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Public Communication Syllabus

M-W-F, 8-8:50 am

Your Host:
Mr. B (Steve Beverly)

Office Phone: 5380 | Home: (901) 783-5295

E-mail: or

Important Instructor Websites
Mr. B's Home Page
The UBS Page
UBS News

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 and read assigned online material. You will click in at and click the link Public Communication. I will post material there regularly, as well as your grades on exams (under confidential nicknames).

    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 50 minutes.

    Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT come to class and complain to me, "Mr. B, I couldn't get through to the website. Servers do go down, but usually the fault is the part of the student who will try one or two times for five minutes and then never again before coming to class. Be persistent at different intervals if you cannot make a web connection the first or second time after an assignment is made.

    Your readings will be assigned as daily episodes. You will be expected to download them by number assigned on a specific day to be prepared for the next class session. Get used to this. This will be the wave of the future in the classroom.

  • 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: 3 of them, 100 points each. Final exam, 200. Test dates will be posted in a separate online page next week. No, I don't make up tests for absences on the day a test is given or a project is due, unless it is a university-approved absence and documentation is given. No matter how much I like you and your family.

  • Speeches: 4 of them: two informative, one persuasive, one demonstration. Dates will be set aside over a four-class day 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: 94-100 (A), 86-93 (B), 75-85 (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.

  • Bonus: You will be responsible for filling the audience for I've Heard That Song!, Tennessee's favorite musical game show which we produce here at Union, in April (the 26th, to be exact) for bonus points on the final exam. Those are always good bonus points and the easiest points you'll obtain in this class. To be explained later.

  • 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 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! And remember....the best music is the Music of Your Life! Goodnight, everybody.....

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