JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Public Speaking: Oral Rhetoric and Persuasion"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Barbara Ottaviani Jones
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 6:00 PM 7:15 PM

This course provides students with an introduction to the fundamentals of rhetoric and how they are applied in oral communication, and how these principles and concepts lead to effective public speaking. Students will learn how to prepare and organize persuasive speeches by learning the fundamental structures of the persuasive speech. In addition, students will begin to acquire basic skills in critical reasoning, including how to structure a thesis statement and support it through a specific line of reasoning using idea subordination, coordination, and parallel structure.
Throughout, we will work with the fundamentals of classical rhetoric and the bases of modern performance so as to create rounded, incisive, and memorable public speeches.   By analysing great speeches and speech-makers, we will seek to instil in students the necessity for logic, cohesion, and cogency in all acts of public speaking.   Students will make a total of six speeches to their classmates, variously framed as informative, explanatory, persuasive, pro and con, extempore and laudatory.
Effective presentation is essential to a successful public career.  By the end of this course students will have learnt techniques to overcome tension and nervousness prior to public performance, to garner instant and credit-worthy attention, to retain force and vigour when making speeches, and to adduce maximal resonance beyond the immediate moment.

Speech 1, Introduction SpeechThis is a warm-up 1 minute speech about yourself in an effort for us all to get to know each other. This should help you feel more comfortable speaking in front of your classmates.5 POINTS
Speech 2, Informative SpeechThis is a 5-7 minutes speech informing your classmates about a topic of your choice. We will model our speeches after TED Talks. The purpose of this speech is to sharpen research skills and provide credible evidence for your claims. Along with your in-https://myjcu.johncabot.edu/images/syllabus/btnAssignment.pngclass presentation, you will be required to turn in (on Moodle) your speech outlines and references.15 POINTS
Speech 3, Persuasive Speech This is a 8-10 minutes speech that will require you to craft effective arguments and to define and refute potential counterarguments. The purpose of your speech should be to request your audience to perform an action or to shift thoughts and feelings. Along with your in-class presentation, you will be required to turn in (on Moodle) your speech outlines and references.15 POINTS
Speech 4, Sensory Aid SpeechThis is a 5 minute speech that utilizes visual, audio, or other non-verbal tools. The focus of the speech will be to enhance your claims with effective tools. You may revisit a topic or idea from your informative or persuasive speech. Along with your in-class presentation, you will be required to turn in (on Moodle) your speech outlines and references.15 POINTS
Speech 5, Special Occasion SpeechThis is a 5 minute speech modeled after something that you may be asked to give in real life. This can be a wedding toast, a graduation speech, a keynote, an introduction, etc. You choose. This will be an opportunity to further practice language selection and audience adaptation in a less formal environment.5 POINTS
TED Talk Critique:As part of our discussion of informative speeches, you will provide a 2 page summary (500 words 12 pt double-spaced), critique of, and reflection on TED Talks watched in class. Including references. 8 POINTS
Shark Tank ExerciseThis is an in-class activity designed to put persuasive speaking skills into practice.5 points
Final Written Self-ReflectionThis is a 3-5 page (double-spaced, before references) self-reflection paper that discusses concepts learned and adopted, progress made, and room that remains for improvement. You should expand on what you’ve written in previous reflections, not just reiterate what you already said. Evaluate your improvement throughout the entire course, and how you wish to utilize all of the concepts learned in class. Think about future occasions where you will be asked to speak in front of others, and how you will utilize what you’ve learned here for those situations. This is in place of a final exam.15 POINTS
Final Oral PresentationThis is a 8/10 minutes speech informing your classmates about your final self-reflection.15 POINTS
Participation and AttendanceOne goal of this course is for you to feel more confident speaking up, asking questions, and participating more generally. Even lectures will have discussion components. We will learn more if we engage with each other and contribute to class discussions. Additionally, there will be several sessions where we will be doing impromptu speaking activities. These are very important for you to feel more comfortable speaking in a variety of settings and without formal preparation. Because of this, I expect students to attend all classes, other than pre-approved excused absences (illness, religious observance, university-sanctioned activities) or emergencies. An absence will be considered excused if it falls under one of those categories (pre-approved or emergency) and is accompanied by documentation. Attendance is mandatory. Final grades are reduced by one grade level (an overall final grade of A- will change to B+, for example) once unexcused absences exceed three in a semester. Should absences exceed six, students will be asked to withdraw from the class. It is advisable to notify the professor by the beginning of the second week of classes, if you know you will be absent from class for religious or other reasons. Two late arrivals count as one absence. If you are unexcused absent during the class assignments your grade is Zero, no make-up possibilities. 2 POINTS

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.