Effective Speech

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SPE 103

       Course Name: Effective Speech

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course offers opportunities to develop capability in oral communications. Content includes rhetorical theory, organization and structure of ideas, techniques for general speaking and listening effectiveness, practical experience in individual and group presentations.  Recommended: EGL 101 or placement in EGL 101.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Use strategies that reduce speaker anxiety.
  2. Deliver extemporaneous speeches using vocal and physical delivery.
  3. Organize ideas using clear structure.
  4. Create speeches that connect with audience demographics.
  5. Collaborate with class members in small groups.
  6. Apply research to support ideas in speeches.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Example Schedule reflects topics covered in Stephen Lucas’ The Art of Public Speaking, 12th edition

Week One: Introduction/Introducing
   Ch. 1 – Speaking in Public
Ch. 3 – Listening
Week Two:
Ch. 4 – Giving Your First Speech
Ch. 5 – Selecting a Topic and Purpose
Ch. 6 – Analyzing the Audience
Week Three:
Ch. 7 – Gathering Materials
Ch. 8 – Supporting Your Ideas - Citing Research Used in Speeches
Week Four:
Ch. 9 – Organizing the Body of Your Speech
Ch. 10 – Beginning and Ending the Speech
Week Five:
Ch. 11 – Outlining the Speech
Ch. 12 – Using Language
Week Six:
Ch. 13 – Delivery
Ch. 14 – Using Visual Aids
Ch. 19 – Speaking in Small Groups
Week Eight:
Ch. 15 - Speaking to Inform
Impromptu Speeches
Week Eleven:
Ch. 16 - Speaking to Persuade
Ch. 17 – Methods of Persuasion
Week Fourteen:
Ch. 18 – Speaking on Special Occasions
Ch. 2 - Ethics and Public Speaking

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture/discussion of necessary information, including documentation and source citation.
  2. Instructor examples of effective/ineffective speeches, positive/negative speaker/listener behaviors.
  3. Student presentations: conversation, entertainment; information; demonstration; opinion support (commentary; persuasive-level one; call to action); impromptu; group (panel; symposium; debate). Approximate time limits (will vary among instructors):

    conversation, entertainment:   3-5 minutes
    information: 5-7 minutes
    demonstration: 8-12 minutes
    opinion/support: 7-9 minutes
    persuasion: 9-11 minutes
    impromptu: 1-2 minutes
    group: 5 minutes per speaker
  4. Feedback on/evaluation of speeches
    1. video-taping/self evaluation
    2. instructor/audience comments

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Oral Presentations, with at least 4 substantive speeches, including informative and persuasive assignments delivered extemporaneously.
  2. All presentations require oral citations as prescribed by the instructor. Oral Citations must include Source: Author, Author’s Credentials, Publication and Date. Speeches requiring more than one oral citation must have multiple sources cited.
  3. Typed speech outlines/typed response papers.
  4. Structured peer evaluations.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Text (required) to be selected from most recent editions:
Public Speaking - Beebe & Beebe
Art of Public Speaking - Lucas

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Example Assignments & Evaluation of Progress/Grading

3.  IMPROMPTU SPEECH (group) 10
4.  IMPROMPTU SPEECH (individual) 10
5.  GROUP INFORMATIVE SPEECH. (3 oral citation required*)   50
6.  DEMONSTRATION SPEECH (2 oral citations from multiple sources required*) 100
7.  COMMEMORATIVE SPEECH (2 oral citations from multiple sources required*) 75
8.  PERSUASIVE SPEECH (4 oral citations from multiple sources required*) 150
9.  QUIZZES (5@15 points) 75
Total Class Points 500

*Oral Citations must include Source: Author, Author’s Credentials, Publication and Date

  1. Each assignment & examination will be awarded a point value. Your grade will be based on the number of points accumulated versus the total available for the semester: 90-100% is “A”; 80-89% is “B”; 70-79% is “C”; 60-69% is “D”; 59% or below is “F”.
  2. Please be aware that oral presentations & their supporting documents will constitute approximately 70% of the total points available.
  3. All major speech presentations require oral citations from multiple sources. Presentations provide external support for the ideas delivered by the speaker to enhance the speaker’s credibility. To avoid plagiarism, it is essential when using outside research that you include the oral citation to the work being referenced. The actual number of required oral citations will vary by instructor.

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance is required in this course.  The Speech Department maintains a formal attendance policy.  This policy will be strictly adhered to.  Please familiarize yourself with it at this time.

Speech 103 is a performance course, which requires a prepared, responsive audience to be effective.  Hence, you must participate in this course in three areas:  1) at the podium, as speaker; 2) in the audience for each speaker; 3) in class activities.  You will be held responsible for your attendance; the grade will be affected negatively for absences in excess of those allowed.


  1. You are allowed three (3) absences with no penalty.  "Arriving late" to class, and "leaving early" from class and “sleeping during” sessions will be taken into account when attendance is tabulated.
  2. Three arriving late and/or leaving early and/or sleeping in class will be counted as one absence.  Each absence in excess of the allowed number (3) will result in point reduction, reflected in lowering the final grade for the course according to each instructor’s point/grading schedule.

Course content or syllabus is tentative and may be altered due to unforeseen circumstances.


If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.