Maisie Caines By Maisie Caines, Blackboard ECP Director, MC-OnLine Consulting, Campus Administrator, College of the North Atlantic (Newfoundland, CA)

How can you deliver a public speaking course online?  Just ask the folks at Capella University.

In Nick White and Adonica Aune’s Public Speaking course, a past Blackboard Exemplary Course Program award-winner, the amount of expected student-to-student interaction is truly impressive.  Capella is dedicated to integrating peer collaboration into their online courses.  In a previous post I discussed the best practices used in an online biology course.  Here I’ll highlight the ways in which Nick and Adonica engage students.

In this public speaking course, students begin by introducing themselves through posting video recordings of self-introduction speeches.  Speeches are delivered using tools such as webcams and web conferencing technologies.

Students are required to critique peer speeches and provide feedback.  Criteria for quality feedback are provided as well as guidance on how to appropriately respond to other learners.  And discussion questions are formulated to encourage self-reflection.

The learner-to-content interaction is this course is exceptional.  Readings are made available in MP3 format, making it downloadable and accessible to mobile technologies such as iPods.  The course content includes modeling of speeches, speech critiques, tools for constructing speeches such as checklists and a speech outliner, and self-assessment tools such as flashcards and quizzes.  The extensive use of rubrics for all learner activities sets the standard for student achievement.

Learn more about Nick and Adonica’s Public Speaking course or visit the course site.

You can participate in the 2009 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program, as a professional development exercise, by either submitting a course for review or becoming a reviewer.  To find out more or volunteer for the program, visit the ECP site.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the program directly at

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