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COMS 105 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Athena Simpson

Course:Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Professor:Athena Simpson
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Welcome to Fundamentals of Public Speaking, COMS 105. My name is Athena Simpson, and I will be your guide through the challenging yet rewarding world of public speaking!  Please read this entire letter, and if you have any further questions, please email me at  I will do my best to reply to you within 24-48 hours.

Course: This course is designed to help you develop a variety of communication skills and provide you with an opportunity to practice public speaking in a supportive environment. The Student Learning Outcomes for this course are to 1) Organize and deliver effective informative and persuasive speeches applying the principles of public speaking, 2) Utilize effective research skills using traditional and electronic resources, and 3) Analyze public discourse.

Each week will be full of reading. You will need to create time each day to do at least 30 minutes of reading for this course. 

Course Description

Time Management: Please note that this is an online class and requires your discipline and proper time management skills: Please understand the following:

  • This is a university level class. You will need to demonstrate college level rigor in your work, which takes time and critical engagement to achieve. The level of work does not change if you take this class face-to-face, hybrid or 100% online. Ideally you will spend 9-12 hours per week engaged in this course, but realistically most of you will spend less. More important than the quantity of time, is the quality and consistency of engagement. My advice is to have time set aside every day to focus on public speaking development (attending class, reading the modules, watching assigned videos, researching topics, etc.).
  • This is an active course that requires consistent engagement. This class runs from 8/23 – 12/11 and meets each Monday and Wednesday from 12:30 pm to 1:50 pm., unless otherwise specified on the course calendar. Any assigned reading is expected to be read BEFORE the class meeting on Tuesday of that week. Do not just go through Canvas searching for assignments, you will not do well in this course using that strategy. This class is designed to help you learn by application of course material. Weekly readings will expand your vocabulary, but your consideration of the reading is what will demonstrate your understanding and ability to apply what you learn about communication. This is an active course, and your presence is mandatory. Please understand that you will be expected to prioritize an average of 5- 6 hours per week to Canvas course work.

What to Expect in this Course

Zoom: YOU WILL BE GIVING LIVE SPEECHES IN THIS COURSE: Zoom classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. which is also when live speeches will be delivered. Attendance is mandatory. Our class time is reserved for clarification and development of course content. Including opportunities to practice public speaking. You are expected to have your camera on and participate during zoom class time.

You are expected to begin Module work Monday of each week, bring questions about assignments to Monday's zoom session. Chapter reading should be complete before class on Wednesday. Your goal is to gain a working knowledge of terms that will help you improve your overall communication skills. We will do a lot of practice together, and you will do a lot of work outside of our class time. If you are not comfortable with research, plan to spend the first few weeks of this course getting better at it. 

Please contact me if using your camera during class time is going to be an ongoing issue. If so, you may want to reconsider this course for a better time.

Types of Assessments

All assignments will be found in Canvas and major speeches will be known weeks in advance. You will have quizzes, discussions, written outlines, and an annotated bibliography. 

Textbook Information

Canvas: Students will be completing coursework using CANVAS  and other online tools including library databases. Your course will unlock within CANVAS  on Sunday 8/22nd @ 12:01 am. Once the class becomes available, you can access our online courses using the following link: (Links to an external site.)  If you just added a class, then it may take up to 24 hours for the class to show in Canvas.

  • Please note - you must complete the first week’s assignments to stay enrolled in the course.
  • We use an Open Educational Resource (OER) textbook in the course, which means it is free for you. You can find it in Module 0 of our class Canvas shell. While you do have access to the PDF textbook, I have broken the material into chunks and placed them into weekly modules along with lectures, videos, and other helpful resources.
  • As soon as you gain access to the class (on the first Sunday 8/22), please go into Module zero and begin by watching my welcome video.

In order to be successful in this course you must have reliable access to the Internet, a web browser, word processing program (Microsoft Word preferred), camera and microphone.


Canvas Links: Please log into Canvas by visiting (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.) before our first class @ 12:30 pm on 8/23.  Login information will be emailed to you prior to the start of the course. If you haven’t used or want a refresher on Canvas, please visit the guides (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.).

If after two days of registering for the course you still do not see the COMS 105 link in Canvas, please contact Canvas Support at 661-362-3344.


Next Steps: Login on 8/22 and move through Module 0

You must login to our course and arrive on time to our first zoom session on 8/23 @ 12:30 pm.  If you fail to attend the first week’s sessions (8/23 and 8/25) you will be dropped from the course. 

If you are already familiar with online courses, then this class will feel comfortable to you.  However, if this is your first time taking an online course, then you should be aware that this course runs at a quick pace and relies upon your commitment to do the coursework independently.  Ideally, you should be self-reliant, motivated and disciplined in your work ethic.  

I look forward to meeting you soon! If you have questions about this course, I can be reached at  


Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/12/2023 Sub#: 353