TH105 Oral Communication

for SP 2011

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


TH 105 Oral Communication


SP 2011 HO


Peak, Mari J.




MFA, Acting, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Post-Graduate Study, Voice for the Actor, University of Illinois
BA, Theatre and Pre-Law, Kansas State University

Office Location

Alumni Hall, Second floor

Office Hours

Monday and Wednesday 9:00 - 11:00, and by appointment

Daytime Phone

(816) 584-6452 (office)

Other Phone

(816) 588-7890 (cell)


Semester Dates

January 10, 2011 - May 6, 2011

Class Days

Monday and Wednesday

Class Time

12:00 - 1:15


diligence, dedication, and a spirit of adventure

Credit Hours



Sachar, Louis. There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, New York: Knopf, 1987.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

1. Each student's life experiences;

2. Park
eCompanion for TH105 at;
3. Various handouts posted on the eCompanion for TH105;
4. Additional resources will be cultivated during the semester.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
TH105 Oral Communication (MGE): A study of the skills in breathing, vocal control, diction and articulation as applies to the public presentation of the following literary forms: poetry, prose, drama, readers theatre and choral reading. Selections used as performance options include authors from a wide variety of ethnic and national origins. Open to all students. 1:2:3

Educational Philosophy:

I prefer an interactive atmosphere in the classroom.  I expect that you will come to class having thoughtfully completed your assignments. As much as is possible and practical, I will tailor the learning experience to the student as we strive to strengthen the skills that comprise the learning objectives of TH105. 

Although we will cultivate a relaxed atmosphere, that doesn't preclude the need for mutual respect.  Each class member is instrumental in creating a comfortable classroom atmosphere in which one feels the freedom to try new things and share ideas, opinions, goals, and experiences. Much of what we do early in the semester is foundational to this goal.  

Your understanding of various course concepts will deepen and become more detailed as the semester progresses. Concepts introduced early in the semester will be foundational to the rest the semester, and your understanding and ability to use the information and skills practically will continue to evolve. 

Your learning will be guided with on-line worksheets, hand-outs, demonstrations, investigative games and simple exercises. The majority of written work will be completed on the eCompanion, and many discussions will take place there, too. On occasion, you may be directed to the internet for supplemental information.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. The student will identify and explore the elements communication.
  2. The student will explore and develop the skills necessary to effectively interpret and perform selections from different literary genres such as 1) poetry; 2) prose; 3) periodical/historic/academic, or "documentary" literature; and 4) dramatic literature; 5) young children's literature/documentary literature).
  3. The student will learn to identify the elements of plot and theme in different literary genres, will organize the selections in the most effective order, and will perform a 10-12 minute concert of at least 4 selections on a shared theme.  The selections will come from at least 3 different literary genres.
  4. The student will learn to harness the power of stage fright to enhance his ability to successfully communicate.
  5. The student will increase his knowledge of the craft of the actor and demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the components of communication in a performance situation.
  6. The student will learn the basics of how the voice works and use that knowledge to use his voice expressively, intelligibly, audibly, and effectively in any size space in a manner that will prevent vocal injury.
  7. The student will demonstrate the ability to identify and isolate an objective for a reading as well as character objectives that drive the plot, and demonstrate knowledge of how those objectives affect the mode and manner of communication.
Class Assessment:
Learning objectives will be achieved through the following:
1. Graded performances (3);
2. Private coaching sessions (3);
3. Participation in class exercises;
4. Guided group discussion both on-line and in the classroom;
5. Study guides and quizzes (online via the eCompanion).
6. Script preparation, to be submitted by e-mail, via the eCompanion, or on paper.
7. A performance paper, or research project and paper on a pre-approved topic pertinent to the content of this course in MLA style. 
8. Peer and instructor performance evaluations.
CORE ASSESSMENT:  The core assessment for this course is valued at 30% of the student's final grade.  The student will create, rehearse, and perform a literary "concert" final presentation 10-12 minutes in length. 
The program must be organized on a single theme and will be comprised of at least four different selections from a minimum of three different genres of literature. 
The program must include examples of: 1) prose; 2) poetry; 3) documentary lit; 4) another selection from a category of the student's choice.  Only one of the four selections may be your original composition
The student will write an introduction of his theme for the program and will compose transitions to link each piece to the overall program theme.  The written component to your final performance is worth 10% of your final grade.  To receive full credit, the student must submit a preliminary and final script book detailing his choices.  You must submit your final scriptbook at the conclusion of your final performance and it should show your scoring, in pencil, representing the various visual and audio dynamics of your scene.
He/she is expected to meet with the instructor at least once outside of class to rehearse the final performance. This is NOT one of the three coaching sessions valued at a total of ten percent of your grade.  The coaching session for the final performance is worth 10% by itself.  


