COM 110: Public Communication
To graduate from MSU, every student is required to take a CORE 2.0 University Seminar (US) course. COM 110 is one such course which covers the fundamentals of effective individual and group public speaking.
The average person spends years of schooling developing critical thinking and writing skills in order to better market his or her ideas in a chosen profession. A good idea, however, may never get attention unless the creator can present it orally to the right audience in a credible and compelling way. Pick any discipline or any career, and you will find that effective public speaking skills will enhance professional progression.Career Services at Montana State University conducts surveys each year with employers who specifically seek out MSU graduates.Each year, oral communication ranks in the top three for desired employee qualities. Other key qualities are ethics, problem solving skills, listening, planning, creativity, and teamwork. COM 110 has been consciously structured with these qualities in mind.
Therefore, we immerse students in the public communication process: theory (tested with two exams, 25% of the course), critical thinking (seen in research, support, and organizational decisions), and practical speech applications (shown by student speeches). We also stress critical human aspects of communication, such as confidence, listening skills, and even ethics.
Besides public communication, we stress intrapersonal, interpersonal, and group communication. We do the group project first to allow people the comfort of team support for that first big assignment. Then we move on to individual informative and persuasive speeches. We use impromptu speeches throughout the term to keep students on their toes and loosen up the mood. We keep COM 110 more informal than most classes to encourage more open communication, especially for student critiques after each speech. Ultimately, we hope to provide COM 110 students with the basic skills to critique themselves so they can keep improving their public speaking ability in "real life."
Our philosophy can perhaps be summed up by an old Chinese proverb:
I hear, and I forget. (the lecture)
I see, and I remember (speeches observed)
I do, and I understand. (students' own speeches)