• School of Communication Studies
  • Lasher Hall, 43 West Union
  • Athens, Ohio 45701
  • Phone: (740) 593-4828
  • Fax: (740) 593-4810

General Information

This page is for the instructors of the Scripps Learning Community sections of COMS 103, fall quarter 2010. 


This section of COMS 103 is specifically designed for students in the College of Communication. Although there are clear differences between the different majors in the college, there are a few things that draw us all together. One theme is the symbolic management of meaning in public contexts. To study symbolism is to consider how meanings are created, communicated, contested, and changed. While the theory and practice studied here apply to diverse relationships and situations, we will focus on the forms, content, and functions of public speaking. As members of this learning community, you are developing expertise on creating public messages (visual, mediated, and oral), and with this expertise you have a responsibility to participate in civic life. This course can prepare you for that responsibility by helping you become a better communicator and critical consumer of public messages.

A second theme that drives this course is a recognition that narrative is a compelling and powerful part of public communication. Stories can help people connect public issues to their own lived experiences while also illuminating the perspectives of others. Stories can bring issues to the public attention in vivid and compelling ways, and can also mobilize audiences to take public action. Stories can potentially be dangerous in public life, though, as they may be used to exploit someone’s experience, distort public perspectives, or call people to action without engaging in critical thinking and analysis of arguments. In this course we will explore an approach to public communication that balances argumentation and critical thinking with visual and discursive approaches to narrative. This approach views public speaking as responsible communication informed by curiosity and creativity.


Additional Readings

Speech Assignments and Grading Rubrics

Teaching Resources

Exam and Quiz material