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Some general thoughts regarding oral communication courses

Purpose for OC requirement

Oral communication involves expressing and sharing ideas and information as well as influencing others through verbal and nonverbal symbols. Instructors who want to improve students' oral communication skills can design assignments that ask students to:

  • inform - provide others with new information.

  • persuade - modify or change attidues or behaviors, or

  • entertain or move - influence others' emotions.

The National Communication Association has established basic oral communication competencies for college graduates. These competencies were culled from numerous articles published in top tier journals in the Speech Communication field. Among the competencies set forth by the National Communication Association are basic skills for informing, persuading, and relating to others. These skills include sending and receiving oral communication messages, message development and organization, adapting messages to the particular situation and audience, communicating interpersonally and in small groups, and evaluating the oral communication messages of others. (See National Communication Association web site for further information.)

Oral communication skills benefit students academically, interpersonally, and in their future careers. Students who participate in class discussions are more involved in their own learning. Students who can express themselves well find it easier to give oral presentations in class as well as to interact with their instructors and with other students. Employers seek applicants who have excellent oral communication skills.

Because UHM believes that its students should be prepared to use oral communication skills in a variety of contexts, including public presentations and group and interpersonal interactions, an O course is required for graduation.


Beebe, S.A., & Beebe, S.J. (2003). Public speaking: An audience-centered approach. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Lucas, S.E. (2001). The art of public speaking, 7th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

McCroskey, J.C. (1982). An Introduction to Rhetorical Communication, 4th ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Richmond, V.P., & McCroskey, J.C. (1998). Communication: Apprehension, avoidance, and effectiveness, 5th ed.. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Schaller, K. (2002). Principles of effective public speaking: Student workbook. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.


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