How Does an Online Speech Class Work?

Online education is commonplace nowadays, even for courses that train students in how to give effective speeches or presentations. Many schools offer hybrid and distance learning classes in speech that make use of technology and some in-person meetings.

Online Speech Courses - Overview

Online speech classes can cover a variety of key topics in the field, and they may be offered in either online or hybrid formats. For success in an online speech class, distance learners may need to access to specific technologies.

A number of schools, ranging from community colleges and four-year universities to private distance education schools, offer online speech courses. These classes are often available to fulfill general education requirements for associate's or bachelor's degree programs. They may also be incorporated into a major like communication studies or other fields that require strong public speaking skills. Distance learning classes in this area of study commonly cover the following topics:

  • Persuasive speech
  • Body language
  • Public speaking techniques
  • Group collaborations and presentations
  • Visual aids for presentations
  • Critical listening skills

Hybrid Learning Methods

Hybrid speech classes are based primarily online, but several in-person meetings are spaced throughout the course. Traditional universities may offer online classes for student convenience but consider live participation an integral part of the education process for this topic. Hybrid speech classes are usually composed of a large portion of online study that a participant can complete at any time. However, deadlines may be set on a schedule based on a series of in-person meetings.

Normally, students communicate with each other and their teachers primarily by e-mail or message board through which the teacher assigns topics, checks research, and grades written versions of speeches. Improvement from one live session to the next is often part of the requirement for passing the class.

Online Learning Methods

Totally online classes may follow a looser format than hybrid classes, with students completing work at their own pace and turning it in as they are ready; however, they may still have a fixed ending date for the class, by which time all work must be submitted. Some online speech classes have a stricter schedule, similar to a traditional class, so instructors can grade work at a measured pace and provide consistent feedback to students. Speeches may be different each time, in accordance with an assigned topic. Or, students may work on the same speech consistently to polish it as the course progresses.

Topic submissions, research, and written drafts are usually submitted through e-mail or a school-specific content-sharing platform. But, students may be required to contribute to a discussion board to fulfill class requirements for interaction with their peers.

Technology Requirements

Students completing their live speeches or presentations virtually may use web conferencing technology to do so. They may also be allowed to record their presentations and upload them online for instructors and classmates to critique. In either case, web cameras and microphones would be needed.

Some fully online classes still expect students to give their speeches in person even if they never come to campus. In these situations, distance learners are required to videotape their presentations at a formal setting in which they're responsible for securing an audience. Appropriate locations might be a local school, community center, or business setting.

Online students are generally also required to have computers with minimum hardware and software specifications. They vary by school, but they can often include a recent Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system; high-speed Internet access; a minimum amount of memory; Office software; antivirus software; and a CD or DVD drive.

Some speech classes combine online studies with in-person appearances on campus, while others are offered entirely online, and students demonstrate their skills by sending in video or audio recordings. Both require students to meet basic technological requirements.

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