Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

COMM 101 Public Speaking & Critical Thinking

Summer 2016 - Session I

COMM  101: A01 Public Speaking & Critical Thinking

First Summer Semester 2016                                                                                                            M & W     9am-12:20pm



Scope of Course 

Public Speaking & Critical Thinking is designed to help student develop their contribution to public discourse through public speaking In this course, students will learn how to develop, research, organize, write, and deliver their ideas to public [as distinct from interpersonal] audiences. Students will also learn how to form and deliver critique. Building clear, concise, focused, and ethical content for identifiable public audiences is a skill that requires that we must be intelligent, thoughtful, and critical listeners as well as speakers. Especially because this course is being offered in Rome, students will also learn about the grounding of our Western understanding of rhetoric in Greek and Roman tradition.


By the end of this class, students should be able to:

  • Determine the purpose of each presentation they deliver and hear
  • Understand and apply the five classical Western canons of rhetoric [first codified in Rome, which trace the traditional tasks in designing a persuasive speech: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.
  • Understand and apply the Aristotelian concepts of ethos, pathos, and logos with regard to themselves, their classmates, and other rhetors
  • Use their experiences in Rome and beyond to develop stories that will engage their particular audiences
  • State positions on issues and defend those positions logically and with proper documentation
  • Assess the credibility of the sources used by themselves and others
  • Assess the coherence of the arguments used by themselves and others
  • Assess the effectiveness of visual aids used by themselves and others
  • Apply principles of effective delivery to their own presentations and those of others





Dr. Bren Ortega Murphy bmurphy@luc.edu            Office Hours: M-W 1:00-2:00pm



The Speaker’s Guidebook, O’Hair, Stewart, & Rubenstein – 6th Edition

Assigned readings posted on Sakai

Course FB page:


Attendance counts. Being on time counts. Participation while you are in class counts. You are expected to be present for lectures, the presentations of others and, of course, your own presentations. You are expected to have something to say in course discussions, including the critique of presentations. Missed work cannot be made up without prior permission. Leaving early, using personal social media in class, and doing any other non-class related activities are distractions to you, me and your classmates. They undermine our community experience and subtract from your Participation Grade. We are expected to be present to each other.


Classroom Citizenship

Students and teachers are expected to respect each other. When we enter the classroom we are members of a learning community. Your success depends on your neighbors’ successes. Learning is collaborative. In discussion, reactions to others’ contributions, group work, and even lecture, understanding is co-produced. Your perspectives and questions matter as do those of your classmates and your teacher. Let us treat each other with openness and kindness. That said, let us expect intelligent and ethical behavior from one another. Our mutual expectation for responsible and constructive communication elevates the entire experience.





  • Participation                                                                 14%
    • In-class activities such as discussion, feedback on colleagues’ presentations, presentation development workshops, impromptu speeches, and writing exercises.
    • Criteria for evaluation: promptness, active engagement
    • Purpose is to provide theoretical and practical basis for intellectual understanding and effective speech delivery
  • 2 exams                                                                        24% [12% each]
    • In-class written examinations on lecture and text
    • Criteria for evaluation: coherence of explanation and support for arguments
    • Purpose is to ascertain student understanding of basic principles and concepts
  • Short Presentations/Storytelling                                     40%
    • 5-7 minute prepared speeches on assigned topics

Presentation must include a written plan [format will be provided]

  • Criteria for evaluation: clarity of plan and effectiveness of presentation
  • Purpose is to give students multiple experiences in developing and delivering effective presentations as well as developing/understanding their particular voice


  • Journal                                                                         12%
    • Written journal with daily entries about things observed on and off campus, ideas for short talks, ideas for final presentation.
    • Criteria for evaluation: quantity [at least one entry/day] and quality [closeness, depth and clarity of observation]
    • Purpose is to give students material for presentations


  • Final Presentation                                                         12%
    • 8-10 minute oral presentation with 2-1 min Q&A session
    • Criteria for evaluation: coherence of argument and support as well as effective delivery and ability to
    • Purpose is to



The grade given to average work on all assignments is a C. So if you simply complete the minimum work for each assignment, expect to earn a C for that work. Grades of B or  A indicate achievement above average. Grades of A in particular indicate exceptional work. Grades below C indicate inadequacies or errors in any or all of the grading criteria.

Late work will be penalized unless prior arrangements have been made. I can be contacted through email, office hours and appointment.  

Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are unacceptable and will be dealt with in accordance with the guidelines stated in the undergraduate studies handbook. You are responsible for understanding what constitutes plagiarism according to the Loyola University Chicago Student Handbook. Penalties range from a grade of zero for the specific assignment involved to failure in the course and notification of the appropriate dean[s] with the possibility of further action. 

Proposed Schedule

Date                Topic                                                                  Text/ Assignment  

Week One        Introduction                                                      OSR 1-7, 17-18

                        Basic skills & fundamental perspectives             Readings in rhetoric tbd

                                                                                                  Impromptu speeches


Week Two        Experiential Storytelling                           OSR 8-16

Invention, Research and Organization                             Short Presentations

Exam #1


Week Three      Experiential Storytelling                           OSR 20-31

                        Informing and Engaging                            Short Presentations


Week Four       Experiential Storytelling                            Exam #2

                        Persuading                                                Journals due


Week Five        Bringing it all together                              Final Speeches