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"PRES" - Presentation Skills:
Oral Communication in General Education

The integration of both oral and written communication into general education is often referred to as Communication Across/In the Disciplines/Curriculum. Public speaking, or presentation skills, in GE is called Oral Communication Across the Curriculum. A wide variety of acronyms capture this interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary endeavor, including,OCxC /OCAC, CxC/CAC, SAC, or CAD/CID, SAD, SALAD, WOVE, SAW...


PRES guide

If you are SUNY Cortland faculty interested in developing a PRES course or are teaching an existing course that you would like to designate as PRES, download this guideline and tips-sheet for putting your course proposal into Curriculog (includes links to OER resources).


Grading OCxC

Supporting PRES with Com Centers

Communication Centers gained a national presence around 2001 through the grassroots efforts of speech faculty who recognized the advantages of providing support to student speakers outside the classroom. They provide support and tutoring for students and faculty in oral communication across the curriculum programs and are developed according to the needs of each institution and their students. The benefits of peer, and faculty, tutoring through the Centers include opportunities to:

  • Systematically apply the communication competency construct  - ability and willingness to make the most of shared meaning- to undergraduates 

  • Expand and improve opportunities to deal with communication apprehension 

  • Allow for direct support to students with specific or special needs

  • Create active learning environments 

  • Increase the integration of technology 

  • Improve student and programmatic assessment 

  • Augment faculty support with consistency and training opportunities

What They Are 

The goal of this study was to understand student experiences in and perceptions of a new communication center.  Overall, the findings suggest that students had positive experiences and indicated some areas for future development. The primary value of communication center lies in the knowledge and perceived credibility of the coaches. The communication center also serves as a unique site for addressing communication apprehension and helping students transfer communication skills to other contexts. To continue to develop, additional resources are needed to invest in coaches, space, and marketing in order to adequately serve the needs of all students.

Communication centers were originally designed to augment the basic communication course and assist students in the development of their oral communication skills. According to the National Association of Communication Centers (2012), there are currently over 70 communication centers in the United States. This study offers a descriptive investigation of communication centers at colleges and universities from communication center directors. Our purpose is to provide data about the nature and state of centers so that it may inform others about how to develop, maintain, and compare centers’ trends and tendencies. This investigation discusses the following communication center information: (a) institutional context, (b) structure and configuration, (c) services, (d) resources, (e) institution and community impact, and (f) curriculum. Additionally, the study opens a discussion for explanations of the results. Collectively, these findings provide insight into communication centers’ primary purposes and the impact these centers offer for the basic communication course, communication discipline, and higher education.

Claims the quality of educational preparation in basic communication skills is insufficient for students to compete in the new millennium. Discusses the communication laboratory as one educational strategy for addressing the issue of communication competency. Describes the rationale for creating a communication laboratory, curricula and approaches, assessment, accountability, research opportunities, and issues and challenges related to communication laboratories.

What They Do

This study sought to empirically evaluate the extent to which visiting the communication center before delivering the first major speech in an introductory communication course improved students’ academic performance and engagement. Between-subjects MANOVAs showed that students who visited the communication center had significantly higher speech grades, course grades, and attendance than students who did not. Likewise, those who visited the communication center also had higher levels of behavioral and cognitive engagement, but not agentic or emotional engagement.

Communication centers exist primarily as a complementary student service. Communication centers, to continue to prove their value to institutions, must continue to build programming and initiatives that are worthy of students’ time and get students to participate. To address engagement concerns, the authors of this essay offer ten best practices for building and sustaining student engagement in the communication center.

Many view university speaking centers just to be hubs for peer-to-peer tutoring, that aids students in overcoming public speaking anxiety. Although that outlook speaks of great, inspirational volumes in itself, such centers can also be hubs of valuable information in the realm of professional development and efficiency.

In this study, the researchers explore required public speaking tutoring in communication centers and the effect it has on students’ grades, speaking apprehension, and expected speech outcomes. Tutoring made no notable difference related to either communication apprehension or speech delivery, but students who attended tutoring did have statistically higher scores related to organizational outcomes and final speech grades. Future directions of research and limitations are discussed.

  • Speech Center Support Services, the Basic Course, and Oral Communication AssessmentBasic Communication Course Annual, 2012.

This study examines the role a speech center plays in supporting university-wide oral communication assessment. The findings indicate that students who report more visits to the speech center also perceive that using the speech center helped reduce their speech anxiety and increase their confidence in public speaking. Implications for basic course assessment programs and speech centers are discussed.

This research is designed to show how assessment, speaking across the curriculum, and speaking centers are related The findings indicate five major areas: 1) the importance and prioritization of speaking centers is emerging with higher value in recent years; 2) staffing should include faculty positions; 3) funding should be provided for new equipment and resources; 4) the importance of assessment of student speaking skills cannot be underestimated; and 5) that instruction in listening through speaking centers is lacking.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects speech laboratories have on students enrolled in basic public speaking courses. The results of the analysis provide initial support that speech laboratories do, to some degree, assist students with their public speaking skills and help them manage their public speaking anxiety.

This study is an effort to provide statistical data to lend support to the efficacy of providing this service to speech communication students.

Response to calls for greater attention to oral proficiency at the undergraduate level has most commonly taken the form of a required course in communication skills or an across‐the‐curriculum communication component. The latter often includes required visits to a campus facility variously known as a communication lab or speaking center. At one undergraduate university, an alternative approach has been tried. Its centerpiece is a facility known as the Speech Center, which serves the entire university community. 

What They Need

This article argues that allocating resources to better training and professional development can result in knowledgeable consultants skilled enough to consistently lead successful consultations. Because communication consultant proficiency is directly linked to center productivity, the development of well-rounded consultants is crucial to a center’s campus relevancy, and thus, financial stability.

How to Assess Them

Students & Com Centers

Many undergraduate students visit campus Communication Centers for assistance with public speaking classes. In an article in Communication Education, Briana Stewart, Melissa Broeckelman-Post, and Chelsea Rossheim (all of George Mason University) examine the reasons that undergraduate students visit Communication Centers and the benefits they derive from the visits, particularly those seeking help with overcoming public speaking anxiety.

A web-based survey of 357 respondents enrolled in basic communication courses was conducted to examine communication center usage, communication apprehension, and help seeking behaviors. There was no significant difference between students who attended the communication center and those who did not in their communication apprehension and help seeking behaviors. There were significant correlations between help seeking behaviors and communication apprehension. Demographics, communication apprehension, and communication center usage and awareness predicted multiple types of help seeking behaviors.


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