of the exemption exam should report to the oral presentation portion thoroughly prepared to present three speeches: one informative speech, one persuasive speech, and one special occasion speech.

During the oral presentation portion, all candidates will give their Informative speeches first. Once those are completed, a brief (5 minute) break will be taken and then all candidates will give their Persuasive Speeches. The students will be allowed another brief break before the final speeches, special occasion, are delivered.

In order to minimize distractions and to provide an audience, all candidates must be on time and will remain until all participating candidates have delivered both of their speeches. The doors will close promptly at the scheduled time for the oral presentations. Courtesy and respect are expected from candidates while sitting in the audience.

NOTEAny candidate who arrives late or leaves early forfeits consideration for exemption.

Likewise, any student who is asked to leave the oral exam session for any reason (e.g. for causing distractions while other candidates are presenting) forfeits consideration for exemption.

All speeches will be video-recorded.

At the conclusion of the each of the candidate's presentations, she/he may be asked questions regarding the content of the speech, asked to clarify a particular point, or asked questions regarding the reasons he/she chose one particular rhetorical device or organizational strategy over another. The speaker should also be prepared to give specific information regarding the sources used in researching the speech topic.

Each candidate will present each of her/his speeches to a panel of two judges who are faculty or instructors in the Communication Studies Department. These judges will grade the speeches according to the criteria on the evaluation form included in the handbook.

In order for a candidate to pass the exemption exam, she/he must receive an average of 80% or higher from BOTH judges. If the two judges disagree (one PASS and one FAIL) then a third judge will watch the video-recording of the speech to break the tie.

Notification of Oral Examination Results:

Candidates will be notified when they may pick up the results of their oral exam from the Communication Studies office (102 Bailey). Results will not be given over the telephone or via email.

If a candidate wishes to see judges' comments, he/she may make an appointment with the Basic Course, coms130@ku.edu).

The Communication Studies office staff will inform the Student Records Office of the names of those who have passed the exam.

Students who do not pass the exemption exam may register to take it one additional time (total of two times). They are also encouraged to enroll in COMS 130.

Guidelines for the Informative Speech

The following guidelines should be followed in preparing and presenting the Informative Speech:          

Informative Nature of Presentation

  • A speech designed to be primarily entertaining or persuasive will not be acceptable.
  • A demonstration/process speech will not be acceptable.

Topic

  • The topic will be chosen by the student.
  • The topic should be appropriate for a college-age audience.

NOTE:   Candidates may direct questions regarding the selection of a topic to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu).

Time Limit

  • The speech should last between 5-7 minutes.
  • The time limit will be rigidly enforced.

Formal (Full-sentence) Outline

  • The outline should be typed/word-processed.
  • Include your name, the topic, and a statement of your specific purpose at the top of the outline.
  • Use a clear and accepted outline format.
  • Include a bibliography with the outline. The bibliography should conform to APA standards.
  • The formal outline must be emailed to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu) before the oral exam session.
  • Bring two hard-copies of the formal outline (w/bibliography) to the oral exam. Present each of the judges with a copy before you begin your presentation.

Sources

  • A minimum of 4 sources must be used and orally cited in the presentation.
  • All sources must be current.
  • All sources cited in the presentation must be included in the bibliography. Likewise, all sources included in the bibliography must be cited in the presentation.

Delivery

  • The speech should be delivered extemporaneously (brief notes on paper or on notecards are acceptable).
  • Memorized or manuscript deliveries will not be acceptable.

Presentational Aids (not required)

  • Presentational aids such as charts, posters, transparencies, or digital slides may be used.
  • The candidate is responsible for seeing that those aids are appropriate and professional.
  • The candidate must make arrangements for presentational equipment with the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu) no less than 24 hours in advance.
  • The candidate must let the judges review any presentational aids prior to his/her speech.

NOTE:  The following may NOT be used as presentational aids: live animals, foods, alcoholic beverages, drugs or drug paraphernalia, firearms, or fire (matches, fireworks, etc.). The judges will have the right to deny the candidate permission to use prohibited presentational aids.

                      Questions regarding the use of presentational aids should be directed to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu).

Guidelines for the Persuasive Speech

The following guidelines should be followed in preparing and presenting the Persuasive Speech:     

Persuasive Nature of Presentation

  • A speech designed to be primarily entertaining or informative will not be acceptable.
  • A demonstration/process speech will not be acceptable.

Topic

  • The topic will be chosen by the student.
  • The topic should be significant, relevant, and appropriate for a college-age audience.

NOTE:   Candidates may direct questions regarding the selection of a topic to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu).

Time Limit

  • The speech should last between 6-8 minutes.
  • The time limit will be rigidly enforced.

Formal (Full-sentence) Outline

  • The outline should be typed/word-processed.
  • Include your name, the topic, and a statement of your specific purpose at the top of the outline.
  • Use a clear and accepted outline format.
  • Include a bibliography with the outline. The bibliography should conform to APA standards.
  • The formal outline must be emailed to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu) before the oral exam session.
  • Bring two hard-copies of the formal outline (w/bibliography) to the oral exam. Present each of the judges with a copy before you begin your presentation.

