HU 209 Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Winter 1999
Instructor: Jennifer Sheppard

Office: Walker 146
Phone: 487-3275
Office Hours: W 1-4 and by arrangement

Required Text:

Public Speaking: Challenges & Choices (1999) by Dan O’Hair & Rob Stewart

Course Description:
Oral communication skills are critical in the contemporary world. This course builds a repertoire of basic public speaking skills including organizing messages, analyzing audiences, using supporting materials, listening critically, and developing language strategies and delivery techniques. The goal of this course is to give you opportunities for developing and refining your public speaking skills.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop competence in a repertoire of basic presentation skills
  • Learn how to organize and use rhetorical devices for persuasive, effective speaking
  • Develop & improve critical listening and thinking skills
  • Understand how context & audience shape presentation demands

This class is designed to facilitate learning through participation, hence your attendance is necessary. Your grade will be impacted by more than two absences. Any unplanned, unexcused absence on a day you are scheduled to speak is unacceptable and will result in you not being able to get above a C on that particular speech. Not being prepared, but being present will have the same consequences.

As a courtesy to me and your classmates, be on time. All speeches and written assignments must be handed in on time to avoid a lowered graded.

Assignment Completion:
You must complete ALL assignments to pass this course.


  • Introduction speech: 5%
  • Narrative speech: 10%
  • Co-cultural speech: 15%
  • Informative speech: 20%
  • Persuasive speech: 20%
  • Reading responses: 15%
  • Written evaluations: 15%
  • All speeches must be delivered extemporaneously to be considered for an “A”

You will be required to turn in three typed outlines for each speech. The first outline will go to the peer who will evaluate your speech. The second outline will be used by me to take notes during your speech (I will keep this outline on file). The third outline will be returned to you with my observations, suggestions for future speeches, and a grade. The format of these outlines will be different for each speech, so it is essential that you read the relevant chapters in your text. The quality of your outline is part of your grade for that speech.

Peer Evaluations:
You will be required to do one peer evaluation for each type of speech we do. Peer evaluations should demonstrate your ability to listen effectively and to evaluate critically what the speaker says and how she says it. It should reflect that you are aware of the material we have read and discussed up until that point. And finally, it should provide useful feedback to your peers which will help shape their future presentations. These evaluations must be turned in during the following class period.

Reading Responses:
Throughout the quarter you will be asked to read and respond to chapters from our text. Specific instructions for each assignment will be given, but in general these responses should illustrate your reflection on the material and how you plan to incorporate it into your own speaking projects.

Speaking Aids:
While not required for your assignments, computerized aids are expected by today’s technologically-sophisticated audiences. You are encouraged to use WWW resources in your search for supporting materials. You are also encouraged to use computer-enhanced presentations if you have access to such equipment.

MTU’s Policy on Discrimination and Harassment
MTU complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. If you have a disability and need reasonable accommodation for equal access to education and services at MTU, please call Dr. Gloria Melton, Associate Dean of Students (7-2212). For other concerns about discrimination, you may contact your advisor, department chair, or the Affirmative Action Office (7-3310).

MTU’s Policy on Academic Integrity
Plagiarism and cheating are serious academic offenses. MTU’s Academic Integrity Policy defines it as “knowingly copying another’s work or ideas and calling them one’s own or not giving proper credit or citation,” and it covers copying sections or entire papers from printed or electronic sources as well as handing in papers written by students for other classes or purchasing academic papers. Plagiarism and cheating are not only dishonest but cheat you out of learning, the primary reason you are here. If you ever have any questions about this issue, please talk with your instructor.