COMM 360 – Spring Semester 2009
LA 226, (785)817-2203
Office Hours: By appointment
This course provides students the opportunity to learn and engage in Parliamentary debate through the forum of class and intercollegiate competition. The purpose of the class is to increase ability in argumentation and speaking ability and prepare for competition in NPDA
Forensics educates through research skills, argumentation, critical thinking, policy analysis, persuasion, performance, organization and audience adaptation. Forensics provides students to participate in an international democratic decision-making processes.
The University of Montana has a rich forensics tradition dating back 100 years. In addition to weekly inter-class practice, students will be involved with broad research, debates in public forum, campus debates and national NPDA travel.
Class Requirements –
PLEASE REGISTER FOR 2 CREDITS. If you’d like to take 3 credits, please see me todiscuss expectations. You are required to take the class and complete the assignments if you wish to travel competitively.
Students have the option to register on a graded or pass/no-pass basis. A grade of ‘C’ or higher is required for a pass. Students who are majors in Comm. Studies must register for traditional grading.
Regular class attendance, participation, weekly practices, and participation in one debate event are required for credit. Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions with prepared material, lead class discussions with their issue briefs and to assist in debate outreach efforts. As assignments will be made every week, it is important to balance breadth and depth of our research. For those who enjoy deeper research, greater background can be added or found on the team website.
The outreach assignments are individually arranged and can include fundraising, judging
or coaching high school programs, publicity or facilitating the public debates.
In addition, students may choose to develop an on-going debate project (Critical Theory, Performance, or others). This will culminate each semester with a 30-40 minute public presentation about the project.
Students will help facilitate public outreach events with the university and community participants. This participation will increase our visibility in the university and allow our discipline to enhance other areas of study. Your presence is required at these events.
Research – 100 points
There will be an issue brief/updates assigned by me periodically throughout the semester. Number of briefs assigned will be determined by number of credit hours taken. See brief grading criteria. Updates may include topics we’ve already discussed but need further discussion and “updates” (new peace accords, election results, etc.)
Attendance and Participation in class– 100 points
Attendance will be taken. 3 unexcused absences are allowed. The fourth will result in a letter grade reduction. To excuse an absence, please see your student handbook. Please keep in mind that we will be doing practices in class for credit. You may still schedule practices outside of class, but missing class will be detrimental to your performance and grade.
Readings/Theory- 100 points
Throughout the semester I will hand you different articles written by past and present debaters and coaches. Students will be expected to turn in a one-paragraph response to the reading the following class period with how you would incorporate the author’s approach to debate in a debate round.
Debate is a game with rules that are debatable. To succeed in debate you will have to defend not only whatever side you may be on but also the rules of debate that favor your position. Debaters will be required to memorize different theory arguments throughout the semester.
Community Outreach – 40 points but REQUIRED TO PASS CLASS
Outreach includes participation and organization public debates, high school outreach, on-going debate project, judging for high school tournaments (a full day, not just a round or two), or team administrative duties.
Total of 340 points for the semester. I’ll grade on a 10 point scale A=90%, B=80%, and so on.
Traveling to tournaments is not a requirement of COMM 360, however, it is an integral function of the class. You must attend one debate function (including an on-campus scrimmage). Most of class time will be dedicated to preparing for our tournaments. There is no fee to travel to tournaments; however, you will be expected to provide some of your own money for food.
Students that wish to travel with the University are required to do additional work. All team members MUST write one brief per week. Those of you who are enrolling in the class for one credit are still required to do the same workload if you wish to be included on the traveling squad.
The privilege to travel to tournaments and represent the University of Montana is at the discretion of Alan Sillars, Director of Forensics, and me.
The Tentative Spring Travel Schedule
Whitman Invitational (Walla Walla, WA) February 19-22 (Two tournaments some teams depending on numbers may only compete in one half of the tournament)
JV/Novice Champs (Spokane, WA) March 6-7 (JV teams only)
CEDA Nationals (Idaho State University) March 21-22 (Out of pocket expense)
NPDA (Stockton, CA) March 27-30 (Two open teams only)