SPCM 200 - Public Speaking

  • 3 credits

Fundamentals of public speaking emphasizing content, organization, delivery, audience response.

Audience requirements for each speech: Public communication is defined as “One person communicating face to face with an audience...public communication always involves one person communicating to an audience that is physically present" (Grice & Skinner, 2012, p. 9). Therefore, Colorado State University’s Department of Communication Studies requires the following for each speech in SPCM 200 Online:

  • A student must deliver each speech in front of a live audience consisting of at least 6 adults (16 years or older).
  • These adults must be seen on camera.
  • Ask one of your audience members to be the camera person for your speech.
  • When the camera starts to record, have the camera person pan around the room showing the live audience, then when the camera points back to you, you may start delivering your speech.
  • Have the camera person sit with other members of the audience. While you are speaking talk to your audience members as well as the camera, but do not solely stare at the camera. Make sure you are making good eye contact and facial expressions with your live audience in addition to the camera.

Suggestions for finding a live audience: Many students ask their friends and family to be their live audience for this course, which is acceptable provided audience members meet age criteria. Communities also have a local organization called Toastmasters you can join whose purpose is to practice public speaking skills; you might look for a local chapter and join for the semester. You may also ask classmates from other courses, coworkers, or members of your church or other community organization(s) you may belong to.

Audiences may vary from speech to speech or may remain consistent. You are welcome to contact your classmates in this course and gather together to be an audience for each other at a time and location that might work for all of you. A speech that is delivered with NO live audience shown in the video will not be graded and will not be allowed to be turned in late.

This course description reflects the course format in a typical semester. The course format will be altered to meet health guidelines due to COVID-19.

Important Information

This course is restricted to admitted and non-admitted online students only. If you are an admitted or non-admitted CSU Online student please contact amy.quinn@colostate.edu"> Amy Quinn-Sparks to register.

Please note: As a public speaking course, this class requires the student to deliver each speech in front of a live audience consisting of at least 6 adults (16 years or older). The student must find their own audiences and evidence the audience by panning the room with the camera before each speech begins.

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Public Speaking Now (2019)
    Dunn, Thomas
    ISBN: 978-0738083162


Sonja Hollingsworth


Dr. Sonja Hollingsworth is a Special Assistant Professor who teaches public speaking, speech pedagogy, and instructional communication.

Spending her career devoted to teaching and learning, Dr. Hollingsworth has taught students at every level from elementary ages to graduate level. In conjunction with her work at CSU, she also serves as a part-time secondary English teacher in Poudre School District and mentor to CSU Education students who are completing internships in middle schools.

With a Ph.D. in the field of Education, Sonja’s publications specialize in the interplay between communication and educational dynamics. A majority of her research examines identity in critical, cultural, and educational contexts, and her essays and book chapters have featured in multiple national and international texts in the fields of Education and Communication Studies.