According to a Gallup poll, public speaking is the second greatest fear for Americans, behind snakes. As surprising as it may be, the ability to have confidence when speaking in front of a crowd is a rare commodity.
Students can now learn how to be an effective public speaker in the comfort of their own home. Rio Salado College is offering public speaking courses online. Although some may say it’s unusual to learn how to speak in front of a group of people without having to actually go up in front of a classroom, that’s not the case with modern technology according to Rio Salado College Social Sciences Faculty Chair Patricia Case.
“Corporations conduct business meetings online utilizing cameras, microphones and meetings space, “ she said. “ People upload video and audio content to the web all the time. With today’s technology not offering an online version of public speaking would be imprudent.”
The course works much like the conventional version in that students receive the same lessons and speech material. Students utilize an online private video hosting service to upload their seven required speeches and 10 weekly audio journals for the class. Students are required to deliver their speech in front of an audience of at least three and only faculty and other students enrolled in the class are able to view the material.
“As innovations have allowed for us to mirror the in person aspect of learning, public speaking online is one of those classes that benefits from online innovations,” said Case.
Taking a public speaking class online even has some advantages over taking a course in a traditional setting.
“One area the online version of this course is more beneficial is the detailed feedback the student receives, Case said. The faculty member can literally pause the speech and comment on a specific speech element and time-stamp that element so the speaker and the other students can see an example of a concept being used correctly. Also, with the ability to pause a speech in progress, the faculty member can more adequately comment on all aspects of the speech delivery in a thoughtful and systematic fashion."
The convenient learning environment of an online class also allows students to learn how to become effective and confident public speakers in their own time and at their own pace, which is especially useful in a stressful class such as public speaking.
Case also says the personalized attention and guidance the online model of the class affords a student is very beneficial to the learning process. “It is as if they are receiving a personal speaking coach instead of a speech instructor. In the corporate world, people pay big money for speaking coaches.”
By Ryan Bawek, PR intern at Rio Salado College
Article published in the Ahwatukee and Chandler Republic June 16th