Sources

  • A minimum of 5 sources must be used and orally cited in the presentation.
  • All sources must be current.
  • All sources cited in the presentation must be included in the bibliography. Likewise, all sources included in the bibliography must be cited in the presentation.

Delivery

  • The speech should be delivered extemporaneously (brief notes on paper or on notecards are acceptable).
  • Memorized or manuscript deliveries will not be acceptable.

Presentational Aids

  • This speech requires the use of one presentation-enhancing visual aid
  • Presentational aids such as charts, posters, transparencies, or digital slides may be used.
  • The candidate is responsible for seeing that those aids are appropriate and professional.
  • The candidate must make arrangements for presentational equipment with the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu) no less than 24 hours in advance.
  • The candidate must let the judges review any presentational aids prior to his/her speech.

NOTE:  The following may NOT be used as presentational aids: live animals, foods, alcoholic beverages, drugs or drug paraphernalia, firearms, or fire (matches, fireworks, etc.). The judges will have the right to deny the candidate permission to use prohibited presentational aids.

                       Questions regarding the use of presentational aids should be directed to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu).

Guidelines for the Special Occasion Speech

The following guidelines should be followed in preparing and presenting the Special Occasion Speech:       

Ceremonial Nature of Presentation

  • A speech designed to be primarily informative or persuasive will not be acceptable.
  • It should be a toast, tribute, or eulogy that follows the content requirements of a special occasion speech as outlined in the text

Topic

  • The topic will be chosen by the student.
  • The topic should be significant, relevant, and appropriate for a college-age audience.

NOTE:   Candidates may direct questions regarding the selection of a topic to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu).

Time Limit

  • The speech should last between 3-5 minutes.
  • The time limit will be rigidly enforced.

Formal Outline (Either full-sentence or manuscript style is acceptable)

  • The outline should be typed/word-processed.
  • Include your name, the topic, and a statement of your specific purpose at the top of the outline.
  • Use a clear and accepted outline format.
  • The formal document must be emailed to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu) before the oral exam session.
  • Bring two hard-copies of the formal outline to the oral exam. Present each of the judges with a copy before you begin your presentation.

Sources

  • Sources are not required for the ceremonial speech

Delivery

  • The speech should be delivered extemporaneously from either a manuscript or full-sentence outline (you are welcome to deliver you speech from brief notes on paper or on notecards if that is more comfortable).
  • Memorized deliveries will not be acceptable.

Presentational Aids (not required)

  • Presentational aids such as charts, posters, transparencies, or digital slides may be used.
  • The candidate is responsible for seeing that those aids are appropriate and professional.
  • The candidate must make arrangements for presentational equipment with the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu) no less than 24 hours in advance.
  • The candidate must let the judges review any presentational aids prior to his/her speech.

NOTE:  The following may NOT be used as presentational aids: live animals, foods, alcoholic beverages, drugs or drug paraphernalia, firearms, or fire (matches, fireworks, etc.). The judges will have the right to deny the candidate permission to use prohibited presentational aids.

                       Questions regarding the use of presentational aids should be directed to the Basic Course (coms130@ku.edu).

Questions

Additional questions regarding exemption from the verbal communication requirement through examination should be addressed to the Basic Course at coms130@ku.edu.

The Communication Studies Department in partnership with Pearson Education is looking for outstanding students!

What:
The Linkugel Speech Competition is a semi-annual public speaking competition in which the top students in COMS 130/131/132 compete for awards and prizes with speeches they have developed for class.

The first Linkugel Speech Competition was held on April 28, 1995. The competition is named in honor of Dr. Wil Linkugel, an Emeritus Professor in Communication Studies, who taught at the University of Kansas from 1956 to 1998.  Dr. Linkugel served in a number of roles at the University including Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Debate, Chair of the Department, and Director of the Basic Course. 

When:
The competition dates are to be determined. Students who take the basic course in the summer are eligible to compete in the fall competition.

Where:
The competition takes place at the beautiful University of Kansas Lawrence campus! The preliminary rounds are hosted in Wescoe and the finals are held in the Woodruff Auditorium of the Kansas Union

Why:
Receiving a nomination (or winning!) is a great item for your resume as it recognizes you as an exceptional speaker and student. Competing also allows you to improve your skills and potentially win prizes.

How:
Two students from each class are nominated by their classmates to compete. If you work hard and practice your speech you have a shot at receiving a nomination. Let your instructor know you are interested in competing.

For more information about the Linkugel Speech Festival email the basic course staff at coms130@ku.edu or follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@LinkugelSpeech).


Advising Information

Faculty Advising times for Summer and Fall 2017
More info (doc)

Colloquium Series
Departmental Awards

Communication Studies Department Awarded Inaugural Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship!
More Info

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