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COMM 2045 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

COMM 2045 - Public Speaking (Section R35)

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to preparing and delivering public speeches, including an emphasis on informative, persuasive and special occasion speaking.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate the following course outcomes.

  • Students are able to distill a primary purpose into a single, compelling statement that is appropriate to the topic, the audience, and the occasion;
  • Students are able to order major points that are appropriate to the topic, the audience and the occasion in a reasonable and convincing manner based on that purpose;
  • Students are able to develop their ideas using rhetorical patterns that are appropriate to the topic, the audience and the occasion (e.g., narration, example, comparison/contrast, classification, cause/effect, definition);
  • Students are able to employ correct diction, syntax, usage, grammar, and mechanics appropriate to the topic, the audience and the occasion;
  • Students are able to manage and coordinate basic information gathered from multiple sources, and appropriate to the topic, the audience and the occasion;
  • Students are able to analyze and evaluate oral and/or written expression by listening and reading critically for elements that reflect an awareness of situation, audience, purpose, and diverse points of view;
  • Students participate in the writing and speaking processes that include procedures such as planning, organizing, composing, revising, and editing.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Acceptable placement scores or completion of all Learning Support competencies in reading and writing

Course Topics:
  • Fundamentals of the communication process, public speaking, and ethical communication
  • Choosing Topics
  • Organizing
  • Outlining
  • Presentation Aids
  • Research
  • Media Literacy
  • Delivery
  • Listening
  • Personal Story, Informative and Persuasive Speeches
Specific Course Requirements:
  • To be eligible to present a research-based speech (Informative or Persuasive), you MUST submit an outline in the dropbox. That enables to check the originality of your work. Your non-originality score (properly cited material) must be under 20% in order to be eligible to present. No plagiarism is acceptable. Failure to submit a plagiarism-free outline into the dropbox before your speech may result in a zero for both the outline and the speech presentation.
  • This is a public speaking course; therefore, you will need to arrange your own audience for each speech.
    • You must have an audience of at least 5 adults (age 16+) for the Personal Story Speech, Informative Speech, and Persuasive Speech. All attendees must be present in the same room as you for the duration of your speech.
    • If your audience includes only 4 adults, 10% will be deducted from your speech grade.
    • If your audience includes only 3 adults, 20% will be deducted from your speech grade.
    • If your audience includes 0-2 adults, your speech will NOT be graded. You cannot earn points for a speech that does not meet the minimum audience requirements.
  • Speech points may be deducted from your speech for failing to meet the filming requirements. You must address all instructions for filming (such as lighting and noise control) and must show the speaker’s whole body (or knees up) and hands. Refer to Filming Requirements.
  • Speech points may be reduced by 1 point for every 15 seconds under or over the time frame.
  • What you wear does matter and will impact the audience's impression of you, how much they think you prepared for your speech, and how knowledgeable they think you are about the topic. For each of your speeches, you will be evaluated on your ability to use nonverbal communication to enhance the speech; part of that evaluation will be your choice of attire. Refer to Attire Requirements.
  • More information about each speech can be found in each of the Sub-Modules.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

None. There is no required textbook to purchase for this course. This course utilizes Open Educational Resources (OER), so content is provided directly in the course shell or via links to additional free online resources.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

Letter grades for this course will be assigned based on the following scale.

Point RangeAssigned Grade
900 - 1,000A
800 - 899B
700 - 799C
600 - 699D
under 599 pointsF

Graded Items

10 Discussions, @ 20 points each 200
3 Peer Review Discussions, @ 25 points each75
Personal Story Speech70
Informative Speech 100
Persuasive Speech200
Personal Story Speech Script 30

Informative and Persuasive Speech Outlines @ 50 points each


3 Self-Reviews of Practice Speeches, @ 25 points each 

3 Exams, @ 50 points each150
Total Points1,000
Grading Scale:
Assignments and Projects:
  • Students are expected to read AND watch all videos found in the Readings & Resources section of each Sub-Module. The Self-Check quizzes are designed to gauge your understanding of the content in each Sub-Module. An exam based on course content is at the end of each Module.
  • Discussion board posting assignments, including responses to classmates’ posts, are due in most Sub-Modules.
  • Students are expected to practice speeches and map out an action plan for improvement during the Self-Review of Practice assignments.
  • Public speeches are required for this course; that includes research, outline, delivery (with a live audience), and upload of each of the three speeches.
  • Peer Reviews allow for peer critique of final submitted speeches.
Class Participation:
  • Students should visit the Coffee Shoppe Discussion Board regularly to ask questions, to read and/or participate in questions initiated by other students, and to see announcements from the instructor.
  • Students will be graded on discussion board postings: both original posts and responses to other students.
  • Students will watch and critique classmates’ speeches.
  • Students will complete other module work.
Late Policy:

No late discussion board posting assignments will be accepted. Graded discussion boards will be open for one week, and students should be discussing the same topics in the same time period. Instructor approval for extensions (on assignments other than discussion boards) is more likely to be granted (but not guaranteed) if requests

1. come before the deadline rather than after;

2. are clear, courteous, and specific (naming the assignment and the requested due date); and

3. are not part of a pattern of missed due dates.

In the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as illness, that will result in multiple missed deadlines, contact the instructor with a proposal (subject to approval) for alternative deadlines. Unless an extension has been granted, assignments submitted late will lose 20% per day; after 3 days, work is worth 0 points.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on November 12, 2020