Category Archives: Module 1

Announcement for Module 1

For class Tuesday 1/31/2017

JPH at 3 yrs old?

Hi everyone,

There are four asks for class on Tuesday. I expect that these tasks will take less than 1.5 hours to complete.

1. Please post to your blog your thoughts about Strickland’s article “What Every Kid Wants” — you can use what you wrote in class (10 minutes).

2. Read Tseng & Fogg’s essay on “Credibility and Computing Technology.” This article lays out some key concepts we will use throughout the semester. (25 minutes)

3. Refer to this page of resourcesModule 1 Readings & Resources. Rather than choosing one text (as I said in class), please spend about 45 minutes (or more, if you like) with different texts (short articles, scholarly articles, videos). In other words, you can choose 1 or several, but plan to spend about 45 minutes total (or more) in reading & viewing.  (45 minutes)

4. Post to your blog about what your read. The post can be informal — you can approach it the way you approach in-class writing (set a timer for 10 minutes and write like crazy). Of course, some people like to write really long blog posts. But that’s a real art form (or mania).

V1: Introduce yourself

V1: My Public Speaking Career (so far)

awkward screenshot - close-up of instructor's face
I made a video with my phone… so can you!

Speaking of Bicycles
COMS 195-01 | Spring 2017 | Jonathan Hunt

due Thursday January 26, 2017

You’ll make a short video introducing yourself to the class, with specific reference to yourself as a public speaker. You should refer to the material in “Becoming a Public Speaker.” 

Your video should be less than 1 minute long.

The Purpose

This assignment has two main goals:

  1. practice, practice, practice

Success in public speaking takes practice. Many people avoid practicing because they have fear or anxiety about public speaking. Making videos is a great way to practice without having to bring together a live audience!

2. self-assessment and reflection

Talking about your own knowledge and experience can help you develop more accurate self-assessments. If you aware of and understand your own strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to plan and prepare your speeches more effectively.


In class, you wrote about your experiences with public speaking and your ideas about how to be successful as a speaker.

Think about what you wrote in class, and about what other students said in discussion. Using these ideas, write a few notes for yourself. You should try to focus on only a few key ideas or examples.

Use your phone or computer to record a short video introducing yourself to the class. Be sure to include key information (most importantly, your name and what you would like people to call you).

Make several different versions and choose the one you like best.

Remember, your video should be less than 60 seconds long.

Assignment Checklist

Short video, less than 60 seconds.

Introduce yourself to the class—be sure to include your name.

Tell a little about yourself as a public speaker: what are your experiences, your strengths, your challenges?

Or talk about bicycles.

Bring the video (on your phone or computer) to class on Thursday, January  26 — or, if you are able to get your blog up and running, post it there.

Becoming a Public Speaker

The first chapter of A Pocket Guide to Public Speaking offers some great observations about the work we’ll do in this course.

First, the authors emphasize that public speaking is a valuable skill that applies to your other courses and to your whole life.

Second, they point out that communication is essential for citizenship: in a democracy, effective communicators have the opportunity to shape law and policy.

Finally, they give some tips for how to draw on your prior knowledge and experience to succeed in this course.

Access the text via Canvas:


Video Rehearsal


Use your device (e.g. computer, tablet, phone) to record yourself delivering your presentation.

The video should show a complete run-though, without any cuts or edits. If you mess up, that’s fine.

Try varying your approach:

  • stand far away from your recording device
  • going to a different place (such as an empty classroom)
  • work with a partner or a friend

Post each rehearsal recording as a separate post to your WordPress blog.

IMPORTANT: Tag each post according to the assignment instructions. Without the correct tags, it may be hard for course partners, peers, and the instructor to work with you on your preparation.

Practice, practice, practice!

Practice and rehearsal are essential for successful public speaking.

