TH105 Oral Communication

for SP 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


TH 105 Oral Communication


SP 2012 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 9:30 - 10:30, and by appointment

Daytime Phone

(816) 584-6452 (office)

Other Phone

(816) 588-7890 (cell) You may also text me at this number.


Semester Dates

January 16, 2012 - May 10, 2012

Class Days

T Th

Class Time

10:10 - 11:25


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.  With your input, I can tailor the learning experience to your needs.

We will cultivate a relaxed but respectful 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 (at least 5 out of 6);
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 via the eCompanion; bring a copy on paper for your use in class.
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 25% of the student's final grade.  The student will create, rehearse, and perform a literary "concert" final presentation approximately 10 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 introduce the theme for the program and will compose transitions to link each piece to the theme.  The written component to your final performance is worth 5% of your final grade. 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.
The student is expected to meet with the instructor at least once outside of class to rehearse the final performance. This is NOT one of the 2-3 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) 20% Daily participation, attendance, and punctuality.*
2)   5% In-class exercises/games
3) 10% Prepared Prose, Poetry, and Documentary Literature readings in class.
3) 10% Private coaching sessions/rehearsals for prose, poetry, and documentary literature.
4) 15% Quality of written assignments, script preparation, on-line discussions, study guides.
5)   5% Midterm Essay essay on communication in MLA Style.
6)   5% Quality of research paper, communication study, or performance paper and adherence to MLA style;
7)   5% Oral presentation of paper in #6 above
8) 25% Quality of final concert performance (10%), final rehearsal (10%), and script-book (5%).
*Attendance Policy

Attendance is heavily weighted in a performance class and outside reading does not compensate for absence from scheduled classes.
  • All students are expected to give advance notification of illness or other reasons for absence by e-mail me or by telephone. 
  • Each absence beyond the two free absence will result in a reduction in attendance points; six more absences (a total of eight) will result in loss of all attendance points.  A limited amount of extra credit will be available to compensate for excessive absence.  (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 accepted for 50 percent of their original value.  

2.    All written work should be submitted in the drop basket on the eCompanion
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 use of laptop computers, texting, talking or whispering is allowed during performances.
  3. Students are not to enter or exit the classroom during a performance.
  4. Please do not chew gum in class. 
  5. Cell phones should be turned off during class. 
  6. On performance days, please do not wear a hat that will cast a shadow on, or otherwise obscure your face.  If you love caps, the bill of the cap must be turned to the back to avoid casting a shadow.
  7. See Park University catalog for further information regarding appropriate student conduct.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Check List of Major Assignments

Three Main Readings (10% total)


___Documentary Literature 


Private Coaching Sessions (10%)



___Documentary Lit

Two Major Writing Assignments and One Presentation -(15% total)

___Midterm Essay (5%)

___Communication, Performance, or Research Paper (5%)

___Group or Individual Presentation on Performance, Communication, or Research Paper (5%)

Online Discussion Topics/study guides/  (15%)

___What is Communication?  Share an example of good and bad communication.

___Observations of your own breathing.

___Observation of communicators from a distance.

Required In-class Activities (five out of six required) (5%)

___Share a remarkable experience from your life

___Describe a real place you are familiar with to the class

___Isolated phonemes in improvisation

___Team communication/Audio-Visual

___Jabberwocky exercise

___Ensemble Poetry Activity

Core Assessment 25%

____Template Completed by April 15

____Private Coaching Session


____Script submitted

Attendance and Punctuality: 20%

_____Absence #1

_____Absence #2

No loss of credit until after two absences.

Each remaining absence will result in 1/6 of the 20% allotted for attendance.  At total of six additional absences will result in a loss of all attendance points.

This is a general map for the semester.  It will change.


Course Introduction.  

Participate in the discussion topic under Week 1 on the eCompanion.

       Story of your name 


                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.  Tell us the title, the author, and specifically why you like the piece you chose.

Week 2  January 24 - 26

                Continue short readings from last week.

                Online discussion: What is good communication? Give examples of someone you know who is a good communicator and not such a good communicator.  DUE BY MIDNIGHT


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

                Beginning today, observe your breathing in various physical, emotional, and communication experiences.  

                BView online Powerpoint on Human Voice and complete online study guide under Week two: The Human Voice. 

                By January 26 Read: "There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom" in its entirety.

                Review handout on how to make a cutting.

ONLINE DISCUSSION: DUE BEFORE MIDNIGHT JANUARY 28: Share the details of your observation of your own breathing on the eCompanion discussion queue. 


Week 3 (January 31 - February 2) Continue, if necessary, remarkable experiences.

                In class activity: Esau Wood. 

                Discuss cuttings and introduction

                By January 31:  1) choose a part of the book from which you would like to make your first cutting. 2) Review the handouts on the eCompanion about how to make a cutting, how to prepare an introduction, and look at the examples of each that I have posted.  

                By February 2:  Bring two copies of your cutting to class, and your introduction.  Share them aloud.


 WEEK FOUR    February 7 - February 9

February 7 -- Visualization, Eye Contact, Types of Focus; Physical Support of Oral Communication

                Game:  Assassin

                Class work:  Visualization, Eye contact, types of focus. 

                Duet activity - "Audio/Visual" 

February 9 

                Class Activity - Jabberwocky

                Demo of a coaching session

                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.                                                                                                                                    

OBSERVATION AND DISCUSSION:   Due before midnight February 12 -- 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.


WEEK 5  (February 14 - February 16) 

Tuesday Exercises in speech clarity using your cuttings; 

Private coaching sessions


Thursday - NO GROUP MEETING Private Coaching Sessions


WEEK 6 (February 21-23)

Present cuttings

                You have two options for your next cutting: 1) A scary story or 2) Documentary Literature

                Please bring in a cutting from the category of your choice next class.

                If you choose doc lit, visit to find a cutting for Doc Lit     



                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.



Week 7 (February 28- March 1)


Demo of Final

                Answer questions about the Final presentation



Week 9  (March 6-8)

SEE The Alan Ball Plays: Bachelor Holiday and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress 

IN THE DAVID THEATRE 7:30 P.M. March 23, 24, 30, 31; April 1 2:00 p.m.

Week 9 March 19-21


Elements of Poetry

                Definition, traits of poetry

                Hand in your selections of poetry

                Exercises, games

-- 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 - (March 27- 29) 

Private Coachings Tuesday and Thursday

SEE Alan Ball Plays IN THE DAVID THEATRE 7:30 P.M. 3/30 AND 3/31; 4/1 2:00 p.m.

***Paper Due by Midnight April 8


WEEK 11 (April 3-5 )

Tuesday April 3: Present POETRY April 3

Thursday April 5: Ensemble forms





WEEK 12 (April 10-12) 

Tuesday: ENSEMBLE FORMS, cont'd. 








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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 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: .

Additional Information:


Do you have Stage Fright?  Congratulations!

Your VoiceBibliography:



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Last Updated:1/16/2012 8:55:41 PM