This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of basic communication skills. Students learn and practice the preparation and delivery of original extemporaneous speeches. The course places a strong emphasis on the process of developing communication skills and the ability to convey concepts clearly. Critical thinking skills and research is also be emphasized. In so doing, students practice the skills of speaking that are crucial to communication, education, persuasion, and daily life.

This course is designed to acquaint students with the theory and practice of basic speech communication skills. Students learn to:

  • Understand and use communication theories related to public speaking;
  • Appreciate the various ethical concerns involved when one develops and presents a public speech;
  • Research topics for speeches using traditional and new media methods and sources;
  • Determine situational and audience needs and constraints when developing and delivering speeches;
  • Organize and deliver speech presentations on informative and persuasive topics through preparation outlines and speaking outlines;
  • Understand how to design and use presentation aids;
  • Understand and produce constructive criticism of public speeches, including their classmates’ speeches.

I have enjoyed teaching this class for the academic year of 2015/16, and have made the course a fully collaborative course with many elements involving student-centered pedagogy, crowdsourced documents, collaborative note-taking, blogging, etc. You can see the syllabus for the Fall 2015 iteration of the class here and the syllabus for Spring 2016 iteration.


Student Evaluations

The best part of [Kalle] is he is team worker. Treat every student equally.

Student, Spring 2016

I wanted to email back and extend a thank you to YOU. You have put in so much work for our class. You’ve given us feedback for every project and the lessons you created for us seem like they took hours of planning and plenty of thought and effort. No professor goes to such extents for their students. Our sessions were fun and lighthearted and you made giving speeches definitely easier for everyone. You made every single student in our class feel appreciated and cared for. On top of it all, you managed to stay incredibly organized and efficient, and that was a huge plus. Thank YOU for everything you’ve done for us this semester. Thank you for the countless emails back and forth and thank you for the extra off-hours you spent with us analyzing our assignments Google Docs and chatting with us to make everything better. Thank you for being friendly, thank you for keeping us on track, and thank you for keeping the class fun. You are truly appreciated. Hope to see you around!

Student, Fall 2015

I … want to thank you for such a wonderful semester. I think like most I was afraid of public speaking(still am) but I am definitely more comfortable with it now. You made the class very comfortable and a lot of fun. This made an already difficult class much easier. Thank you for being such an awesome professor!!!

Student, Fall 2015


Faculty Observation Reports

[Kalle] demonstrated his abilities as a dynamic, multi-faceted lecturer/presenter and a knowledgeable, inventive and able discussion leader. Using the white board as well as computer platforms, Karl elicited student input on several facets of visual aids, including the variety of types, reasons for using such aids, types of presentation platforms, best matches of such aids for a variety of purposes, and best practices to be considered in design for interest, readability and information as well as appeal and usefulness for different learning styles. Throughout, Karl kept up a steady and swift pace, invited and attended to student comments, used specific prompts to get students to go further with their comments and discussed the significance of visual aids as both supporting and driving presentation effectiveness, depending on the care with which such aids are chosen and deployed.

Prof. Jana O’Keefe Bazzoni, Spring 2016.

The class I observed offers an excellent example of an engaged teacher, in clear rapport with his students for whom he is a well-prepared, creative and technologically adept classroom leader and performer. I enjoyed this class session and applaud [Kalle’s] class design and management.

Prof. Jana O’Keefe Bazzoni, Spring 2016.

I judge this to be a highly successful example of a contemporary approach to teaching public speaking (COM 1010), guiding students through the learning goals of the class to achieving effective development in individual and group communication through a variety of modalities.

Prof. Jana O’Keefe Bazzoni, Spring 2016.

Throughout the entire hour and fifteen minute class Mr. Westerling used humor, wit, and a reliance on contemporary examples to convey to the students important and complex concepts regarding persuasion.

Prof. Eric Gander, Fall 2015.

The class that I observed was exactly what an introductory public speaking class should be. The lecture-discussion and class activities led by Mr. Westerling were entertaining, very well-organized, and intellectually rich in theoretical and practical insights. Mr. Westerling also established and maintained a focused and academic environment during class. Finally, my own subjective judgment, informed by several decades of teaching, is that Mr. Westerling’s students very much enjoyed his class and thought they were getting much out of it.

Prof. Eric Gander, Fall 2015.