Online education represents as great a transformation for schooling as industrialization did for farming, suggests online educator and author Zane L. Berge. The flexibility of taking classes in any location and at any time offers more students the opportunity to earn degrees than ever before. Some classes, however, pose a particular challenge for online educators and students, including speech courses, which conventionally require students to stand in front of their classmates to deliver speeches. Colleges design online speech courses with these challenges in mind.

Communication at a Distance

Students typically complete online coursework, reading and writing and then visit campus to deliver their speeches or deliver them electronically as videos. At Lansing Community College, for instance, students visit campus for a scheduled presentation unless they live more than 60 miles away. Students that fall into the latter category record their speeches in a formal setting in front of an audience of at least eight adults. Rochester Community and Technical College provides the same two options, although students may choose which option they prefer. Lansing Community College requires a student’s camera operator to pan listeners at the beginning of the speech to prove they are present. Some institutions, such as Southwestern College, use interactive software to enable distance learners to upload their own speeches and to view and critique their classmates’ speeches.