COMM 110 03: Fundamentals of Public Speaking

COMM 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking

2023 Summer Syllabus, Section 03, CRN 8479

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

Instructor Information

EllaMarie Powell

Teaching Assistant Professor, Public Speaking Director


Office Phone: 701-777-2473

Course Description

The theory and practice of public speaking with emphasis on content, organization, language, delivery, and critical evaluation of messages. Additional emphasis on student performance stressing original thinking, effective organization, and direct communication of ideas.

Learning Outcomes

This is an Essential Studies Communication course. As such, it is meant to introduce and allow you to practice the skills necessary to speak and write effectively in civic, academic, and professional settings. Effective communication is learned through continued practice. Essential Studies Communication courses strongly emphasize the process; your instructor will give regular feedback on your speaking and writing, and you will be required to produce multiple oral presentations and written texts. These assignments will require you to work with particular content or information, but they’ll also demand that you know rhetorical strategies and delivery style.

This course also addresses the ES learning goals of Oral Communication and Critical Inquiry & Analysis. Oral communication means that it is about presenting information (formally or informally) in various settings and to different audience sizes. Critical Inquiry & Analysis implies that it is about collecting and analyzing data to reach conclusions based on evidence through systematically exploring issues, objects, or works by collecting evidence that results in informed decisions or judgments. 

Mission: The mission of the Department of Communication is to provide students with a broad understanding of human communication in various contexts, across diverse cultures, and through multiple systems. The Program engages students in lifelong learning that addresses socially and globally pressing communication challenges through academic, creative, critical, and practical curriculum and instruction.

Goals: We seek to achieve this mission by designing an interdisciplinary curriculum that respects the liberal arts tradition and exposes students to various theoretical and practical experiences to become informed, engaged, and ethical global citizens. 

Students will be able to communicate both orally and in writing.


  • Gather, interpret, and assess information from various sources and points of view. Cite sources in three places: In-line, in a “Works Cited” section, and verbally during your oral presentation.
  • Evaluate evidence and arguments analytically, and produce well-reasoned written and oral arguments using evidence to support conclusions.
  • Articulate and assess ethical views and their underlying premises, including using data and other information resources to respond to problems and questions.
  • Identify and engage with local, national, or global events, trends, or ideologies, and analyze their impact on individual or collective decision-making.

  • Demonstrate the skills to compose and present appropriate verbal and nonverbal messages to diverse audiences. 

  • Demonstrate the skills necessary to compose/create and present informative and persuasive messages.

  • Demonstrate competence in active and practical listening skills.

  • Demonstrate observational and critical evaluation skills by critiquing student speeches appropriately in oral/written format.

Course Materials

Lucas; The Art of Public Speaking, 13e, available for purchase through BlackBoard or the UND

Bookstore. A Student Perspective: McGraw Hill ReadAnywhere app ( (

All students must have the online access code provided by the UND Library or McGraw Hill to complete assignments for this course.

Technical Requirements/Assistance

Students will use Microsoft Word to complete assignments (files created using Pages in Apple can be saved as a Word file before submitting).  All quizzes and presentations will be submitted through McGraw Hill Connect and GoReact via BlackBoard.

Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. Visit the Office 365 Email webpage for information on your UND email and how to download/install a free version of Microsoft Office. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) website for their hours, help documents and other resources.

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

In order to succeed in this course, at a minimum, you should be able to:

  • Navigate in and use basic Blackboard/McGraw Hill Connect functions
  • Download and open electronic documents
  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents
  • Send, receive, and manage email

Course Logistics

Access and Log in Information

This course was developed and will be facilitated utilizing Blackboard, McGraw HIll Connect, and GoReact. To start the course, please go to: and log in with your NDUS Identifier, Username, and Password. If you do not know your NDUS Identifier or have forgotten your password, please visit Your NDUS Account page on the UIT website.


The course content is organized by week for this semester. Each week contains a purpose, learning outcomes, and links to articles, video/audio files, and other instructional resources selected to enhance the learning experience and support the multiple topics. Discussions, blogs, wikis, surveys, quizzes, tests, and assignments will be used to assess your comprehension and application of those materials.

