Forensics Courses in the Speech & Communication Studies Department

SPCH-110A1/2/3 Forensics Workshop or SPCH-112A1/2/3 Argumentation and Debate Workshop

Forensics, SPCH-110, is a competitive public speaking class that is worth three units of credit. You can repeat this course four times for a total of 12 units. The purpose of this class is to prepare you to compete in intercollegiate forensics tournaments as a member of the Ohlone Speech and Debate Team. Members of the class/team travel throughout California competing at intercollegiate forensics tournaments (review the Tournament Schedule). Students deliver speeches and participate in debates. It is recommended that students have already completed Speech 101 or English 101A. Concurrent enrollment in a Speech 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 115 or 132 is also acceptable.

Students taking Spch 110A1 or 110A2 or Spch 112A1 or 112A2 may wish to read a sample paper (PDF) that comments on a speaker's presentation by addressing three areas:

  1. content,
  2. organization, and
  3. delivery.

Note: Students who sign up for 1 or 2 units of SPCH-110 and SPCH-112 do not compete, but may assist the team.

Required Supplies

In order to be prepared for forensics competition, there are a number of supplies you will need. Everyone is required to buy a stopwatch and a videotape. Depending on which events you decide to compete in, you may need to buy some or all of the following supplies: a stapler, Post-it notes, tape, a glue stick, a black book, posterboard, and a copy card.

Textbooks, Online Access Codes, Other Supplies and Resources

Most Ohlone College classes require the purchase of a textbook, and some classes require the purchase of online access codes (also known as keys) or other supplies. Most of these purchases are available at the Ohlone College Bookstore.

Students may go to the Ohlone College Bookstore website to find the textbook(s), access codes (keys), or supplies for their class(es). Students may be required to pay additional fees for access to online resources that are not available through the Ohlone College Bookstore. Please check with your instructor.

More at Textbooks: Information and Purchasing, including Online Orders, Newark Center Textbooks and Supplies, Book Buybacks, and Textbook Costs.


The course design reflects a balance of conceptual knowledge garnered from research, outlines, and assignments; and experimental knowledge gained through participation in competitive speaking. Forensics Speech and Debate awards in Building 1 display case.This design is based on the assumptions that learning is facilitated when you are personally involved, that the most valuable learning is the result of self-discovery, and that commitment is highest when you actively pursue your own goals within the course framework. Everyone in the class will participate in student success and team-building activities that allow you to learn through being personally involved. Come to class planning to raise your hand and speak your mind. You may view this course as a laboratory wherein you are encouraged to learn the conceptual material and to practice and improve your competitive public speaking skills in a supportive environment. You are encouraged to take responsibility for your own education.

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. If there is any support, feedback or assistance that I can offer you as we progress; please do not hesitate to talk to me.


  1. You must attend all Speech Team Meetings and Individual Coaching Sessions.
  2. You must remember that you are a representative of the Ohlone College speech team and your actions reflect on your peers, your coach and your school. Please be a positive representative.
  3. Preparation is the key to success in forensics. You must qualify to attend a tournament. In general, this will be the Thursday before the team is scheduled to go to a tournament.
  4. The use of Drugs and Alcohol will not be accepted at any time! Using drugs or alcohol will result in your expulsion from the team. If this occurs at a tournament you will be responsible for your own transportation home.
  5. The team has specific rules for tournament conduct and procedure that are attached. We must all follow them.
  6. Only the students that are most prepared to represent Ohlone will travel to tournaments.
  7. As a team member it is important that you participate in the recruitment efforts.
  8. If you drop from a tournament once you have been entered, you must pay the drop fees for the tourney. Tournament drop will vary from tournament to tournament. Your grade will be lowered and you will be off the team if it is not paid.

Student Learning Outcomes for Speech/Forensics

Upon successful completion of the courses in this discipline, the student will have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  • Communicate with diverse audiences in multiple contexts to meet the goals of the intended communication.
  • Describe and analyze the symbolic nature of communication and how it creates individual, group, and cultural reality.
  • Identify, evaluate, and utilize evidence to support claims used in presentations and arguments.
  • Demonstrate through performance and analysis the importance of both verbal and nonverbal communication.
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