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COMS 105 Hybrid - Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Victoria Leonard

Course:Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Professor:Victoria Leonard
  • Online
  • Hybrid
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 8 Week


Photo of Victoria Leonard

My name is Victoria Leonard, and I want to give you a little bit of background on me!  I started teaching at CSUN in 1981 and came to COC in 1989.  I spent 17 years as the department chair, and during those years focused much of my research on leadership and organizational communication.  I have been proud of my contributions to our department, and when I first started at COC, I saw the need for a comprehensive communication studies program.  To that end, I wrote a lot of our curriculum, and initiated two associate degrees.  I also assisted students spearheading our COMS Club and Sigma Chi Eta Honor Society.  We are a well-respected program at the national level and have won awards for being the "Model Communication Studies Program." 

I am a firm believer that communication skills lead to success in life regardless of what context you are communicating in!   The skills that I hope students learn from my classes are transferrable to the next level of education, as well as the workplace.   I also feel that we spend our lives learning to be better communicators, so this is just the beginning!  You will find that I will be a “straight shooter.”  I am “who I am” in an online class, just as I am face-to-face.  So, you will see me serious, funny, maybe a little goofy, but I love what I do, and I hope that will be what comes through the most.  I am here to help you learn, but you will need to understand that I have expectations for you to follow through on your end throughout the semester.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit the Communication Studies website and look on faculty pages for more biographical information.  I will also have an extensive biography on our Canvas page when that opens at the beginning of the semester.

Course Description

This course examines the principles and practices of public speaking, communication theory, and techniques for public speaking.  It includes speech organization, development, research, audience analysis, reasoning, and presentation skills for the development of informative and persuasive speeches.  My goal is to help you become better speakers through providing you with the most important tool in public speaking -- a clear sense of organization.  No one is perfect, so please know as you begin this course that my focus will not be on perfection, but it WILL focus on your ability to follow directions using all of the tools I provide you with on Canvas.  For example, I provide you with sample speeches, a template to create outlines, lecture notes, exam study guides, and much more.  My Canvas class will be organized to provide you with easy access to all course documents.

What to Expect in this Course

Unlike your traditional courses, this course is a short-term hybrid on-campus and online course. The majority of your work, such as quizzes, exams, discussions, and writing assignments will be done online. However, we will be meeting for speeches as required by the college so that you present your speeches LIVE in class. Please be available to meet in Halsey Hall 203 from 8:00 to 12:20 on 2/9, 3/1, 3/8, 3/22, and 3/29.

You will be split into two groups when we meet the first time. We will not determine the exact breakdown of the Fridays until we meet and see how many students are in the course.  You will be required to meet five times for this class.

Your assignments will be expected to be completed and turned in online by the date and time that is on your syllabus and in Canvas.  Please understand that because this course relies on technology (i.e. the Internet), it is a bad idea to wait until the last minute to complete any online work.  It will require that you manage your time well and ask for assistance when needed.  In general, do not wait until a minor problem has escalated into a major one. 

Note:  Please see the schedule of classes for all class meeting dates. Vacation plans or work commitments will prevent you from being allowed to remain in the course, so please make sure your calendar is cleared for the days we meet to present speeches. Online hybrid classes have attendance requirements just as face-to-face classes do. If you are not completing all online assignments, you are subject to be dropped. For example, you cannot remain in the course if you are only taking quizzes, but not doing the other work.

Sample Schedule (note: this is only a sample, and days may change)

Monday:        Read Chapters

Tuesday:       Watch videos

Wednesday:  Complete discussion post; Attend Class

Thursday:      Homework due


Saturday:       Post responses to discussion board

Sunday:         Take quiz (or exam)

I will ask you to complete Module 0 and do online work before we meet live and complete any other work assigned. We have introduction speeches on the first day of class and you can find the instructions for that in the course packet and assignment area in Canvas.   

The expectation is that you will log onto Canvas at least three-four times a week.  All other important information will be in the syllabus.

Types of Assessments

Live speeches, quizzes, homework assignments, discussion boards, speech critiques and a final exam will be the majority of your assignments. for the semester.

Textbook Information

To download the OER textbook, you can simply go to the distance learning website, or wait until our Canvas class opens.  The textbook will be linked in Canvas.

Other Relevant Course Information

For students trying to add:  If you are trying to add this class, please know that I will be monitoring the wait list.  I cannot add several additional students to this class.  If you are below the 5th person on the wait list, chances of enrolling are typically not good.  Students would have to drop.  If you are interested in adding the class, please email me to inquire about the status of the class.

For enrolled students:  Please log into Canvas on the first day we begin the term.  If possible, I may open it even a couple of days earlier.  If you have any issues, please contact Canvas support, at (661) 362-3344. You should read your syllabus and complete your first online discussion board by the second day of the semester.  Failure to participate in the first discussion board will be like “missing the first week of class,” and as a result, you will be dropped from the course.  My ultimate goal is to see you succeed, so I will do whatever I can to help you throughout the term.   More of my policies and more detailed explanations will be in the syllabus.

Academic Accommodations Center students must send me paperwork within the first four days of class to receive accommodations for the first quiz.  I will not be able to extend any time without documentation. 

Canvas is an important platform for this course because I will be using it as a primary method of communication with you.  I may also contact you via email, but will always use Canvas announcements.  Please note:  I will only respond to students who email me through CANVAS or their MyCanyons accounts.  It is a violation of FERPA for me to connect with you on your personal email accounts.

I look forward to meeting you online the first day of the term!

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.


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Last updated: 01/03/2024 Sub#: 333