Before starting the first week, you should have reviewed the syllabus and taken the Syllabus Quiz.

On the left side course menu in Blackboard, there is a “Lessons” tab. Inside Lessons, you will find all the required readings, videos, and assignments/activities for the week. An overview of each week can be found in Blackboard under the Schedule tab.


Many services are available to UND students, such as writing assistance from the UND Writing Center, free online tutoring from Smarthinking, and more. Visit the Student Resources page for more information. Students also have access to the UND Student Resource Site via Blackboard. It is recommended that you become familiar with the tools and tutorials within the site to better equip you in navigating the course.

Course Requirements/Expectations

  1. The student will review the syllabus and course schedule posted on Blackboard.
  2. The student will access and follow all course instructions found in the weekly area of the Blackboard course.
  3. The student will participate in any lecture or discussion sessions on campus or online as provided and as part of this course.
  4. The student will complete and submit assignments, exams, quizzes, etc., by the date noted and in the manner described in Blackboard and on the course schedule. We will use Central Standard Time for due dates and times.
  5. The student will participate fully and promptly to benefit from the instructor's and peers' learning.

Instructor Responsibilities and Feedback

  • The instructor will provide feedback on all assignments and group activities by Wednesday of the following week.
  • During appointed Office Hours, the instructor will be available to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer advice.



Announcements will be posted on Blackboard regularly. Be sure to check the class announcements regularly, as they will contain important information about class assignments and other class matters.


The Blackboard discussion board is an open forum in which you and your classmates are encouraged to answer each other’s questions. You are encouraged to post your questions about the course in the FAQs discussion board forum on the Blackboard site or raise them in class if held synchronously or on campus. But, if you need to contact me directly, check the Faculty tab in Blackboard or the syllabus for my contact information. I will respond to you within 72 hours during the week or weekend.

Discussion Forums, Blogs, & Wikis

These tools are an excellent way to engage with the course material and your peers. You must read all assigned discussion boards, blog posts, or wiki pages and contribute thoughtfully. We will have at least one of these tools for you to participate in each week.

Course Etiquette

When participating in class (online or in person), it is essential to interact with your peers appropriately. Please be respectful of your classmates at all times, even if you disagree with their ideas. Always use professional language (no netspeak) in your postings and emails.

Assessment Summary

Introduction, Informative, and Persuasive Speeches

We will have three major speeches this semester—Introduction, Informative, and Persuasive. You will earn a letter grade for each speech according to specific instructions. Be sure to follow the format for all written assignments associated with the speech. You are responsible for reading the assigned chapters in the book, taking notes on lectures, listening to and participating in class discussions, and applying the appropriate concepts for each speech. All speeches will be recorded using GoReact; you can find this function in the McGraw Hill Connect app.

  • Introduction Speech is where you will introduce yourself to the class.
  • Informative speech is where you educate the audience about a topic of your choice.
  • Persuasive speech is where you try to influence the audience to take action on some issue. 

Peer Evaluations:  You are required to evaluate other students. Your peer evaluations must be substantial, thoughtful, and supportive yet offer constructive criticism. This assignment is designed to help both the speaker (by providing additional feedback) and the observer by encouraging audience members to pay close attention to speeches and reflecting on similarities and differences between their styles. In addition, it will familiarize you with the criteria the Professor uses to grade your speech.

Participation: Speech is something that we learn by doing. In this sense, it will be quite different from other courses where you are expected to sit passively and absorb information. Attendance at each class meeting is crucial, and the Professor expects you to be attentive, engaged, curious, asking questions, and actively participating during in-class discussions.

