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SPCM 101: Fundamentals of Speech

The Basic Communication Course at South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University School of Communication & Journalism has a distinctive, successful, and award-winning basic course called Fundamentals of Speech (SPCM 101). The course plays a pivotal role within the institution and is offered to approximately 2200 students annually through traditional, online, and honors course sections.

2013 Basic Course of Excellence Program Award Winner

SPCM 101: Fundamentals of Speech was recognized as the 2013 Program of Excellence award winner by the Basic Course Division of the National Communication Association. The division confers only one Program of Excellence per year.


The SDBOR system graduation requirement for the oral communication goal is that students will communicate effectively and responsibly through listening and speaking.

Student Learning Outcomes for SPCM 101:

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to speak thoughtfully, clearly, and effectively in a variety of contexts.
  • Students will demonstrate active listening skills in a variety of contexts.

Speech is a communicative art. The purpose of our foundational course is to help students communicate effectively and respond in any situation by guiding them in acquiring (a) curiosity and the desire for full and adequate knowledge, (b) sound judgment in using that knowledge, (c) the skills necessary to convey knowledge and judgments, and (d) the ability to respond critically to the communication of others.

The foundational communication course is concerned primarily with the skills and body of knowledge that are common to the speaker-listener-critic relationship. The course concentrates on public speaking but does not ignore the other contexts of communication. The public speaking context of the course focuses on listening, topic selection, audience analysis, organization, research, information literacy, supporting claims/reasoning, language use, delivery and ethical speaking. Other contexts of communication addressed throughout the course include intercultural communication, small group communication, interpersonal communication, and the relevance of the communication discipline. 

Advanced Placement

Apply for Advanced Placement Now

Students who have a significant amount of documented public speaking experience (i.e., high school speech, debate, theatre activities; FFA; student congress; or related activities) may qualify for advanced placement into SPCM 205: Communication Studies. Students who complete SPCM 205 with a grade of “C” or better may purchase the credits for SPCM 101 and will then have fulfilled the general education requirement for oral communication. To qualify for advanced placement into SPCM, 205 students must complete the Application for Advanced Standing in Fundamentals of Speech and have this approved by the program. Once approved, the students may enroll in the advanced placement course. Please visit with your academic advisor if you are interested in learning more about advanced placement.