1) 30% Daily participation, attendance, and punctuality.*
2) 10% Quality of work and degree of professionalism displayed during in-class rehearsals and performances.
3) 10%  Private rehearsals for prose, poetry, and documentary literature.
4) 10% Quality of written assignments, script preparation, on-line discussions, study guides.
5) 10% Quality of research paper, performance paper and adherence to MLA style;
6) 30% Quality of final concert performance, final rehearsal, and script-book.
  • All students are expected to give advance notification of illness or other reasons for absence by e-mail me or by telephone. 
  • Class members lose absence and participation points for each absence, although two absences will be forgiven at the end of the term.  If a student has not been absent during the semester, the end-of-term additional attendance/participation points will result in extra credit.) 
  • Excessive or frequent tardiness will result in loss of attendance points.  If there is something that will occasionally or regularly prevent your timely arrival to class, please let me know in advance. 
  • Athletes, musicians, or participants in other university programs will be accommodated as long as the instructor receives advance notice in writing and the student makes up the work within two weeks of the absence.  I am happy to make my time available for you to do so. 

Late Submission of Course Materials:

The following policy on late work is new this semester.  It will be strictly enforced.
Late Written Work
1.  Late written work (study guides, on-line discussion responses, major paper/project) will be not accepted.  

2.    You may submit written work in one of two ways:
         a) by using the eCompanion Drop Box;
         b) by presenting a hard copy to me in class on or before the due date for full credit.
Please keep copies of all written work for your own records.  When an assignment is graded and returned, please retain it in your notebook.
Late Performances
1.  Students who miss a scheduled performance with advance notice because of illness or emergency will be given the opportunity to perform their selection for full credit upon their return to class, provided we are still on that particular unit. In the alternative, the student will make an appointment to perform the piece for me outside of class, again for full credit.  Medical emergencies must be supported by a doctor's note.  It is your responsibility to reschedule the performance.  I will not remind you.
2.  Students who fail to attend class on the day of a scheduled performance without advance notice to me will be given the opportunity to present their reading upon return to class, but for a 25% reduction in grade.  Again, it is your responsibility to tell me why you missed the scheduled performance and that you wish to make it up during class.  I will not be the driving force.
3.  If a student fails to complete the required performance within one week of its original due date, he or she will receive a zero for the assignment.    

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

  1. Students will participate as fully as possible in all physical activities and will advise me of any reason they unable to participate fully. 
  2. Students are expected to be supportive of one another. Audience response is crucial to this art-form and your full attention should be directed to your peers who are performing. No texting, talking or whispering is allowed during performances.
  3. You may make notes that pertain to the performance you are watching, but may not complete any other written work during Th105.
  4. Students are not to enter or exit the classroom during a performance.
  5. Please do not chew gum in class. 
  6. Cell phones should be turned off during class. 
  7. On performance days, please do not wear a hat that will cast a shadow on, or otherwise obscure your face.  If you love hats, the brim or bill of the hat must be turned to the back to avoid casting a shadow.
  8. See Park University catalog for further information regarding appropriate student conduct.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


The assignment calendar below is subject to change


Jan 10 -- Course Introduction.  

  • Story of your name/What says “you”?   
  • What is good communication? Give examples of someone you know who is a good communicator and not such a good communicator.  Due Jan 12.
  • Online Syllabus Quiz due by Jan 19.


Jan 12 

  • Vocal work.
  • Play a game.
  • Share your opinion of the traits of good communication and give examples of people you have encountered who are good communicators.
  • We will chart the elements of good communication, and by the end of the class, we will have a clear definition of "good communication."

Jan 24  Share remarkable experiences.  Share the details of your observation of your own breathing on the eCompanion discussion queue.

  • For next class:  Read to the class: – Bring a passage of material you like  It may be in a language other than English as long as you provide a translation and any explanation necessary for us to understand the form and content. It should be from 30 seconds to a minute or so in length.   

WEEK  2   


Jan 19 Read your selection of literature to the class.  Tell us specifically why you like the piece you chose.

