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University at Albany Undergraduate Bulletin - 2004-2005


ORAL DISCOURSE:  Approved courses provide opportunities for students to develop the oral communication skills they need to participate more effectively in public and academic debates and discussions. Courses offer opportunities to participate in a variety of communication contexts and to reflect on the principles and theory relevant to specific oral communication activities. Approved courses include instruction on presentation, as well as feedback and evaluation of oral performance. Feedback can occur in various forms, including peer evaluation in student groups, but it is expected that the instructor will also provide feedback to students on their performance. To fulfill both the spirit and the letter of this requirement, wherever possible courses should have no more than 25 students enrolled.

Approved courses generally have a minimum of two exercises in which oral performance is required and graded. An oral performance exercise can be accomplished in any of the following activities, either live or in a crafted recording:

    A discussion within a group, where each member will be required to make 3-5 “paragraph-length” contributions in the course of the discussion
    A question and answer dialogic process where the student fields a succession of questions or asks a succession of questions that build on and comment upon prior answers
    A rehearsal theatrical presentation or interpretive reading
    A stand-up monologue presentation of a minimum of 3-5 minutes
    A debate where each participant speaks for a minimum of 3-5 minutes

Students will be made aware of the criteria that will be used for evaluation of their oral performances Examples of criteria that may be used include persuasiveness, organization, presentation of evidence, validity of argument, contact with the audience, vocal punctuation and expressiveness, oral language style suited to the exercise, appropriate volume and pace of speech, poise and comfort, vocal fluency, eye contact, and active listening.. The final grade in oral intensive courses will include the grade for oral performance as a key component.

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