COMM 198 : Applied Activity

COMM 198 Applied Activity in Forensics Application (pdf)


Tina Lim 
Phone 408-475-7823

Office Hours:

HGH 214 Thursdays 12:00-2:00 PM, on-line and by appointment.


The department of Communication Studies, in response to student and faculty concerns about the practical application of communication theory to real world contexts, has led the campus in providing several choices for meaningful applied capstone experiences.

  • Provide students in a liberal arts program with meaningful opportunities to apply classroom experiences to real world settings.
  • Allow students to demonstrate proficiency in the critical application of core requirements to speech acts and contexts.
  • Bridge academic expectations and professional experience.
  • Provide practical experience outside of the traditional classroom.
  • Create opportunities for students to serve the campus or other communities by the appropriate application for knowledge gained in the major.
  • To provide opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency in communication related areas in different environments.

Objectives for Applied Activity Options:

Students will:

  • Translate theory into practice
  • Explain and demonstrate abilities in oral and written communication
  • Integrate critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Exhibit knowledge of communication theory
  • Relate communication strategies to varied audiences
  • Apply critical listening skills
  • Work effectively with others
  • Respect cultural and linguistic diversity


Each option of the required Senior Applied Activity must meet the following basic requirements for one unit of credit in accordance with university practices for supervised activities:

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 50 hours of supervised activity for each one unit of credit.
  2. Students must meet all prerequisite requirements.
  3. Students must receive prior instructor and departmental approval to enroll on the selected activity.
  4. Students must select their Applied Activity option and complete all required paperwork to receive the suppressed code to add the activity before the end of the add period.
  5. Students should complete all necessary training and readings in a timely manner.
  6. All work must be completed under the supervision of the designated faculty member or members.
  7. Students will keep a journal, log, or complete all necessary paperwork to document their activities.
  8. Students are expected to sign an agreement specifying the terms of their applied activity.
  9. Students will complete reflective assignments periodically throughout the experience as appropriate.
  10. Students will complete an assessment and evaluation of their Applied Activity.
  11. Students should behave professionally and appropriately at all times during the completion of Applied Activities.
  12. Students should report any unsafe or inappropriate circumstances to the supervising faculty member or a department administrator as quickly as possible.

Specific Course Requirements:

Design a 50 hour project that includes:

  • Research
  • Practice
  • Coaching
  • Evaluation - judging
  • Performance – competitive event

Course Objectives:

The student should demonstrate knowledge of argumentation principles, persuasive and informative messages as well as speak extemporaneously; prepare messages for a variety of audiences; research and design persuasive messages for limited and prepared speaking events and evaluate the quality of other speakers or debaters. Students should either compete in platform speaking and/or parliamentary debate; and judge a tournament to fulfill their Applied Activities obligations. Opportunities to conduct workshops or coach are available upon request with adequate prior experience.

Supplemental Reading:

Winebrenner, T.C. Intercollegiate Forensics and Austin-Lett, Genelle. How to Write the Perfect Ballot.

Course Description:

The Forensics option is part of the Senior Project/Applied Activity required for graduation for majors in the department of Communication Studies. Its purpose is to provide Communication Studies majors with practical experience, under faculty supervision, with scholarly reflection. The Forensics option provides students with an opportunity to put their almost four years of learning where their mouths are; to test their speaking, reasoning, and listening abilities outside the college classroom. In some cases where individuals have had extensive competitive experience, they will be required to conduct workshops, design and instruct in the construction of case briefs and other platform speaking activities, as well as coach speech and debate and judge at an intercollegiate tournament.

Assignment Options:

Because each student has different needs and experiences, there will be options to choose from to form a 50 hour contract.

Observation - TBD

Competition - TBD

Judging - TBD

Administration and Coaching

  • Assist in tournament preparation for [dates to be determined] [10 hours]
  • Participate in creating web-site debates and/or speeches [20 hours]
  • Research, cut, and prepare files for extemp [10-30 hours]
  • Conduct a workshop on some aspect of debate or platform speaking (must come with experience) [8-10 hours]

The hours listed are approximations of the time needed to complete the task. Some students may complete the work in fewer hours or more hours. The hour commitment will be reflected in the log you keep of these activities.

To attend one tournament you must be coached by SJSU forensics coaches for a minimum of three sessions before attending a tournament.

  • All students must maintain a log of specific activities with the accompanying time spent
  • A reflective piece on what you learned or how this experience benefited you is required

Application Process:

Students should fill out an application

Criteria for Selection:

In order to be considered applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a Senior or have completed most of the courses required for a major in communication studies.
  • Must have completed a minimum of four courses in the department.
  • Must have received a grade of “B” or better in Public Speaking or an equivalent basic course in oral communication.
  • Must be able to compete in at least one tournament.
  • Must follow the team and university rules for competition.
  • Must demonstrate effective speaking, writing, and research skills.

Campus Policy in Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act

“If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities register with the DRC (Disability Resource Center) to establish a record of their disability.”


Units for the Applied Activity are awarded on a credit/no- credit basis. Failure to complete all of the requirements will result in a no credit grade and may hamper a student’s progress to completion of their degree. An incomplete may be awarded in special circumstances in accordance with university policy.


According to University policy F69-24, “Students should attend all meetings of their classes, not only because they are responsible for material discussed therein, but because active participation is frequently essential to ensure maximum benefit for all members of the class. Attendance per se shall not be used as a criterion for grading.”

As competitors and adjudicators attendance at coaching sessions, meetings, and tournaments are crucial to the successful completion of this unit. Students are responsible for attending coaching sessions, tournaments, and meetings. If there is a conflict, the student must notify the director of forensics and reschedule.

Academic Integrity

"Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University and the University’s Integrity Policy, require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Judicial Affairs. The policy on integrity can be found at:" link is off the SJSU forensics site

Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and possible disciplinary action by the university.


Students will be critiqued by speech and debate team competitors and coaches for every speaking event. Every student will be evaluated on the basis of the original contract, compliance and fulfillment of that contract, and the quality and timeliness of each completed item. The final grade will be assessed by the director of forensics. Each student is expected to submit a self-evaluation with a log of hours and a reflective piece on what (s)he learned and how (s)he was benefited by this capstone experience.