Competitive Speaking

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SPE 220

       Course Name: Competitive Speaking

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Completion of SPE 103 with a minimum grade of C or instructor consent

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides study and practice within 11 different individual events, along with Debate and Interpreters Theater that are commonly a part of forensic competition. Course focuses on research of subject matter, performance, and professionalism as a competitive speaker. Successful completion of the course requires students to engage in competitive intercollegiate forensics as a productive member of a speech team.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Forensics is a competitive activity that enables students to develop their writing, public speaking, acting, comedic, debate and/or political skills. Students will:

  1. Develop time management skills, performance ability, teamwork skills, and academic output to craft presentations for forensic competitions.
  2. Research, select, develop, memorize and present, with conviction and eloquence, at one or more speech team events during the speech competition season.
  3. Recall and apply theories related to the oral interpretation of literature and analyze literature according to plot, characters, setting, theme, point-of-view, language style, and adaptability for oral performance.
  4. Perform literature aloud with variety in voice, facial expressions, gestures, posture, and movement, and analyze the literature to support their performance choices.
  5. Prepare and present platform speeches using research, organization, and delivery skills.

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. Informative Speaking
  2. Persuasive Speaking
  3. Speech to Entertain
  4. Communication Analysis
  5. Poetry
  6. Prose
  7. Dramatic Interpretation
  8. Program Oral Interpretation
  9. Duo Interpretation
  10. Extemporaneous Speaking
  11. Impromptu Speaking
  12. Parliamentary Debate
  13. Interpreters Theater

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture/discussion of necessary information, including topic selection, research, writing and speaking drafts of one or more topics
  2. Demonstration of effective/ineffective events
  3. Students will practice, rehearse and perform in both intramural and interscholastic forensic activities (prior to these activities, students will be required to observe one or two forensic tournaments before formally competing)
  4. Independent student work on presentations for competition
  5. Individualized coaching and direction on each student’s event or events
  6. Judges will rank the performers, and both peers and instructor will provide feedback of presentations at events.

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

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Oral Presentations (1-4)
  2. Typed speech outlines/typed speech drafts
  3. Structured peer evaluations
  4. Maintain a 2.5 GPA, in good academic standing. If GPA drops below 2.5, student may not be able to compete at tournaments. Enrollment in at least 9 semester hours at Oakton Community College.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

Text (required) in its most recent edition:
Intercollegiate Forensics, T.C. Winebrenner, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Feedback (instructor, self, audience) on each event.
  2. Individual appointments/assessment with/by forensic instructor/director/advisor via a coaching schedule and/or workshop times
  3. Tests on information from lecture, texts
  4. Outlines and drafts of each presentation for each event. Both instructor and student will identify events of interest and then work on topics and/or find literature depending on the specific event requirements.

XI.   Other Course Information

Attendance is required in this course.

Competitive Speaking 220 is a performance course, which requires prepared, responsive audience to be effective. Hence, students must participate in the course in three areas: 1) at the podium, as speaker; 2) in the audience for each speaker; 3) in class activities. Students will be held responsible for absences in excess of those allowed above.

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

Tournament attendance is required. On presentation/rehearsal days, students must dress in business casual.  During tournaments, they must wear appropriate business attire.

Please meet privately with instructor regarding any special or unique 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

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.