Teaching

 

Teaching students is one of my favorite things. While some may think of it as a means to an end—the Dr. in front of your name—I view it as a chance to engage the next generation of leaders. It is my hope that I instill them with the skills needed to navigate the ever-changing landscape of this democracy.

 

 

At Penn State, I have taught 6 different classes.

 

CAS 100A: Public Speaking 

This is the basic public speaking course at Penn State. Students are tasked with composing, editing, and delivering speeches in front of an audience of their peers. Readings include The Art of the Speaker, by Professor Christopher L. Johnstone. The Art is a textbook customized to fit the needs of Penn State undergraduates.

 

CAS 100B: Group Communication 

This class fulfills the public speaking requirement at Penn State, but the goal of CAS 100B directed toward skill development in effective group communication, with less emphasis on formal public speaking and message evaluation. The group communication course now has an extended section dedicated to democratic deliberation, keeping the focus of the class related to the civic engagement perspective of 100A.

 

CAS 100C World Campus: Public Speaking, Critical Message Analysis 

As the course title suggests, CAS 100C is the basic course with an emphasis on critical thinking, writing, and speaking. As instructor of the course, I introduced students to the basic concepts of rhetorical criticism. Students completed weekly assignments that examined the rhetorical situation, ethos building, audience analysis, fallacies, and style. Students also had to submit two speeches via a website called YouSeeU, which allowed me to give feedback either in written or video form.

 

CAS 283: Communication and Technology, Lecturer 

This is an introductory course in the theory and application of technology for communication and self-presentation online. A major emphasis is placed on Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) – the study of the social effects of communication and information technology. Areas covered include factors that distinguish mediated from face-to-face interaction, theories of mediated interpersonal communication, self-presentation online, Internet-based relationships, and online communities.

 

CAS 283: Communication and Technology, Lab Instructor

During the labs, I facilitated discussion of the important theoretical concepts discussed in lectures. Labs also allow us to explore emerging technologies, controversies, and other dimensions of CMC that envelop our lives, but require confronting our own role in the matter. Students are required to setup a bi-weekly blog, where they take to connect content from the class, readings, and labs with real world examples. We also explore topics like hashtag activism, e-waste, and the potential dark side of CMC (e.g. 3D printing of guns). 

 

CAS 283 World Campus: Communication and Technology

Communication and Information Technology WC is designed to provide a foundation of general computing knowledge and skills that may be applied in both college life and out in the workforce. The course material provides students with guidance on topics covering various social media tools, the analyzing online information to determine credibility, and the importance of different CMC tools via the web. 

CAS 301- Introduction to Rhetorical Theory

For nearly 2,500 years, the discipline of rhetoric represented Western culture’s most sophisticated system for understanding the many uses of language in human affairs. Studying the history and theory of rhetoric involves more than an examination of various techniques for public speaking; it also requires an examination of vital changes in culture and politics. To study the rhetorical tradition is to study longstanding theories about the moral and political significance of everyday language; historically influential ideas about knowledge, truth, or social class; and the very foundations of both our political and educational systems. This course explores the history of rhetorical theory to demonstrate how its basic concepts and perspectives may continue to help us understand the many ways in which human communication shapes our personal, academic, and public lives.

CAS 301 World Campus: Introduction to Rhetorical Theory, Creator and Instructor

Rhetorical theory is essential instruction for civic life, so the ability to recognize or recall theory is not a sufficient goal for the course. Students must be able to retain and apply theory to their own experience. With this goal, we developed my course in rhetorical theory around this guiding principle: Regularly applying rhetorical theory to one’s own experience will enhance knowledge retention and allow for a deeper understanding of rhetorical theory.

CAS 311: Rhetorical Criticism Methods

Rhetorical criticism is the art of interpreting persuasive texts from the past, in order to inform critical judgments in the present. In its most common form, rhetorical criticism analyzes how speakers employ the available means of persuasion in a specific case to move an audience to action, as one might think of the kind of analysis that follows a Presidential address (i.e., the President used this or that metaphor, emphasized this or that principle, developed this or that narrative). Here, the goal is to help make clear the goals of the speech and the strategies used to achieve them, with the expressed purpose of the criticism being to assist the audience in making a judgment concerning which arguments they wish to accept and which they wish to reject. Participants in this course will not only learn how to critique rhetoric, they will leave the class with a greater appreciation for why communication and rhetoric matters in the age of Twitter, cable news, and mediated spectacle. 

CAS 478: Rhetoric of the War on Terror

“The art of war” is a common phrase. This course argues that war is indeed an art, and a thoroughly rhetorical one in which the political economy of persuasion is as important as high-tech weaponry and whiz-bang battle plans. By considering some of war’s most thoughtful theorists, by discussing wars past and present, and by reading powerful defenses and trenchant critiques of war, this course will help students understand how wars are managed rhetorically. This course satisfies a grave need: for living in the post-9/11 world requires the critical rhetorical skills necessary to understand not just how war is waged or how it structures our lives but how war is advocated and defended. 

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© 2020 by Frank Stec. 

 

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