Assignment                                               Final Grade

  1. Quizzes                                                                       25%
  2. Introduction Speech                                                      5%
  3. Informative Outline                                                      10%
  4. Informative Speech                                                     15%
  5. Persuasive Outline                                                      10%
  6. Persuasive Speech                                                     15%     
  7. Final Exam                                                                  10% 
  8. Plagiarism Certificate                                                    5%
  9. How-To Videos                                                              5%

Final Grade Scale

> 89.5% A

79.5-89.4% B

69.5-79.5% C

59.5-69.4% D

< 59.4% F

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Week of Reading(s): Due:
6/26 Part One: Speaking & Listening; Chapters 1-4 Week 1 Quiz
Introduction Video
How-To Videos
Plagiarism Certificate
7/3 Part Two: Speech Preparation: Getting Started; Chapters 5-8 Week 2 Quiz
Informative Speech Outline
7/10 Part Three: Speech Preparation: Organizing & Outlining; Chapters 9-11 Week 3 Quiz
Informative Speech
7/17 Part Four: Presenting the Speech; Chapters 12-14 Week 4 Quiz
Persuasive Speech Outline
7/24 Part Five: Varieties of Public Speaking Chapters 15-20 Week 5 Quiz
Persuasive Speech
7/31 Final exam

Course Policies

Assignment Policy

Due dates for each assignment or activity will be posted on Blackboard.

Late Work

If you’re having trouble keeping up in this class, please let me and/or your TA know as soon as possible so we can do what we can to help. Due dates are important insofar as they help you spread out your workload and help us keep the behind-the-scenes aspects of the course as organized as possible. However, late work may be accepted for extenuating circumstances, so please reach out if you know you will need more time or are having trouble keeping up. 

Please note: You do not need to disclose or perform trauma when asking for an extension; you just need to let us know (very broadly) that you need help, and we will do what we can to get you back on track in the course.

Class Participation

Students are required to log in regularly to the online class site. Students must also participate in all class activities, such as discussion boards, blogs, and wikis. Students are expected to attend on-campus or synchronous classes, etc.


Students are expected to complete all requirements for a course during the time frame of the course. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, the instructor may assign an incomplete grade when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor. More information regarding UND’s Incomplete policy can be found on The Grading System webpage.

Resolution of Problems

Should a problem occur, you should speak to your instructor first. If the problem continues to be unresolved, go to the department chair and next to the college dean. Should the problem persist, you have the right to go to the provost next and then to the president.


When participating in class (online or in person), it is important to interact with your peers appropriately. Netiquette is a set of rules for behaving properly online. Here are a few basic points to remember when communicating in this course:

Be scholarly. Use proper language, grammar, and spelling. Explain your thoughts, justify opinions, and credit the ideas of others by citing scholarly resources. Avoid misinforming others when you are unsure of the answer.  When discussing something and supplying a guess, clearly state that.

Be respectful. Respect the privacy of others. Do not share personal or professional information about others unless granted permission. Respect diversity and opinions that differ from their own. Be tactful when you communicate.

Be professional. Everyone should strive to give their best impression online. Truthfulness, accuracy, and running a final spell check are appropriate expectations for university students. Writing in a legible font and limiting the use of emoticons is considered professional behavior. Profanity and participation in hostile interactions, known as flaming, are unprofessional and disruptive.

Be polite. Students should address professors and instructors by the appropriate title or requested name. Students should interact online politely, just as they would be expected to do in a physical environment. Sarcasm, rudeness, and writing in all capital letters (shouting) should be avoided.


Everyone has the right to be addressed by the name and personal pronouns corresponding to their gender identity, including non-binary pronouns, for example, they/them/theirs, ze/zir/zirs, etc.

I recognize that preferred names and pronouns may change during the quarter, if at any point during the quarter you would like to be addressed differently, please let me know.

As part of our commitment to inclusion in this course, it is important that all students in this class respect the preferred names and pronouns of their peers. Mistakes in addressing one another may happen. If you make a mistake or are corrected, please briefly apologize and correct yourself.

Technology Statement

This class will have a technology policy designed to support your attention to one another and the course material.  We will spend most of our time engaged in activities that depend upon your presence and attention to one another and the course content we will study. We are all challenged these days by the ways in which our digital devices—including laptops, tablets, phones, and watches—can steal our attention away from our immediate surroundings. Technology should be used for educational purposes only during scheduled class times.

Collaboration and Recording (For Online, Hybrid, Hyflex courses)

Sharing personal experiences and opinions is an important part of the learning process. In the (hybrid, hyflex, synchronous, etc.) environment of this course, all of our interactions are recorded (via Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, GoReact, etc) and made available to students in the course. The purpose of these recordings is to enhance learning for all students. If your peers make personal statements in this course, consider those comments in the context of our learning goals and do not share them with people outside the course. If you have questions or concerns about any recordings, don't hesitate to contact me.