Caveat: Yes, many people can do pretty well with impromptu speaking, especially if they have experience with the context. But

Factors that might influence your decision about how much to practice and what kind of rehearsal would be best:

  • The stakes. The higher the stakes, the more you should rehearse.
  • Your level of experience. If you are very familiar with the context or the audience, you might change your rehearsal strategy.
  • Your grasp of the content. A research presentation and a wedding toast both benefit from preparation, but mastering the delivery of the complex content of a research presentation might require a lot more preparation and rehearsal.

If you don’t believe me, listen to TJ Walker, a communications consultant writing in Forbes magazine. Walker writes:

Yes, you should rehearse. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. From a presentation coach’s perspective, the following sentence is the dumbest in the English language: “I don’t want to rehearse because I don’t want to seem canned; I want to seem spontaneous and fresh, so I had better wing it.”

He strongly recommends video rehearsal—read the details here:

Due to time constraints, I won’t be able to watch all your videos, but I’ll scan through them and give feedback as I’m able.


BJ Fogg, co-author of “Computers and Credibility”

As we discussed today, a smart credibility assessment doesn’t just look at one source of information. It’s often worth it to dig a little deeper.

Here’s the website of BJ Fogg (, co-author of the article we read for today. This is a good place to learn more about Fogg and his research… but a full credibility assessment would go even further.

If you are interested in psychology, I recommend watching the video.


For class Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thanks everyone for a great trip to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. It was great to meet Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier and Membership Assistant Kelsey Roeder (you can read their bios on the

For Thursday, here are your 4 tasks:

  1. Your first talk in front of the class is coming up next week. It’s time to think about some of the things we said we value in public speakers: confidence, eye contact, body language, volume & variety of voice — all the things that count as delivery. To continue our conversation about this, watch this video of author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell (I also invite you to look at some of his pubic lectures  or TED talks and read some of his published writing). So, Task 1: watch.
  2. B.J. Fogg is an instructor at Stanford and a persuasion guru. As a graduate student, he researched the idea of credibility in computing design. Read this short research article co-written by Tseng and Fogg, “Credibility and Computing Technology” (library login required). Alert! This is an article written for an audience of specialists, so parts of it may be hard to follow. Our focus will be on the concept of credibility (not on their methodology or on computing technology). Come to class ready to talk about their ideas about credibility. Task 2: read.
  3. Spend 15-30 minutes on the website of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Look around in the tabs at the top of the page: News, Events, Resources, Our Work, About…  As you poke around, think about Horner’s ideas of credibility as well as Tseng and Fogg’s ideas. Task 3: surf.
  4. Write a comment (use the comment function, below), making a connection between at least 2 of the 3 tasks (above). For example, how does Gladwell’s position relate to Tseng and Fogg? Or, how do Tseng and Fogg’s ideas apply to the SFBC site? Your comment can be informal, can include questions, criticisms, examples, etc., and should be about 50 words or so. Task 4: write.

Join Speaking of Bicycles

Great! You’ve created your blog and made your first post.

You can experiment this weekend with adding tags and other information.

The next step is to join the course blog. You can do this in the “My Class” tab — it can be found in the upper left corner of your screen and looks kind of like a book icon.

From the “My Class” tab, choose “Join a Class.” Then you need to enter the name of our class blog. I think it’s the URL:

or maybe just speakingofbicycles

See illustration below!

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 4.52.37 PM

Horner, Establishing Credibility

Michael McNamara photo Winifred Bryan Horner of Columbia, a former English Professor at MU will receive the Conference of College Composition and Communication's Exemplar Award. She is posing in her office, where she does most of her work. dit archive/feb 2003/features/Horner, Winifred/mm
Michael McNamara photo
Winifred Bryan Horner of Columbia, a former English Professor at MU.

Winifred Horner’s short chapter on credibility is based on ancient  theories of rhetoric.

According to Aristotle, a speaker’s credibility depends on three characteristics:

  • intelligence and common sense
  • virtue and good character
  • goodwill

Horner discusses these three forms of credibility (or ethos) using the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.

For Tuesday, August 29, read Horner’s short chapter (it originally appeared in a textbook for undergraduate students). The PDF is available here.