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Course Outcomes

The focus of this class is to understand basic speech theories and develop a variety of skills to help you become competent, audience-centered public speakers. When you have finished this course, you should be able to:

  1. Develop analytical listening and observation skills.
  2. Know how to speak publicly so your audience will really listen and understand.
  3. Construct and deliver effective extemporaneous public speeches.
  4. Manage speech anxiety and effective use nonverbal communication to inform, persuade, enlighten, and impact your audience.
  5. Produce and employ effective visual aids in your presentations.

Course Objective

This course is designed to help you learn the fundamentals of effective public speaking. At the conclusion of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Know how to successfully manage speech anxiety.
  2. Understand the ethical responsibilities of a public speaker.
  3. Be able to deliver speeches that are both vocally engaging and employ effective nonverbal communication.
  4. Know how to create and adapt speeches for different audiences and read audience feedback while giving presentations.
  5. Be able to construct, organize, and deliver effective extemporaneous speeches, manuscript presentations, and know how to handle impromptu situations in a competent manner.
  6. Know how to write and use a speaker’s key-word outline, formal outline, or manuscript when presenting speeches.
  7. Understand how to use research to support speech topics and acknowledge source material while speaking.
  8. Be able to create and use effective visual aids for speaking engagements.
  9. Understand how to construct ethical and competent arguments.
  10. Know how to use language in a powerful and appropriate manner for different audiences and speaking situations.

Course Materials

There are no required materials for this course.

All speeches must be recorded in video format and uploaded to Youtube (click here for upload instructions). Submit your links to the recordings to Independent Study. If you need to submit multiple attachments in Buzz, follow the submission instructions.

You will need to submit a scanned copy of an official picture ID card with your first assignment. Your assignment will not be graded without it. 

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Each lesson will include information that will assist you in becoming a better communicator. Read the lessons carefully and take notes so you can successfully complete the quiz at the end of each lesson. Eight of the nine lessons require you to record yourself giving a speech. Several require outlines or manuscripts and visual aids.

Lesson One: Teaches you how to portray confidence while facing your fears. You will learn the basic tasks of speech giving and how to engage the audience through your vocal delivery. You will become familiar with your voice by recording and submitting your favorite poem and quote.

Lesson Two: Explains how to analyze and connect with your audience through humor and stories. You will learn more about ethics in speaking. You will demonstrate the basics by recording and submitting your self-introductory speech and outline.

Lesson Three: teaches the different methods of delivery. You will learn how to choose a topic, organize a speech, and how to use nonverbal mannerisms to enhance your message. You will organize, deliver, and submit a recorded impromptu speech and impromptu practice outlines.

Lesson Four: teaches how to research and support your speeches. You will learn how to cite sources while speaking and use visuals aids to support your speech. This lesson will give you a good foundation for the remaining speeches you will give in this class. There is not a recorded speech requirement for this lesson.

Lesson Five: teaches the speech types and organization options for informational speaking. You will submit a full sentence outline with bibliography and recorded informative speech. A visual aid must also be submitted.

Lesson Six: is on the art of persuasion—learning the methods and tools of persuasion. You will submit a full sentence outline with bibliography and recorded persuasive speech. A visual aid must also be submitted and used during the speech.

Lesson Seven: is on argumentation, critical thinking, and building relations with your audience. You will submit a full sentence outline with bibliography and recorded argumentative speech. A visual aid must also be submitted and used during the speech.

Lesson Eight: discusses the use of language. You will rewrite and rerecord your persuasive speech. Submit the changed outline and new recording.

Lesson Nine: teaches speaking for special occasions. For your final assignment you will write and record an after-dinner or tribute speech. You will need to also submit your manuscript.

It’s very important that you submit all of the assignments for a lesson portfolio at the same time. Here’s how to submit your completed assignments:

  1. Click the Instructor-Graded Assignment Submission link in your course.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Attach all of the relevant assignments and information for that lesson by clicking the Choose File button, then locating the file(s) you wish to submit. (May include the speech recording, outline or manuscript, bibliography, and a visual aid for lessons 5-8)
  4. To attach additional files, click Add Attachment and use the Choose File button to locate and upload the next file. Make sure you attach every file you need included in the portfolio for each lesson.
  5. When you are finished, click Submit.
  6. You will be asked if you are sure you want to submit this assignment. Click Yes.
  7. You will receive a message that tells you that you have successfully submitted your assignment. Click OK.

Remember: Do not submit any lesson portfolio until you have completed all of the assignments for the lesson! Make sure to submit your YouTube link(s) in the comments area.

While you have a full year to complete the course, reminders in your course will help you know how keep a consonant pace. There are no penalties for submitting assignments after these suggested deadlines have passed. It is your responsibility to turn in your recordings in a way that will help you meet your own goals. Assignments are generally graded within 5-8 business days after submission.

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There is a grading evaluation rubric for each speech assignment. After listening to your speeches and reviewing your written work, I will assign a grade according to the evaluation forms included at the end of each lesson. Each speech will be given a numerical score and will include personal feedback. There are eight lesson portfolios that will include speech recording(s). Some will require an outline or manuscript, bibliography, or a visual aid (for lessons 5-8). Your speaking assignments are worth 90% of your grade and will be given the following weights when calculating your grade:

Lesson # % of Grade
Lesson 1 Portfolio - Poem and Quote Reading Assignment Submission 5
Lesson 1 Quiz 1
Lesson 2 Portfolio - Speech of Introduction Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 2 Quiz 1
Lesson 3 Portfolio - Impromptu Speech Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 3 Quiz 1
Lesson 4 Portfolio - Informative Speeches and Sources Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 4 Quiz 1
Lesson 5 Portfolio - Informative Speech Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 5 Quiz 1
Lesson 6 Portfolio - Policy Persuasive Speech Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 6 Quiz 1
Lesson 7 Portfolio - Argumentative Speech Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 7 Quiz 1
Lesson 8 Portfolio - Argumentative Speech Writing Assignment Submission 15
Lesson 8 Quiz 1
Lesson 9 Portfolio - Special Occasion Speech Assignment Submission 10
Lesson 9 Quiz 2

There are Speedback quizzes at the end of each lesson. The quizzes contain matching and multiple-choice questions and are processed by computer. Quizzes are worth 10% of your grade. There will not be a midterm or final exam for this course.

Grading Scale

Grading will be on a straight percentage scale as follows:

A 100-94 C 76-75
A- 93-90 C- 74-70
B+ 89-87 D+ 69-67
B 86-85 D 66-65
B- 84-80 D- 64-60
C+ 79-77 E 59 or below

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Course Contents

Lesson One: You and Public Speaking
Lesson Two: Connecting With Your Audience
Lesson Three: Delivering Your Speech with Style
Lesson Four: Researching and Supporting Your Speech
Lesson Five: Informative Speaking
Lesson Six: Persuasion with Passion
Lesson Seven: Argumentation, Critical Thinking, and Ethics
Lesson Eight: The Speaker’s Language
Lesson Nine: Speaking On Special Occasions

[ LINK REMOVED ] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


Nine computer-graded assignments and nine instructor-graded assignments, may be resubmitted once for a fee. Students must pass the final assignment to pass the course.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


There are no midcourse or final exams for this course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514