Group Discussion

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SPE 215

       Course Name: Group Discussion

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course offers an introduction to the principles of group problem solving. Content includes patterns of leadership roles, group process, and interpersonal behavior within the small group. Focus is on verbal techniques, roles, and communication skills within the small group structure.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Student will be able: to define the nature and role of group communication in today’s world.
  2. Student will be able: to organize group problem solving, using the steps of reflective thinking.
  3. Student will be able: to participate effectively in a group as a member or leader.
  4. Student will be able: to make effective and creative contributions to a group.
  5. Student will be able: to organize and conduct a panel discussion, symposium, forum or written report.
  6. Student will be able: to develop and execute a plan for coordinating a group project.

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

  1. Solving Problems (Defining - Preparation - Process)
  2. Leadership Roles, Responsibility and Styles
  3. Interpersonal Activity Styles
  4. Communication Barriers and Enhancers
  5. Managing Meetings
  6. Reporting Group Recommendations
  7. Evaluation Practices
  8. Group Discussion in Business and Education

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Case Studies
  2. Group projects and presentations
  3. Video-Audio tapes
  4. Guest Speakers

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

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading:
    Text and Handouts
    Group Evaluations and Reports
  2. Writing:
    One daily diary of group work, which contains 15 to 20 pages of evaluation and discussion.
    Five feedback papers of two pages each which speak to the topical areas.
    Collaboration with two groups on a written investigation and delineation with a final report of at least five to seven pages.
  3. Oral Presentations:
    There will be two actual presentations of group project work for each individual student.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

  1. Textbooks: Check with the Chairman for current list
  2. Handouts
  3. Case Studies

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Tests on Handouts and Text
  2. Graded Diaries
  3. Graded evaluation papers
  4. Graded group activities (individual and group)
  5. Graded feedback papers

XI.   Other Course Information

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

Speech 215 is a performance course, which requires a prepared, responsive audience to be effective.  Hence, you must participate in this course in three areas:  1) as speaker;  2) audience;  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.

You are allowed three (3) absences with no penalty.  1) “Arriving late” to and “leaving early” from class sessions will be taken into account when attendance is tabulated.  2)  Four late arrivals and/or leaving early will be counted as one absence.  Each absence in excess of the allowed number (3) will result in a reduction of the final grade by one full grade.

In some special medical and emergency situations, the instructor will consider a request to omit an incident of tardiness, absence or leaving early from your record.  (No grade impact on assignment.)

Grading Policy:

  1. The final grade will be based on the student’s level of proficiency communicating and his/her knowledge of the principles of effective communication as demonstrated in the oral assignments and in written work.  Improvement is necessary to receive high grades as assignments get more difficult.
  2. In determining the student’s final grade, speaking ability will be given slightly more weight than written work.  BUT A STUDENT MUST BE PASSING IN BOTH SPOKEN AND WRITTEN WORK TO RECEIVE A PASSING GRADE IN THE COURSE.

Late Assignments:
Papers not turned in on the due date will be lowered one grade and must be in by the next class session, or a grade of “F” will be recorded.

Oral presentations not delivered on the due date will be lowered one grade and must be ready for the next class session (if instructor feels time allows), or s/he will re-schedule as class time allows.  If speeches are not ready at this time, an “F” grade will be recorded.

Writing Assignments:
College level work will be expected on all assignments.  Grammar and style will influence your grade.  Sloppy work will be returned at a reduced grade and must be resubmitted.


  • All papers require a coversheet with your name, section number, class number and title of project:  must use staple—not clip.  Failure to follow these directions will result in a reduction of grade.
  • There is no make-up final!
  • No scratch outs, pencil, or pen marks may appear on outlines or papers.  Deductions will be made on grade.
  • All work will be typed unless otherwise stated.

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

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

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.