Rhetoric and Public Speaking Syllabus and Tentative Schedule
Rhetoric and Public Speaking
Marcia Vliet Office Hours:
Davis Hall 222 B M W F 8:00 – 9:00; 1:30 – 2:30
Office 574-1382 T 9 :00 – 11 :00
- The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking – Concepts and Tools by Richard
Paul and Linda Elder, The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2008.
- Oral Presentations in the Composition Course; a Brief Guide by Matthew
Duncan and Gustav W. Friedrich, Bedford/St. Martin’s 2006.
- “Rhetoric and Public Speaking Handbook” compiled by Marcia Vliet for
- A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston, 4th edition, Hackett, 2009.
- development of skill in analyzing, assessing, and formulating arguments
- development of skill in understanding the relationships between logic and
- development of skill in organizing and presenting speeches based on these skills and understandings
- to understand the importance of good posture, eye contact, effective gestures,
and other aspects of physicality in public speaking and to demonstrate their usage when speaking
- to understand the importance of resonance, articulation, projection, and
diction and to demonstrate their usage when speaking
- to learn methods to help overcome “stage fright”
- to learn to “speak on your feet” in front of a group
- to understand the ethics of public speaking and to demonstrate them when
- to practice skills associated with using visual aides and instructional
technology to support speeches
- to understand and be able to distinguish between inductive and deductive
reasoning and to utilize reasoning when speaking
- to understand, identify, and learn to avoid the use of fallacies when speaking
- to understand the basic rhetorical principles of oral composition and to
demonstrate their usage when speaking
- to understand the language of rhetoric and public speaking
- to learn to recognize and avoid the use of propaganda when speaking
- to practice organizing and delivering speeches
- to practice critiquing presentations, including your own
- to gain an understanding of how ‘advertisers’ try to influence behavior
The word “attendance” has two meanings and both are pertinent in this class.
To attend means to be physically present, and that is expected absolutely. Having committed to attending this university, attending class becomes your primary “job”. You are expected to sign the attendance sheet at the beginning of each class. This is your responsibility. If you fail to do so, you will be considered absent, so please remember to do this every time you come to class. There are no “excused” absences, so excuses do not matter. Therefore, notes from doctors, Student Services, coaches, directors, your parents, spouse, friends, etc. are neither needed nor desired. You need not call to inform me you will be or have been absent. Whatever the reason, and I realize that sometimes the reasons are very good ones, when you are absent, you have missed whatever was accomplished in class. (This is particularly significant in this class because so much of what we do in class is participatory.) As an adult, you must make choices, and as an adult, you must accept the consequences of the choices you make. That is the way the “real” world works.
Students are allowed to miss the equivalent of one week’s classes (i.e. three
absences) without penalty. Beginning with the fourth absence, however, they may
have their final grade lowered by one letter grade from the earned grade, with an
additional letter drop for each additional absence. Students who miss more than the
equivalent of two weeks’ classes (six absences) may be awarded an F for the
To attend also means to pay attention to, and that is what you must do to succeed in this class. All assignments will be made in class and explained thoroughly there. Listen and ask appropriate questions then. Assignments will not be repeated after class or any time you catch me in the hall, etc.
Come to class on time and plan on staying the entire period. Tardiness or early
departure interrupts others and is both thoughtless and discourteous. Each class will
begin with about five minutes of bureaucratic business, (signing the attendance
sheet, collecting and/or returning papers, etc.) giving you ample time to be present.
Anyone not present within this time will be counted tardy. Once the door is closed,
you will not be allowed into class and will be counted as absent for the day. Please
Note: three tardies equals one absence.
All major speech assignments will be made well in advance of their due dates, so
there is no excuse for them to be late. (The tentative schedule lists all these due
dates.) *** Please Note: All quizzes and major speech assignments MUST be
completed for a grade in order for you to pass this course.
All assignments are due at the beginning of the class period on the day specified.
Therefore, do not wait until class time to try and print your assignment. Lack of ink,
school computers not reading your home computer format, etc. are not reasons for
your assignment to be late.
If you are absent the day an assignment is due, it will only be accepted late the first
day you return to class. Otherwise, no assignments will be accepted late. Also, in-
class work cannot be made up if you are absent.
In-class assignments will be numerous and cannot be made up, no matter what the
reason for your absence. If you miss it, you miss it. There will be enough daily
assignments that no conscientious student will suffer from missing them. In addition,
extra credit opportunities are offered during the term that may offset missed daily
work. Quizzes can only be made up if arrangements are made beforehand
In-class assignments completed during the class period may be submitted hand written as neatly as possible. However, if I cannot read your penmanship and, therefore, am unable to grade it, that will be reflected in the grade you receive for the assignment. (With the exception of Study Guide worksheets, outside work should be typed, following standard MLA guidelines.)
