COM 491 Teaching Communication Activities

Dr. Marcia D. Dixson

Summer, 2009


Office Hours: 10-11:30 MTR; NF 230B

Phone: 481-6558



Objective: To create effective lessons for teaching high school speech in the following areas:

Unit One: Overcoming communication apprehension


Understanding Communication Apprehension - McCroskey's concepualization

Intercultural communication apprehension


Given this conceptualization of CA - what are the requirements for helping students in a speech class overcome this? What can you do (3-5 ideas/exercise etc.)?


  1. 2-4 page paper explaining CA and methods for helping students. Due date: July 6th
  2. Create a unit that is designed to help students overcome CA in the speech class. Due Date: July 13th.
        1. Unit Resources
        2. Unit Rubric

Unit Two: Developing the nonverbal aspects of public speaking:


Dobkin and Pace Chapter


What nonverbal channels are important to public speaking?

What do students need to know about those channels to improve their public speaking?

What exercises/activities could they do to improve their nonverbal public speaking skills?

How will you grade the nonverbal aspects of public speaking?


  1. 2-3 page paper answering the above questions. Due Date: July 13
  2. Create a unit that is designed to help students both understand the importance/effects of nonverbal communication and to work on their nonverbal skills in the public speaking environment. Due Date: July 20.
      1. Unit Resources
      2. Unit Rubric

Unit Three: Using groups successfully in the speech class


Team learning - overview

Team learning: Designing activities

Cooperative Learning Overview

Harvard Education Letter on Cooperative Learning

Berkeley's Perspective on Designing Cooperative Learning Activities


What are the advantages and disadvantages of using cooperative learning?

What is the difference between teams and other cooperative learning activities? When might each be appropriate?

What are some considerations when designing cooperative learning assignments/exercises? When grading them?


  1. 2-3 page paper answering the above questions. Due date: July 20.
  2. Create a unit that is designed to help students with their public speaking skills by using cooperative learning. Due Date: July 27

Unit Four: Evaluating speeches - different kinds


Stevens/Levi, Introduction to Rubrics - Chapters 1, 2 and 3

Rubrics: A list of web resources about rubrics

Creating a rubric

Some sample rubrics

Speech rubrics


What are some reasons to use rubrics?

What do you need to consider in constructing a rubric?

What criteria would you use to evaluate a rubric?


  1. 1-2 page paper answering the above questions. Due date: July 27
  2. Create 4 rubrics for grading different types of oral presentations. Due date: August 3.

Unit Five: Teaching public speaking


What are the primary components of teaching public speaking (i.e., audience analysis, research methods, organization patterns, delivery aspects, introduction/conclusions) ?

What kinds of resources would be helpful for students to have access to?


  1. Develop a website/packet of handouts that students can use to find information about public speaking - choose 3-4 areas and develop a webpage/packet for each area. Due date: August 3



All nine assignments will be equally weighted and averaged for the course grade.

90 - 93% A-
94 - 100% A
80 - 82% B-
83 - 86% B
87 - 89% B+
70 - 72% C-
73 - 76% C
77 - 79% C+
60 - 62% D-
63 - 66%; D
67 - 69% D+
0 - 59% F