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Public Speaking Resources

This is the landing page for the resources curated by Dr. Christina Knopf, Professor and Public Speaking Coordinator in the Communication & Media Studies Department at SUNY Cortland, to support public speaking instruction, remote speech teaching & learning, and oral communication in General Education. 

  • Basic syllabus & assessment requirements for all COM210 sections at SUNY Cortland

  • Informational resources for the instruction, support, and assessment of oral communication across the curricula.

  • Communication scholars on speech teaching, learning, grading, assessment, access, anxiety, antiracism, digital com... 

  • Articles, suggestions, materials, examples & more for teaching public speaking online & for crisis/pandemic teaching

  • Ready to use digital materials, organized by topic to help support the speech class: online, F2F, or hybrid.

The Communication & Media Studies Department expects that the many sections of COM210 are standardized.

Toward this goal, while maintaining instructors' academic freedom, all sections of COM210 should:

  • share core student learning outcomes (SLOs) -- instructors may add to these with section-specific outcomes

  • share core assignments (4 speeches, 2 exams, 2 "peer" critiques) that are linked to these SLOs -- instructors may define the parameters & details of these assignments as desired

  • use a common grading rubric, premised on the SLOs, for all speeches

  • share the same course-level grade breakdown

  • share a common textbook

  • share a common antiracist reading

    • Waltman, M.S. (2018). "The normalizing of hate speech and how communication educators should respond," Communication Education, 67 (2), 259-265. Available through the college library.

  • share common syllabus content/statements as required by SUNY Cortland

✎Shared Syllabus components are comprised of the college requirements.

✎The common SLOs & rubrics for all COM210 sections were developed from the National Communication Association's (NCA) Learning Outcomes in Communication, the NCA Speaking and Listening Competencies for College Students, and the NCA Competent Speaker Evaluation Form, in line with the SUNY Cortland requirements for General Education Category 10.

--A few notes on the rubric:

  • The items are taken directly from tested assessment tools developed and shared by the NCA.

  • Though they are condensed into just five categories, the skills listed in the rubric represent all eight of the public speaking competencies NCA outlines for undergraduate achievement.

    • If you look at the descriptive information on the second page, all the components usually found in speech rubrics are included.

  • The comments section and the availability of a grading range for each SLO category allows instructors to focus feedback where necessary. (Ex. If a student doesn't include a preview statement in their introduction, we can note that under the SLO3 category as related to organization. If a student's content is not appropriately adapted to the audience, that falls within SLO1. Etc.)

  • The rubric can easily be broken into pieces, depending on particular assignments. (Ex. An oral interpretation assignment may be graded using just the SLO5 categories.) 

  • Connection of the rubric to assignments will make it easier for instructors to demonstrate to both students and administration the purpose and goals of assignments, because the rubric is directly linked to the SLOs.

  • Use of the rubric will help us each to meet the department's and college's assessment needs more efficiently, taking strain off individual instructors to complete and submit assessment data and reports.