Please Note: If you use wire bound note paper in class, please either make sure it is perforated so that the “fringe” made by tearing it from the wire can be removed before turning in the assignment or bring a pair of scissors so that you can remove it before turning in your assignment. No assignments will be accepted with torn, uneven edges. All work should appear as professional as possible. This includes stapling or paper clipping all assignments before submitting them.
With the exception of Study Guide worksheets, all assignments not completed during
the class period are to be handed in typed, observing strict manuscript preparation
rules unless instructed to the contrary. No hand written assignments will be accepted,
no matter how attractive your penmanship may be.
All work should be your own original work. Any information obtained from
outside sources must be properly cited. Academic dishonesty will NOT be
tolerated. Remember, in the long run, you are only hurting yourself.
When asked about academic dishonesty, Jeanne Wilson, former president of the
Center for Academic Integrity said, “It’s incredibly self-destructive. What employers
are looking for are transferable skills, and those are skills like writing and thinking
and analysis. Those are the kinds of abilities that are taught by having to write a
paper [or speech] yourself.”
We will work in groups quite a bit throughout the term. While a “group reporter”
may be appointed in each group for recording purposes, every group member has a
responsibility to contribute to its success. Group participation does count towards
your daily work grades, as does class participation.
A standard twelve point grading system will be utilized for major quizzes and
speeches, A+ being 12 and F being 0. A "check” system will be utilized for all other
Your final grade will be determined as follows:
Daily work, participation, attitude, etc. 15%
Quizzes, informal speeches, etc. 15%
1st speech preparation, delivery, and evaluation (2-3 min.) 10%
2nd speech preparation, delivery, and evaluation (4-5 min.) 15%
3rd speech preparation, delivery, and evaluation (6-7 min.) 20%
4th speech preparation, delivery, and evaluation (8-9 min.) 25%
Writing Center - Davis 120
The Writing Center is a resource for all students at USAO. The Writing Center
aims to create a friendly and welcoming environment in which students feel
comfortable voicing their concerns about their writing. Writing Center tutors are
trained to assist students with a variety of writing issues, including:
· Understanding assignment instructions
· Thesis statements
· Paper organization
· Sentence structure (including run-on sentences and comma splices)
· English as a Second Language (ESL) writing
· MLA format (as well as APA, Chicago)
· ...and many other issues.
The Writing Center’s purpose is educational; it supports the academic mission of
USAO. The tutors are not proofreaders or editors. They are trained peer tutors
who are there to offer advice and feedback to writers who have particular
For more information, stop by Davis 120
According to the ADA, each student with a disability is responsible for notifying the
University of his/her disability and requesting accommodations. If you think you
have a qualified disability and need classroom accommodations, contact the office of
Student Services. To ensure timely implementation of appropriate accommodations,
please advise all of your instructors about your disability as soon as possible. Faculty
have an obligation to respond when they receive official notice of a disability from
Student Services, but are under no obligation to provide retroactive accommodations.
To receive services, you must submit appropriate documentation and complete an
intake process during which the existence of a qualified disability is verified and
reasonable accommodations are identified.
Please be aware that it is your responsibility to give me a copy of your playing
schedule at the beginning of the season or inform me of any school sponsored events
in which you will be involved as soon as you are informed of the date(s) so that I am
aware when you may be away. It is also your responsibility to inform me about an
upcoming absence before you will be gone. At that time, you should arrange to turn
in work that you will be missing before you accrue the absence. In addition, if your
coach, professor, financial aid, etc. requires any kind of reporting on your grades,
absences, progress, etc. during the term, it is your responsibility to inform me about
it well before the information is due.
If you are ill or think you may be coming down with something, I ask that you try
and not have any close contact with me, as I am taking auto immune suppressant
drugs for a medical condition that make me very susceptible to illness, infection, etc.
In addition, the condition is causing me to loose my hearing, as well as the use of my
hands and feet, so I ask that you speak loudly and face me when addressing me. I
appreciate your patience with these problems.
For those of you who are smokers, I ask that you try and refrain from smoking
around papers that are to be turned in to me. Paper absorbs a great deal of smoke and
I am very allergic to it. I hate wasting valuable grading time having severe
nosebleeds, asthma attacks, etc. because of exposure to smoky papers. I know it
seems excessive to have to ask this of you, but past experience forces me to do so. I
really appreciate your efforts on my behalf, as I know what a burden it is that I am
asking of you. Thanks.
Remember, there are no “dumb” questions. If you’re having a problem with
something, probably other classmates are as well. You will be doing everyone a
favor by seeking help during class.
At any time during the term, if you ever have problems, questions, etc., please feel
free to come speak with me. I am here for you and more than happy to help in any
way that I can.
Please Also Note:
Always turn off any cellular telephones, pagers, iPods, etc. before entering the
classroom. There should be NO texting, etc. during class. If I see them in use, they
are mine. It is incredibly rude and disruptive to use them during class. If you must
have a phone on vibrate to receive an emergency call, please inform me before class
and leave the room to take the call.
