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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: COMM 323
Course Title: Argumentation and Debate
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Detailed study and application of rhetorical theories, including the analysis, evaluation, and production of arguments. Course focuses on formal debate strategies in addition to rhetorical artifacts ranging from classical readings to contemporary discourse. Prerequisite: COMM 110.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): COMM 110
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Spring
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

By Larson, Charles (Wadsworth)
Contemporary American Speeches
By Johannesen, Allen, Linkugel, & Bryan (Kendall Hunt)
The Rhetorical Act
By Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs (Wadsworth)
Everything's an Argument
By Lunsford and Ruszkiewics
Argumentation and Debate
By Freeley and Steinberg
Course Objectives
  • To explore rhetorical analysis and performance models of public discourse.
  • To evaluate persuasive techniques based on ethical uses of information and argumentation.
  • To identify the elements of formal argument.
  • To increase competency in public speaking situations.
Measurable Learning
  • Develop an ethical understanding of reasoning and refutation.
  • Develop advanced research and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrate advanced experience in expression and speaking skills.
  • Develop critical thinking and writing skills as they pertain to formal argumentation.
  • Gain practical experience in the skills of formal, organized debate patterns.
  • Demonstrate ethical standards of evaluating persuasive messages.
Topical Outline:
  • Persuasion theory
  • Formal argumentation
  • Logic
  • Fallacies
  • Debate forms and strategies
  • Cross-examination
  • Lincoln-Douglas debate
  • Parliamentary debate
  • Debate flow
  • Delivery

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Amy Darnell Date: September 5, 2012
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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