Public Speaking Class Syllabus

(Your Final grade is NOT determined until all of your assignments are complete. You must speak and write English well or I may not be able to give you a passing grade.)

James Ameen, Rio Hondo College–class syllabus

Regarding spring semester, 2021, the CRN details are: #30079, #30211, and #30083. You can see them listed in the Class Schedule on the Rio Hondo College website. However, since this is an on-line class, please read the following statement.

My classes are on-line. First, email me at Then, we will set up a time to video or voice–you make the choice. Our conversation will influence what I want you to do to try and get an A in the class.

I am available every day between 12noon-to-2pm and 4pm-to-6pm. These times are in addition to your class times. In other words, I will adjust to your schedule. However, I will write times I am not available–for personal reasons–on the schedule.

The advantages of video: you can go to-and-from your websites, videos, and power-point. (You do not have to use power-point–if you would prefer not to use it.)

The advantages of voice: you can tell me your websites and videos and I can look them up as you proceed talking about your speech.



(This syllabus will change. Please be aware of those changes. Speech schedules may change, as well, so please be aware of your speech dates and try not to ignore them. Always look at the schedule link before emailing me a date and time to talk.)

(There is no specific text for the class. The internet has all you need to know about public speaking, and the library and book stores have public speaking books you can rent.)

(If you have a disability, please tell me so I can adapt to your needs. If this applies to you, please contact the DSPS services at Rio Hondo College and visit their link on the Rio Hondo College website. Also, read the DSPS message at the end of this page.)

(If you do not understand the syllabus, call me and I will explain it to you.)

Speech grading system (including SLOs–student learning outcomes)

FIVE separate speeches, are worth 100 point each; the 100 points per speech include time, organization, logic and delivery (TOLD) :

1.) Time–15 to 20 minutes for each speech and how well did the student use the time correctly with her/his introduction, body, and conclusion (25 or zero points) ?

(I will interrupt your speeches many times for many reasons: wait, we need to talk about that point more in detail; please slow down I am trying to catch up with you; where are the primary sources within this video or website?; you are not prepared for your speech because you did not practice it several times before today’s speech; start over, and allow us to follow your organizational pattern; we have time to look for another website or video to support your claims; etc.)

(My intent is NOT to be mean to you, but to eventually try and give you the final grade you want. You will probably not remember me in 10, 20, 30 years, etc., but you probably will remember your grade.)

(Several students do not understand why I am interrupting them. Then, as the class progresses, they realize I am trying to “fix” the organization of the speeches. When the class understands that my classroom climate is about helping each other succeed, then they appreciate the pauses. Also, in real life, there will be many interruptions from people who want to ask you a question or comment during your speech.)

2.) Organization–your speeches, and speech outlines, should have an appropriate introduction, body, transitions, and conclusion (25 or zero points).

(Many times, a student ignores the fact that the audience is trying to follow the organization of his/her speech. The speaker has already seen the speech outline many times, but he/she does not remember that the audience has never seen the speech outline. Therefore, we have to talk slowly and clear, or organized, to help our audience appreciate our speeches.)

3.) Logic–at least three main sources that are credible websites and/or videos (25 or zero points)–videos should not be more than half of the speech and each video should not be more than two minutes. Do not just show long videos; if the videos seem long, stop a few or several times to explain the significance of moments in the videos that are especially important to supporting your speech purpose.

(If you prefer to show videos, your audience has a short attention span and will only appreciate videos that are short and entertaining and/or educational to them.)

(Remember that the audience will get bored or anxious quickly. It is up to you to keep them interested. Also, people do not want to waste their time; it is up to you to remind them how important your speech is to their life. This idea can be associated with the term “audience-centered.”)

(There exists primary and secondary sources. Please use research-based, primary sources. For example, a website blogger, as a questionable and biased secondary source, tries to be credible by quoting the original research-based article, or the primary source.)

4.) Delivery–look at the audience, do not read, and use your notes sparingly (25 or zero points). If we are unable, or do not want to use video chat, and voice is available, then just proceed slowly.

(I may choose to give a student a zero on a speech, and have the student do the speech over again, if he or she did not do the speech correctly. I will not grade speeches that are under 15 minutes, and I may choose to allow a student to give a speech over 20 minutes if there is time.)

