Public Speaking & Debate Online

This track emphasizes public speaking and debate to help you develop communication skills that will enhance your academic and personal lives. We work within the format of policy arguments, a mode where speakers present detailed arguments about significant, contemporary issues and topics. Such arguments require strong research, critical thinking, and writing and speaking skills, skills you will use after this course in a myriad of areas including not only your college coursework but life in general. 

Class lessons and activities offer opportunities to hone your public speaking skills through short, informative and persuasive speeches. We will also watch clips from film and television programs that illustrate points raised in class. Also, to help you develop arguments for your speeches, we will work with Notre Dame’s extensive library holdings. You will learn how to use a university library’s electronic databases. Finally, on the last day of class you will argue for or against a resolution you and/or your classmates have crafted.

Whether you are an experienced speaker or have never delivered a speech before, all you need is the desire to develop as a critical thinker and effective persuader.

Academic Director

Patrick Clauss, Ph.D., is the director of Writing and Rhetoric in the University Writing Program. His research and teaching interests include rhetorical and argumentation theory, informal logic, and critical thinking. In the spring of 2014, he was named a recipient of the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Before joining the University of Notre Dame in 2008, he was a faculty member at Butler University in Indianapolis, where he also directed the writing center and taught courses in English education, advanced composition, and rhetorical theory.