Also, no food, drinks, gum, tobacco products, pets, or children in the classroom
without my express approval. Thanks!
Food For Thought
Class assignments presuppose good faith on the part of students and their honest
desire to improve their speaking and argumentative skills. This is based upon an
understanding by students that these abilities are important to their success in today’s world and tomorrow’s future.
Students who possess these criteria will listen to and strive to follow instructions, make use of suggestions, accept constructive criticism, both from the professor and fellow students, and do their best to produce high quality work. Those who do not possess (or who do not develop) the criteria listed above have little hope of successfully completing this course and should not be surprised by poor grades.
Remember that in any course, you earn an “F” the same way you earn an “A” – by the way you apply yourself. Grades do not happen automatically or arbitrarily; they are the result of a combination of intelligence and diligence. Neither of these traits alone suffices in this course (or much of anywhere else); nor does just coming to class in and of itself. Class time will be devoted to making assignments and explaining methods for fulfilling them. There will be much by way of modeling examples, but the actual production of major assignments will take place outside of class. This, as wise students will quickly realize, includes much more than throwing together speeches or arguments at the last minute. If you are not prepared to devote at least nine hours each week to this course, in addition to class time, reconsider your priorities. If you squeeze study time into your personal, social, and work life, you have no right to expect to do well in this or any other college course. For the short period of time which our society sets aside for citizens to prepare for their professional lives, study time should be your first priority.
Perhaps this course actually should be entitled “Life 101” because we are essentially trying to teach you that you have a voice; that you matter as a human being; that others have similar experiences, fears, failures, and triumphs to your own; that you have thoughts and ideas which might benefit others; and that no one will respect those thoughts and ideas unless they are presented in a more or less logical, articulate manner. It is my hope that this will be a course of personal affirmation for you, the ultimate point of which will be to make you a competent speaker and thinker.
Consider the above information carefully and take it seriously, because I do. My job is to do my best to prepare you for success in the working world. I take that seriously too. To do less than my best would be to shortchange you. Having said all that, WELCOME! I wish you an enriching term.
My thanks to Professors Drummond, Magrath, McMahon, Brown, and Frankland for their input.
Rhetoric and Public Speaking Tentative Schedule
August 30 Syllabus; assignments
September 1 Vocal production exercises study guide due; Rhetoric, Logic,
Argument, and Critical Thinking worksheet due
3 Consonant handouts study guide due
6 Labor Day
8 Vocal handouts study guide due; Ethics and Morals worksheet
10 Reading handouts study guide due
15 Oral Presentations Introduction, Chapter 1, pp 1-5; Chapter 2, pp
6-16 study guides due; Philosopher Information due
17 OP Chapter 3, pp 17-28; OP Chapter 4, pp 29-39 study guides due
20 OP Chapter 5, pp 40-48; OP Chapter 6, pp 49-56 study guides due
Audience Analysis due
22 OP Chapter 7, pp 57-67; OP Chapter 8, pp 68-77 study guides due
24 OP Chapter 9, pp 78-81; OP Chapter 10, pp 82-86 study guide due; 1st Speech Outline due
29 1st Speech (2-3 min.)
October 1 1st Speech (2-3 min.)
4 Critical Thinking pp 1-13 study guide due
6 CT pp 14-23 study guide due
11 Rulebook for Arguments, Preface, Introduction, Chapter 1 pp ix-7
study guide due;
Issue Information due
13 RA Chapter 2, pp 9-17 study guide due
15 RA Chapter 3, pp 19-22 study guide due
18 RA Chapter 4, pp 23-30 study guide due; 2nd Speech Outline
20 RA Chapter 5, pp 31-36 study guide due
22 Fall Break
25 2nd Speech (4-5 min.)
27 2nd Speech (4-5 min.)
29 2nd Speech (4-5 min.)
November 1 RA Chapter 6, pp 37-47 study guide due
3 RA Chapter 7, pp 49-57 study guide due
5 RA Chapter 8, pp 59-65 study guide due
8 RA Chapter 9, pp 67-72 study guide due
10 RA Appendix I, pp 73-79; Appendix II pp 81-86 study guides due; 3rd Speech Outline
15 3rd Speech (6-7 min.)
17 3rd Speech (6-7 min.)
19 3rd Speech (6-7 min.); 4th Speech Outline due
22 3rd Speech (6-7 min.)
29 4th Speech (8-9 min.)
December 1 4th Speech (8-9 min.)
3 4th Speech (8-9 min.)
6 4th Speech (8-9 min.)
Final Times -
December 10 9:05 class Final 9:40 - 11:10
9 10:10 class Final 9:40 – 11:10
8 11:15 class Final 1:00 – 2:30
10 12:20 class Final 1:00 – 2:30
Extra credit opportunities will be available throughout the term and will be announced in class when I am made aware of them.