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Public Communication Syllabus

M-W-F, 1-1:50 pm

Your Host:
Mr. B (Steve Beverly)

Office Phone: 5380 | Office: 310, Jennings Hall

E-mail: or

Important Instructor Websites

The Public Communication Online Student Center
Mr. B's Home Page

Course Objectives

If this is your first college course, you are experiencing among the first of your syllabi which have the obligatory "course objectives." Most of them are designed in complex language to tell you how much better you will be as a human being for all of the knowledge you will soak up in the course.

Let's say it plainly, straight, and to the point: you will learn how to build your confidence here. You'll speak before your peers (and me) four times, learn how to analyze a speech, and be exposed to some exercises in better listening skills. Some of you need to have your nerves bolstered because you aren't comfortable with this format. Let's look at it this way----no matter what you do for your career, you will have to make presentations before people. We may as well learn how to do it among friends here.

Materials Needed

  • Read your textbook when chapters are assigned. College students don't like to do that today. But how can I say it any more specifically? You can't do well on exams or keep up with concepts if you don't read daily as assigned. Either read it or weep.

  • Access to a computer with internet access---either your own, or one in the computer lab or library. You will be expected to have downloaded or read assigned online material. You will click in at Public Communication Online Center. You will have extensive chapter outlines, speech tips, glossaries and quizzes.

    Now that you are in college, you are beyond the coddling stage and either you will come to class prepared to discuss practical applications of your day's subject matter, or the entire class will have to do Riverdance for the remainder of the 75 minutes.

    Your readings will be assigned from the book chapters or as daily internet episodes. You will be expected to download the episodes by number assigned on a specific day to be prepared for the next class session.

  • Note Cards: The 5x7, 4x6, or 3x5 will be acceptable. But you must use note cards for your speeches---not full sheets of notebook paper. This is the professional method for public speaking and we will abide by it. Anything other than note cards results in a one letter-grade penalty off the top.
Tests/Papers/Speeches/Grades/Coffee Breaks

  • Tests: Eight quizzes which will count 15 points each. Final exam will count either one or two grades, depending on what helps you the most. Test dates will be posted in a separate handout next week. Makeups are not given for quizzes, since you are taking them online. You simply must e-mail the quiz in by the deadline offered.

  • Speeches: Six during the semester. Dates will be set aside over a three-day class period to complete them. Order will be determined by Mr. B. Attendance policy will be a major factor in this area.

  • Grades: You'll get some. The numbers: 92-100 (A), 84-91 (B), 75-83 (C), 65-74 (D), Below 65 (lovely parting gifts of Turtle Wax and Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat).. Don't even come to my office and tell me, "I need an 'A,' Mr. B." I need $100,000 but Dr. Dockery isn't going to give it to me because I go up to him and tell him I need it. You'll get and "A" if you make one. My charitable giving and community service ends in my gradebook. You will receive what you make---plain and simple!

  • Papers: You'll do one. You'll be assigned a speech to listen to and then be required to do a written critique of the speech. You'll have a sample to show you how. Worth 100 points.

  • Coffee Breaks: As needed. Particularly if you nod in class, I will send out for some Folger's for you because that's the best part of wakin' up---Folger's in your cup!

Attendance Policy

    Because we typically have a majority of first-quarter freshmen in this class, I take great pains to spell out my attendance policy: BE HERE!

    That's for your own good. However, here are some specifics you will be required to follow as far as attendance:
    Attendance is mandatory on the day of your assigned speech and all of your classmates' speeches: In order to simulate the correct circumstances of public speaking, we have to have an audience for all speeches. None of this giving yours on the first day and sitting out the other three. Therefore, you will be automatically deducted one letter grade on your speech for all unexcused absences on days of speeches.

    You are expected to bring documentation of absences due to illness or funerals: Hate to be strict, gang, but too many before you have abused the rule. I've heard every excuse in the book and you can't invent one. If you can't prove it, it isn't excused. If you go on a university-approved trip, Dr. Sanderson's office will inform me. If you're sick or have a legitimate family emergency, I expect to hear from you as close to the day of your illness or emergency as possible. My phone is listed here, home and office, and my e-mail address is available. You can also send word to me through friends. I do not accept excuses one week late when I have not heard from you. It is your responsibility to inform me.

    Weddings, traffic court, and subpoenas are not excused absences: On the former, too many students suddenly "remember I have a wedding this weekend," when it falls on the date of a speech or exam. Your immediate goal in life should be to have more honesty than the former President of the United States and that doesn't take much effort. Just don't make up an excuse. The others are self-explanatory.
    Final Instructions

    Let's quit talking about it and just do it! The tribe has spoken....and that's my final answer!