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Oral Communication

Oral Communication

All undergraduate students, who are completing baccalaureate degree programs at Old Dominion University, are required to demonstrate oral communication skills either in a designated course in their major or through successful completion of Public Speaking (COMM 101R). Based on the National Communication Association's (NCA) national standard on oral communication competency, oral communication is defined as the art of expressing and exchanging ideas in speech. It involves the ability to compose, critically analyze, and deliver information through verbal, vocal, and visual interactions.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes for Oral Communication are as follows:

  1. Content. The speech topic is appropriate for the specific purpose of the speech context and the audience. The development of the topic represents the speaker's unique and original approach in researching the subject. Content expansion is accomplished through the inclusion of facts, statistics, examples, experiences, and professional perspectives, as appropriate for the speech type. The speech goal and main points are clearly differentiated and supported by credible research.
  2. Organization. The speech offers an introduction that attracts the audience's attention and orients the listeners to the goal of the speech. A clearly stated thesis statement provides an overview of the main points. The body of the speech offers well differentiated and developed main points presented in an appropriate order. The speech concludes with a summary of major points and an appropriate final impression making strategy.
  3. Wording. The speech integrates effective wording and imagery to define, elaborate upon, and emphasize key elements of the speech. Transitions are included to guide the audience through the speech. An audience centered approach reveals language adapted to the listeners.
  4. Delivery. The speaker uses effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills in the spontaneous/extemporaneous delivery of the speech. S/he connects with the audience through good eye contact, posture, body movements and gestures, and enthusiasm, and appears at ease. The speaker uses visual aids appropriately. S/he speaks clearly and articulately and varies his/her voice for emphasis. S/he completes the speech in the time allotted.
  5. Outline. The speaker develops a complete sentence outline that appropriately develops the speech in a logical format for the speech type.


Courses addressing Oral Communication are as follows:

COMM 101R, Public Speaking

COMM 103R, Voice and Diction

COMM 112R, Introduction to Interpersonal Communication

Most students take COMM 101R to meet this requirement so it will be the course assessed. The fourth / final persuasive speeches will be assessed as they are given in class. Students who passed Public Speaking (COMM 101) and completed all four required speeches were evaluated in five areas using a standard rubric for oral communication. The results demonstrate a substantial level of proficiency in oral communication, with 99% (n=546) of students receiving an average of 73 (C) or higher on all four speeches. These results suggest that the vast majority of Old Dominion University students are competent in oral communication after passing their public speaking course.