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General Education Requirement "O" - Oral Communication

General Education Curriculum 
As approved by the Faculty Senate through 10/22/97, with clarifications

Oral Communication Skills

Curriculum Standard

The ability to speak effectively—to explain, persuade, or otherwise express one's mind—has distinguished successful people since antiquity. Oral communication skills promote better understanding of oneself, of others, and of the world. They are necessary to the conduct of commerce and policy, and they are one key to a satisfying professional, social, and personal life.

Each department or degree program of the university will propose a plan for its students to achieve these requirements of the General Education Program in Area O: Oral Communication Skills:

  • to instruct students majoring in the program or discipline in the basic theoretical and practical aspects of oral communications appropriate to that discipline
  • to practice students in the arts of oral exposition and argument, so that every student has substantial experience communicating orally in a course [or courses] in the major
  • to assess student performance of oral communication skills in a way that measures change in ability across time, within a course and/or across the undergraduate career

A proposed plan must address all the areas listed above (instruction, practice, and assessment).

"Substantial experience" communicating orally would occur in more than one presentation of 15 minutes longer or more. Departments will inform majors of their approved Area O requirements. Any change in the requirement must be proposed to, and approved by, the General Education Committee.

Departments are free to propose any plan that is in keeping with the bulleted items. The following exemplify possible Area O plans.

  • A department or program embeds the O requirement in one (or more) foundation course(s) for the major.
  • A department or program provides instruction and basic practice in a lower-level course for the major and also requires a substantial oral presentation in an upper-level course.
  • A department recommends a course required of all majors, in which oral presentation of many kinds—such as brief individual reports, panel presentations, and a concluding substantial individual presentation, such as responsibility for the conduct of a class meeting or for leading discussion on a course text—forms the sole or main means of evaluating student work for the course.

Objectives/Outcomes

The above contains within it the objectives and outcomes concepts that will form the basis for an assessment plan.

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