SPCH 102: Public Speaking

Course Description

Speech 102 explores the fundamentals of organizing, preparing, and delivering speeches in a variety of public forums.

Course Design

SPCH 102 is a skills-building course and allows students repeated opportunities to work through the speech process. The assignment-based design engages Blooms Taxonomy from comprehension to creation a minimum of five times. Reading, discussion, and quizzes occur throughout the course to enhance memory and understanding of core concepts. Peer coaching and/or review, as well as post-presentation journaling enhance analysis and evaluation.

For online version, students should speak to a live audience in a public setting for the informative and persuasive assignments. Live audiences should consist of no less than five adults or peers. If space is available, online instructors may explore a hybrid model.

Sample Syllabus

Required Course Materials

O’Haire, D., Rubenstein, H., & Stewart, R. (2019). A pocket guide to public *speaking (6th ed.). Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Using LaunchPad with the 6th edition textbook is optional; however, you should use whichever option you requested for submission into myolemiss.

  • If you asked for LaunchPad, the ISBN for LaunchPad was entered into myolemiss. Launchpad includes the eBook and six-month access.

  • If you asked for the book only, the ISBN for a print copy was entered into MyOleMiss.

You may share all relevant purchasing options for your course on your syllabus. See “Syllabus Sample” for options.

Assignment Sequence

The following series of speech assignments allow students to repeat the process of conceiving, researching, organizing, developing, practicing, and presenting original speeches throughout the course. The short, informative, and persuasive sequence is recommended. The group presentation may be sequenced at the discretion of the instructor (after practice/short presentations are completed).

  1. Two short presentations to orient students to the process (2-4 minutes).

  2. Informative presentation, furthering research and analysis of self, audience, and topic, as well as increasing organizational expectations (5-7 minutes).

  3. Persuasive presentation to explore the fundamentals of argumentation, as well as enhance content evaluation and organizational skills.

  4. Small group presentations add problem-solving and group communication to the speech process. For online sections, the assignment should focus on group communication/problem-solving and have a presentation outcome or element. Examples include, but are not limited to: 1) a kiosk-style presentation to which all group members contribute or 2) a live, group meeting with individual presentations by members addressing a common goal.

Note: More short presentations (under 5 minutes) may be added wherever instructors find the assignments most useful for their individual curriculum.

Assignment Weights

  • Short presentations (Intro, Special Occasion, Impromptu, etc.) should equal 10% of semester/term grade.

  • Long Presentations (Informative, Persuasive, and Group) should equal 50% of semester/term grade.

  • Written Assessments (Quizzes, Tests, Outlines, etc.) should equal 20-25% of semester/term grade.

  • Participation (Journals, Peer reviews, Discussions, etc.) should equal 15-20% of semester/term grade.

Core Assignment Descriptions


Presentation of 5-7 minutes should provide relevant, accurate information. Evidence of audience orientation, coherent organization, effective language, verbal fluency, purposeful expression, and sound research are required. Delivery should be extemporaneous. Students should verbally cite a minimum of five, credible sources.


Presentation of 6-8 minutes should build argumentation targeting a specific audience/context. Presentations should include clearly stated thesis and claims, adequate evidence, sound reasoning, audience orientation, purposeful movement, effective organization, and expressive/connective delivery. Students should verbally cite a minimum of five, credible sources.


General purpose may be for informing, persuading, entertaining, or addressing a special occasion. The presentation should be relevant, unified, organized, polished, and extemporaneous.


Normed rubrics for informative and persuasive assignments are available in the assignment library. Using the rubric to determine grades maintains consistency across sections of DWR courses. Please use normed categories and criteria to enhance assessment outcomes. If you wish to add categories or criteria you may, but please do not remove any. Other rubric assignments are also available in the assignment library but are not normed.

Please share rubrics with students at the beginning of each unit. The goal is to provide grades and feedback to students within one week of presentations.