  • Beginning today, observe your breathing in various physical, emotional, and communication experiences.  Take notes using the journal feature on eCompanion.  You may set it to share with me only, rather than the entire class.
  • For  next class, Jan 24: Share a remarkable personal experience; give background, briefly describe setting, describe experience and share why it's significant.
  • Before Jan 26: View online Powerpoint on Human Voice; 
  • By Jan 26 Complete online study guide: The Human Voice. 
  • By Jan 26 Read: "There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" in its entirety.


 WEEK 3   

Jan 24: Share a remarkable personal experience; give background, briefly describe setting, describe experience and share why it's significant.

Jan 26 Continue, if necessary, remarkable experiences.

  • In class activity: Esau Wood. 

  • Study guide due.  

  • Discuss cuttings and introduction

  • By January 31, choose a part of the book from which you would like to make your first cutting.

  • Review the handouts on the eCompanion about how to make a cutting, how to prepare an introduction, and look at the examples I have posted.  

  • Do your best to make a cutting and write an introduction and submit it via the eCompanion or bring it to class on Jan 31.



Jan 31  -- Visualization, Eye Contact, Types of Focus
  • Game:  Assassin
  • Class work:  Visualization, Eye contact, types of focus.  
  • Turn in copy of your first cutting for my review.  
  1. You may post it on the eCompanion dropbox before class or bring me a hard copy.  
  2. Keep a copy for your records.
  • WHat is stage fright?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • What can be done about it?

Feb 2  Physical Support of Oral Communication

  • Class Activity - Jabberwocky
  • Demo of a coaching session
  • I will return your cuttings and intros via hard copy or eCompanion by this date
  • Assignment:  Due February 7 -- Online discussion: Observe at least two people in conversation from a distance at which you cannot hear them, but can only see them. Determine the back story and decide their relationship to one another, the current situation, who is in control, etc., based only upon what you see.

  • Sign up for private coaching sessions

  1. To receive full credit you must show up on time, 
  2. Have you cutting in your notebook or folder
  3. Your cutting should be type-written and introduction should be in the proper format, 
  4. Bring a pencil for notes. 


Feb 7  -- Exercises in speech clarity using your cuttings; 

  • Begin to share cuttings

Feb 9     Sharing Cuttings, Cont'd.

  • Complete first cuttings
  • By next class: Read "Intro to Documentary Literature" on the eCompanion
  • Visit to find a cutting for Doc Lit
  • Bring your selection to our next class (2/14)
  • Prepare an introduction
  • It should be typed, double spaced in a large font not merely printed from the website
  • Many times, you can paste it from the website into a Word.doc and then reformat it.


Feb 14 -  Prospectus for Paper is Due

  • Share Doc Lit
  • Sign up for Private Coaching Sessions

Feb 16 - Private Coaching 

WEEK 7 Doc Lit Presentations


Feb 23 - Doc Lit Presentations

Week 8  Ensemble work

Feb 28 - 

  • Choral Readings
  • Concrete Poetry
March 2 -
  • Ensemble work cont'd
  • Over break, please decide the piece(s) of poetry you'd like to work on.



Week 9  --  Poetry  

March 14 -- Elements of Poetry

  • Definition, traits of poetry
  • Hand in your selections of poetry
  • Exercises, games
March 16  -- Techniques for Reading Poetry
  • Formal or informal?
  • The line break
  • Contemporary poetry
  • Share poetry
  • Sign up for private sessions
  • The weight of the line
Week 10 - Private Coachings 

March 21 Private Coaching

  • Poetry Study Guide Due (eCompanion)


March 23 Private Coaching

Week 11 - Papers due this week

March 28 - Poetry Presentations 

March 30 - Poetry Presentations
Demo of Final
  • Answer questions about the Final presentation
  • March 30- Papers Due

Week 12 Template for Final Due

April 4 - Young Children's Lit class work; 

  • Template for final due

April 6 - Dramatic Lit class work;

Week 13

April 11 - Final Script Due

  • Research and Creative Arts Symposium All Week
  • Private Coaching Sessions - Sign up

April 13 - Private Coaching continues

Week 14

April 18 - Private Coaching

April 20 - Private Coaching

Week 15  - Final Presentations Begin

April 25 - Final Presentations Begin - All Students to attend

April 27 - Final Presentations Begin - All Students to attend 

  •  Last week of classes before finals week.
  • Next week you should default to the final exam schedule.  Here is a link:

May 2 - Monday - 1:00 - 3:00   Last of our Final Presentations - All Students to attend

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:1/9/2011 8:16:34 PM