Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement via multiple measures OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 125 & ESLL 249; not open to students with credit in COMM 1BH or SPCH 1B.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area V: Communication & Analytical Thinking
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to distinguish a fallacious argument from empirical truth.
  • A successful student will be able to identify evidence from credible sources in support of research analysis.


The study and practice of argumentation and persuasion. Analysis of rhetorical theory and application of methods of effective persuasion. Knowledge of the structure and format of various types of disputation and participation in in-class speech activities.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Understand and express the theoretical concepts of argumentation and persuasion.
  2. Demonstrate skills in researching topics of controversy.
  3. Prepare written materials and demonstrate proficiency in an oral presentation.
  4. Deliver a coherent, logical, persuasive, and sequenced argument, supported by documentation and evidence.
  5. Respond to counterarguments and engage effectively in refutation and rebuttal.
  6. Gain understanding and appreciation of people of diverse cultural backgrounds through intercultural research, disclosure, and presentations.

Course Content

  1. Persuasive communication theory
    1. Inductive and deductive reasoning
    2. Critical analysis of argumentative claims and logical fallacies
    3. Cultural diversity as a communication opportunity
  2. Critical evaluation of speech presentations
    1. Peer evaluation of student debates and persuasive speeches
    2. Self-analysis and written self-evaluation
    3. Instructor critique
  3. Organization and planning of speech and debate performance
    1. Effective introductions and conclusions
    2. Argument structure and development
    3. Documentation and support of claims
    4. Traditional patterns of organization
  4. Research methods and citation of sources
    1. Library research to support argumentative positions
    2. Use of alternate databases such as InfoTrac, ONESEARCH, and LexisNexis
    3. Oral and written citation methods

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. Classroom with access to audio/visual aids, especially monitor and VCR.
2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with email software and capabilities; email address; JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Written examinations on the theories of argumentation
Evaluation of speeches based upon organization of material, clarity of expression, significance of evidence, effectiveness of transitions and logical progression of ideas
Analytical and persuasive writing

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Discussions and cooperative learning exercises
Student oral presentations and demonstrations
In-class debate participation
Electronic discussions/chats

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Rieke, Richard. Argumentation and Critical Decision Making, 8th ed.. 2013.

Ruggiero, Vincent. Thinking Critically About Ethical Issues, 9th ed.. 2015.

Rybacki, Karyn C., and Donald J. Rybacki. Advocacy and Opposition: An Introduction to Argumentation, 7th ed.. 2012.

Zarefsky, David. The Practice of Argumentation: Effective Reasoning in Communication (Critical Reasoning and Argumentation). 2019.

Although some of these texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal texts in this area of study.

Marteney, Jim. Arguing Using Critical Thinking. OER Commons, June 2020:

When taught via Foothill Global Access: supplemental lectures, handouts, tests, and assignments delivered via email and/or internet; feedback on tests and assignments delivered via email and/or internet; class discussion may be delivered in chat rooms, listservs, and newsgroups.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. In preparation for in-class debate, completion of evidence portfolio comprised of extensive topic research with full MLA citations; outline and detailed explanation of affirmative, negative, and rebuttal arguments
  2. Self-evaluation paper, reflecting on progress, effectiveness, and needed improvements
  3. Written peer speech critique with detailed analysis of content and delivery style


Communication Studies