Course Description

Greg Keller

McCutcheon, Randall             Speech
The textbook will only be used in class.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class is designed to introduce the process of human communication. Students will learn and practice communication principles, aspects of public speaking, nonverbal communication, interpersonal and intrapersonal communication, and group communication.

This class is required for graduation. That means you must pass Oral Comm in order to graduate. Failure to complete either/both of the two major speeches (informative and persuasive) will result in automatic failure of the entire course, even if you would otherwise have a passing grade. (No pressure.) If you have any special needs I need to be aware of, or reasonable requests to help you be a more successful student, please do not hesitate to come and speak with me. My ultimate goal is to help you succeed in the classroom.

COURSE GOAL: Public speaking can sometimes be quite nerve wracking, but communication is essential to every day life and many career choices. The goal of this course is for students to become familiar with the communication process, build better listening and speaking skills, learn various methods for research, to be able to critically evaluate communication, and to understand how it plays a role in all aspects of life.

SUGGESTED MATERIALS: A three-ring binder and a notebook just for this course is highly suggested. I have some for your use, or you can provide your own. Note checks will be done periodically and factor into the overall grade of the course.

We will have various handouts, worksheets, notes, and drafts that are all designed to assist with the course; being organized will be a great help. KEEP EVERYTHING !!


  • Communication Process
  • Writing strategies and devices
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Listening
  • Mini-speeches teaching parts of communication processes, speech writing, and presentation skills
    • Introduction, Storytelling, Tribute, etc.
  • Researching methods and practice
  • Outlining
  • Informative Speech – Required to pass the class and graduate
  • Persuasive Speech – Required to pass the class and graduate
  • Peer and Self Evaluations/Reflections
  • Comprehensive Midterm/Final Exam
  • Speech Binder/Folder- contains notes elements of speech writing, evaluations, and work throughout the semester.

ATTENDANCE: This is a participation class and attendance is necessary for your success. This means you are expected to be in class every day, to participate, and to be a respectful audience member and classmate. If you must be absent from class, first talk to a classmate to explain what happened while you were gone and then come to me if need any further information or materials. Check the blog for specific assignments.

TARDINESS: Students are expected to be on time for this class. It is disrespectful to others when you arrive late and interrupt what is happening in the classroom. In the employment world, lateness is rarely tolerated. Be on time. It affects your learning, and therefore it affects your grade. The school policy of consequences and actions will be followed.

LATE WORK: Late work on regular assignments will be downgraded severely. Depending on the assignment, whole letter grades may be deducted each day it is late. I understand that there are absences that cannot be avoided, so certain adjustments may be made after considering the individual circumstances. You will have the number of days you were absent (if excused) to get the assignment turned in for full credit.

Late work will not be accepted at all on outline and draft assignments that are turned in after the presentation.  If you miss the deadline for your outline, for example, it doesn’t do any good to turn it in after your speech has been given or after you have written your draft. You need to use the outline to write your draft and organize your speech.  Every grade counts!

PARTICIPATION: A communication class must be a safe environment for all students. It is expected that during classroom activities and discussions students will work together and with the teacher to create an environment conducive to learning. Racial, ethnic, religious, gender, or sexual orientation slurs/comments are not allowed in this classroom and could result in referrals, administrative meetings, and parent/guardian involvement.

PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is the undocumented use of someone else’s ideas, words, or sentences. To present another’s work as your own, even if paraphrasing, without proper credit IT IS PLAGIARISM. Plagiarism also includes “recycling” your own papers or speeches previously submitted elsewhere and then resubmitted as “new” in this class.

Any form of plagiarism will result in a call to your parents, an F for the assignment,  and a report to an administrator. In some cases it may mean failure of the entire course. 


90-100= A
80-89= B
70-79= C
60-69= D

Your behavior as an audience member during other students’ speeches may also affect your grade.

You may redo any of the speeches during the semester if you want a higher grade on it, however, you MUST at least attempt your speech on the day that you are scheduled to give it in order to be able to redo it. If you do not make an attempt at giving the speech on the day you are scheduled, you will receive a zero for that speech and can NOT make it up or redo it. If you are absent on the day you are scheduled to give your speech, it must be an excused absence. If you are truant, you get a zero for the speech and can not make it up. 

You will have only ONE WEEK from the date of the initial speech to redo it. You must schedule a time with me either after school or during the day to redo your speech, and you must also have someone with you as an audience member during your presentation. This can be a friend, classmate, or teacher.

I will be video recording all speeches, and I will upload your speech to your Google Drive, so that you can see how you did. They will not be available to anyone else. I will conference with you about each speech, and we will go over what you did well and what you need to work on.

CELL PHONES, ELECTRONICS, & DISTRACTORS: Please turn off and put away all cell phones, iPods, iPads, portable gaming devices, any other electronic devices, or other distracters (other course work, backpacks, etc.) while you are in this classroom so they do not interrupt the communication process. The school cell phone policy will be followed.

FOOD & DRINK: Food and drink are NOT allowed during class at any time. If you bring these items to class put them away and out of sight before the bell rings. These items can disturb speakers, speeches, and other communication situations.

Thank you for being considerate of others and have a good semester!