Plagiarism: appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means another person’s work and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of it in one’s work.

All students taking COMM classes must pass a brief online course that teaches them how to identify plagiarism. The University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Library put this course together. To access the course, click on the following link using Chrome or Firefox:

Students will have to earn at least 80% to pass the course. After reading the feedback, updating the answers to questions won’t change the final score. You must retake the entire course if you didn’t reach 80% on your first try.

Obtain and upload the certificate to Blackboard by the date indicated on the course schedule. Suppose you have already obtained this certificate for a previous COMM course or a certificate from the Indiana University plagiarism training. You don’t need to take the Chester Fritz Library or Indiana University course again. Simply upload the certificate that you have already earned for all COMM courses.

If you have any questions regarding the courses, contact Brittany Fischer, Social Sciences & Scholarly Communications Librarian at the Chester Fritz Library, at 701.777.4632 or

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties for the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter and will have little tolerance and/or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access and Opportunity, Disability Support, & Medical Services

The University of North Dakota is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class and your program, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) to engage in a confidential discussion about accommodations for the classroom and clinical settings. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS at the start of their program. More information can be obtained by email or by phone at 701.777.2664.


UND is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment while providing quality learning experiences for our students. COVID-19’s continued presence within our UND community may necessitate changes in classroom management as the academic year progresses. As such, UND asks students and instructors to be flexible when necessary to promote a safe environment for learning. Please do not attend an in-person class or lab if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been directed by health professionals to quarantine or isolate. If you are not able to attend class or lab, please notify your instructor as soon as possible and discuss options for making up any missed work in order to ensure your ability to succeed in the course. If you will have an extended absence due to serious illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, you may request an absence notification through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Similarly, if your instructor is ill they may need to cancel class or temporarily move your course to online delivery to ensure that you are able to complete the course successfully.  Instructors may require students to wear masks in the classroom or in the laboratory as a preventative measure designed to facilitate uninterrupted classroom engagement and to facilitate health and safety in the classroom.   If your instructor does require masks in class or in a laboratory, you are expected to comply with that request.

UND also strongly encourages all members of the University community, including students, to get vaccinated, seek out testing when needed, and model positive behavior both on- and off-campus to foster a healthy and safe learning environment for all students. Individuals who would like to discuss disability accommodations regarding masks should contact the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at 701.777.2664 or Individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to a sincerely held religious belief should contact the UND Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 701.777.4171 or

Religious Accommodations

UND offers religious accommodations, which are reasonable changes in the academic environment that enable a student to practice or observe a sincerely held religious belief without undue hardship on the University. Examples include time for prayer or the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday. To request an accommodation, complete the student religious accommodation request form. If you have any questions, you may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Students who need assistance with academic adjustments related to pregnancy or childbirth may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or Academic Affairs to learn about your options. Additional information and services may be found at Pregnancy Resources.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to Donna Smith, Assistant Vice President for Equal Opportunity & Title IX and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, 102 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 230 S. Dearborn St., 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

If you or a friend has experienced sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171;; or visit the Title IX webpage. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office if you or a friend has experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, pregnancy, marital or parental status, veteran's status, or political belief or affiliation.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual misconduct or of discrimination or harassment based on a protected class that they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you can find information about confidential support services on the Equal Opportunity & Title IX webpage..

UND Cares Program

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, however, some students may struggle or have issues that arise. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares Program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or different than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Today, the University of North Dakota rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate - presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and the Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognize that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeate this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the State of North Dakota - the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Additional Resources

It is my goal to foster an environment of mutual respect in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their stories, and learning about potentially heavy or personally relevant material. If, at any point, you feel like the information covered in this class elicits thoughts, feelings, or concerns that you would like to discuss further, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the UND Counseling Center (701-777-2127).

Further, if you experience extenuating circumstances, sexual violence, identity-based harm, or any other personal crisis during the semester, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can provide academic assistance and help you in this course, and put you in contact with the appropriate resources and services (if needed).