Tag Archives: assignment

Preparing for S1, the first Major Presentation

Tips for your Outline (just kidding — you don’t need tips for your outline).

Tips for the Write-Out:

The Write-Out

Tips for your Video Rehearsals:

Video Rehearsal

Tips for Writing about Sources:

Sources and Bibliographies

Sign up for an Individual Conference:


Speaking Center site:


Info about Self-Assessment and Peer Comments to follow in a future post.

To Do for Class Day 11 (Tuesday 9/27/16)

You have three main tasks to complete before Tuesday: explore, read, write.

Warning: these will take longer than just a few minutes, so plan ahead & don’t do everything at the last minute.


Your task is a “space observation.” Walk, bike, or otherwise transport yourself to an outdoor location off-campus and carefully observe the space.

Here are some questions to get you started. You don’t need to answer each of these — they are suggestions to get you thinking:

  • What takes up space (objects, sound, contour)? Both moving and stationary objects take up space; also, sound can take up space. 
  • How is space shaped?
  • How are subspaces marked? Example: in the Panhandle, the shared path is paved, which marks it off from the grassy part. Also, the path itself is divided into two lanes by a painted stripe.
  • How do people (and other creatures) use space(s)?
  • What speeds happen in space?
  • What are you not seeing? What’s missing?

Places you could go (again, just suggestions… I invite you to explore on your own):

  • John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park — a big section of JFK is closed to auto traffic on Sundays, could be an interesting thing to see (and participate in)
  • Geary St. is one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors — early plans for the BART system imagined a line under Geary St, that would tunnel under the Golden Gate and connect to Marin
  • Fell St. or Oak St. east of Baker —  between Baker and Scott on Fell and Oak are some of SFs flagship separated bike lanes
  • the world-famous San Francisco “Wiggle” (Wikipedia page) (on Yelp)– the seven or eight blocks of the Wiggle are a great place to observe pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists obeying and not obeying traffic laws
  • Turk Street — on a clear day, you can stand in the middle of Turk St. at its crest and see the Farallon Islands to the west, 27 miles offshore, and Mt. Diablo, more than 30 miles to the east. But don’t stand there too long, because Turk St. traffic moves pretty quickly.
map showing Farallon islands to the west and Mt. Diablo to the east
From the Farallons to Mt. Diablo


Chris Carlsson, “I’m in a Hurry, so Slow Down!” (blog post/essay)

John Zimmer, “The Third Transportation Revolution” (blog post/essay)


Write a blog post discussing the arguments of Zimmer & Carlsson. Zimmer, as I mentioned in class, is a co-founder of Lyft. Carlsson is a San Francisco writer, activist, and co-founder of Critical Mass.

Your post should show that you are thinking about what ideas and positions these two authors share, and also where they differ.  You can also evaluate their points.

Your post should also include information about your spatial observation expedition.

If it makes sense to connect your observation to bicycles, please do.

Include a relevant image (photo, graph, chart…).

Due before class Tuesday September 27th.

S1: Credibility Assessment

S1: Credibility Assessment 

COMS 195-03 | Fall 2016 | Jonathan Hunt

In class, Tuesday September 6

Purpose: This speaking assignment asks you to apply course concepts to real-world situations.

In class and in the assigned readings, we’ve studied a number of different models of credibility in human communication. The goal of this assignment is to apply what you’ve learned: you’ll analyze and assess credibility. This is one of the most important skills in human communication.

A successful presentation will show very strong knowledge of concepts, ideas, and claims discussed in class and in readings. This means that you should discuss specific ideas, claims, or arguments from the readings.

But it isn’t enough merely to summarize readings. A successful S1 presentation will also demonstrate an ability to apply course content to new contexts. By discussing and evaluating the credibility in a real-world situation, you will show that you can use course material to understand the world around us and the humans in it.

Topic — as always, you should try to develop a topic that is interesting and valuable to you. You can choose to focus on:

  • a person (a writer, speaker, athlete, scientist, politician, activist… anyone)
  • an institution (a company or brand, a non-profit, a government agency, a club or team…)
  • an object (a particular bicycle or accessory such as a helmet, a drug-testing procedure…)

In a short presentation, it’s probably best to focus on a specific idea (for example, goodwill in community policing)—rather than trying to cover all aspects of credibility.

Ingredients (the first three are essential; the fourth is optional):

1. Some information about the person, institution, or object you would like to discuss. You are the only one in this class who has studied this topic, so you need to give us enough information about it so we can understand your argument.

2. A discussion of credibility, drawing on sources provided in class (Horner, Tseng & Fogg). In any important communication, it’s necessary to define key terms or concepts. It is a mistake to assume that your audience shares your definition of a specific word or idea.

Text reads: Credibility can be defined as believablility. Credible people are believable people; credibile information is believable information. Some language use the same word for these two English words. In our research, we have found that believability is a good synonym for credibility in virtually all cases. The academic literature on credibility dates back to the 1950s, arising mostly from the fields of psychology and communication....
Excerpt from Tseng & Fogg

Example: in this excerpt from Tseng and Fogg’s report on credibility research, they begin with a basic definition (right), then add some history and complexity to the definition.

3. Your own assessment of the credibility of the person or object of your analysis—remember, credibility is always a relationship to an audience. You should show awareness of how different audiences might react to this book. You should build your case with specific examples and evidence from the book itself and from our course texts.

4. OPTIONAL: you can also refer to news reports, books, articles, or other “outside” information

Format and Logistics:

  • Length: ~3 minutes
  • Visual aids or slider optional (email me if you want to use the projector)
  • Sources: use course readings as sources (where appropriate); other sources optional
  • This project requires four to five blog posts:

a “write-out” — a draft of what you plan to say. It should be about 400 words

2 rehearsal videos (3 if you would like to get an A)

a reflection/ self-assessment (posted after your talk)