(Notice that the speech grading criteria can be remembered easily with the word TOLD–time, organization, logic, and delivery.)

(If you want immediate feedback from me regarding your speech, you need to tell me. I will give you feedback that may help you regarding your next speech. Yes, we can talk during the same conversation wherein we are completing your specific assignment.)

Grade scale (Five speeches is equal to a possible 500 points)





Below 300 is an F

Speech issues

A way to try and eliminate cheating, is for you to give me your five topics, and for me to tell you what I would like you to do regarding those topics. If we disagree, then we will compromise. Then, I will see if your unique typed speech outlines reveal an organized pattern related to your credible sources.

Your speech schedule will be on the schedule link. Your first name and last initial will be next to the five separate class dates related to the days you are scheduled to speak. As a reminder, a student may have to give six or more speeches if the first five speeches are done incorrectly. So, get the speeches done early! Then, if you did not get an A, then you will have time to do more speeches.

Please avoid these topics: advocating/promoting weapons or war, abortion (pro-life or pro-choice), evangelical religious fundamentalism (e.g., damnation speeches, religious propaganda, etc.), pyramid schemes, the one and only diet plan, and selling a toxic product. Also, certain media are promoting racism and sexism. Please avoid advocating or promoting these media websites or videos.

Typed speech outlines

Your five separate typed outlines will be due on a specific date. Please refer to the class links on this website regarding your speech schedule and when your typed outlines are due and/or when your speeches are due. Your speeches will NOT be scheduled until I approve your topics and five typed outlines. Therefore, you will lose 100 points per speech if I do NOT receive your CORRECT typed outlines when they are due.

An outline is just one-to-two pages–that is, five separate typed outlines would be five-to-ten pages in total. However, if you want an outline to be more than one-to-two pages, you may do so.

Please remember that your outlines just give me an idea of what you are speaking about concerning each speech, and NOT a complete written speech. Therefore, your actual speech may be new to me as I have only seen a simple outline. As a result, I will be interrupting your speeches for clarification and corrections. All of this is meant to try and give you the grade you want in the class.

(Please refer to the speech outline example link if you want to see how an outline can be done. I may be presenting one or more of the five speeches for you so you can hear how these speech outlines become actual speeches. You have to tell me if you want me to present a speech to you.)

I will receive your outlines through email attachments and Google Docs. You must keep your outlines, or back up your outlines, in case I need to compare your outlines throughout our conversations. I will be telling you how to fix the outlines so you can learn rather than feel that you have lost points.

(I prefer that you send me your outlines through Access Rio. You use your Access Rio username and password, email me at, and then send your attachments through that email. Your attachments are Google Docs files. Provide for me a day and time to talk about your attachments.)

(I know that we are using Google Duo and gmail to communicate. However, we are using your email address for your Google Docs attachments.)

The way that I teach is through a process, not a final grade. That is, if you receive a low score on a speech, then I will wait for your next speech. If I discover that you are making the corrections I asked for, then I will give you back the points you lost on previous speeches. Please remember that I cannot do this after the last day of class. So, try to complete your typed outlines and speeches early so there will not be more stress between us towards the last days of the class.

Remember that if your first five outlines and speeches are done incorrectly, and you do not fix them, then you will have to make sure you have enough time to do a sixth (or more) outline and speech.

Rio Hondo College important notes to students:

DSPS message:

If any student has any condition, such as a physical or learning disability, which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined, or which will require academic accommodations, please notify me as soon as possible. Please contact the instructor or the Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSPS) office located on the third floor of the Student Services Building. DSPS staff are working remotely during COVID-19 but are still here to support you. If you have any computer or software questions, please call them at: 562-908-3420.

Student Learning Outcomes from the Speech Department:

Participating Area: Speech 101

Public Speaking

1. Students will conclude the course with the ability to deliver coherent speeches inclusive of a distinctive introduction, body & conclusion. The body of the speeches include 2-3 substantive main points and appropriate transitions (previews, transitions and summaries) were integrated in the speech.

2. Students should be able to control/manage their verbal, vocal and nonverbal communication to enhance the audience’s understanding of the speech.

Helpful link regarding students’ resource services: