Live from ITC – Day 3: Communicating, Creating, and Connecting: Meeting the Challenges of Teaching Public Speaking Online

Public speaking online? How is that possible?? Okay, we know it’s possible, but how did they do it? These are just thoughts and impressions and may or may not translate into a cohesive narrative… Consider yourself warned.

For the fully online degree, one of the primary concerns is that online students will not be able to get a “true public speaking” experience. However, in the connected age, public speaking is more than just talking in front of an audience. It also includes presenting information and presenting oneself online via social media. Responsible online behavior should be taught. Many companies now have “Social Networking Background Checks” for potential new hires. Many companies also do interviews online via Skype or similar avenues.

In Illinois, online public teaching courses required to have speeches delivered before a live audience. Hybrid delivery is the best of both worlds for this type of course because the f2f components address traditional public speaking elements while online components address the more modern needs.

The idea isn’t just about using online tools to deliver the course, but to also teach how to use these tools responsibly.

How does it work?

  • Recurring characters: storyline which appears in each lessons and expose students to their worst fears about public speaking. Engages students as they relate to characters’ struggles. Establishes context for what’s to come in the lesson. Scaffolded design with activities and elements building upon one another
  • Discussion forums: Same as In other courses, but are designed to foster a sense of commonality and build empathy between students as they realize that they all feel the same anxieties and fears.
  • From the desk of…: Collections of short videos featuring instructors from around the country that offer insight, tips, and hints. Adds a level of authenticity to the course and provides more diverse experiences than what they’d receive in the traditional classroom.
  • Instant IQ: Quick video clips that deal with most salient issues on each topic. Feature a variety of subject matter experts.m it’s like having a special guest speaker in every module.
  • Delivery:
    • Content: Each lesson subdivided into 3+ Topics and include introduction, presentation, practice activities, and graded assignments.
    • Practice Activities: Allow students to play around with the content and experiment with the information and skills without worrying about the grade. Self-assessments in place so students can identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
    • Graded Assignments: Rubrics for grading assignments provided to students and instructor so that students can evaluate performances by recurring characters and see how their own work will be graded. For speeches, students record themselves and can submit recordings in a variety of ways such as submitting to dropbox, uploading video to YouTube, setting it as unlisted and providing link to instructor, and other methods as well.

Textbook and course title is “Public Speaking: Preparation and Presentation in a Digital World”. The course is available from Coast Learning Systems. eBook and text are directly aligned to the course.


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