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All Places > The Communication COMMunity > Blog > 2019 > November

“No textbook is created by one person,” writes Steve McCornack and Joe Ortiz, the authors of the groundbreaking new edition of the human communication textbook Choices & Connections. “What we teach, and how we teach it, can have a transformative impact on our students.” I’m proud to be one of the many people who helped Steve and Joe create this new edition, as a founding member of the editorial board for Diversity, Inclusion, and Culturally-Responsive Pedagogy (DICR). Collectively, what we accomplished with this new edition of Choices & Connections is to create a book that all of our students can see themselves in. In doing this, I believe this new edition will transform the lives of our students for the better. To me, that’s the ultimate mark of achievement.


In 2018, the National Communication Association (NCA) published nine learning outcomes for courses in the communication discipline. The Learning Outcomes in Communication (LOC) project was a faculty-driven initiative to voice specific learning outcomes for the discipline and stakeholders—students, graduates, parents, employers, and even college & university administrators. In all, these nine outcomes form the essence of teaching and learning in our discipline. Of these nine LOCs, one in particular addresses a key issue often overlooked by publishers and institutions yet nonetheless fundamental to the notion of equity in education and society--embracing diversity and promoting inclusion: “LOC #8 Utilize communication to embrace difference.” This learning outcome, which can be read in its entirety here, was the foundation on which our DICR Board and the revision of Choices & Connections was built.


The DICR board was formed by eight diverse communication scholars from around the country, including me, who have taken on leadership or demonstrated a passion for advocacy for diversity and inclusion. We had one distinct task: together, we would re-examine the photography, graphics, examples, and the text to create a better, more inclusive set of learning materials. 


I believe that's what we did. Working with the editors at Macmillan Learning, and in partnership with Steve and Joe, we were able to collectively create a more diverse and inclusive text, through the photo program (see the photo of Serena Williams on the Chapter 2 opener, which I discussed in my previous blog), examples (see the example of Dolores Huerta in Chapter 1), and topic coverage (see new Chapter 3: Culture and Gender). For more on these examples, take a look at the DICR microsite here.


So, I’m especially excited that together we are undertaking an effort that can exponentially change the publishing industry. We know that diversity and inclusive representation is sound, culturally-responsive pedagogy. We know that what this textbook looks like will matter to students. And, we are just getting started.


The board has reconvened for a second term to work on another Macmillan Learning text that you will be learning more about in the future. We remain committed to our mission: "to advance and evolve our understanding of diversity, inclusiveness, and culturally responsive pedagogy to promote their fundamental, not ancillary, place in the development of learning materials.” I see our editorial board as the beginning of a movement to transform the development of higher education learning materials, one textbook at a time.


             Professor Martin speaks on college success, as well as diversity & inclusion. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram at ThreePsPodcast.

             Learn more about the DICR editorial board here.

In the introductory human communication course or public speaking course, it can be challenging for students to see speech preparation as a developmental process. Many students come into introductory courses having done oral presentations for other academic classes. For example, they may have had a presentation assignment in an art history or business class. As a result, these students are accustomed to planning their presentations by using a PowerPoint template or simply writing down a “grocery list” of topics to cover.


 To encourage students to be more intentional in their speech preparation, I teach a five step model: Think, Investigate, Compose, Rehearse, and Revise. Think about your topic and audience; investigate or research the topic; compose an outline; rehearse your speech, and revise the outline according to feedback received from your rehearsal. This five step model is the basis for both lessons  and learning activities.


Students are expected to apply this five step model in preparing their speech assignment, and to make their preparation visible through a portfolio assignment. Specifically, written documentation of how the student has applied each of the five steps is organized into a folder and submitted for grading. Figure 1 below outlines the five step model along with the type of evidence to be included in the portfolio.


The portfolio assignment encourages students to be more intentional in developing their speeches, and helps them see speech-making as a developmental process. Additionally, it provides instructors with a complete “snapshot” of the preparation that went into the speech, which then supports meaningful and constructive feedback to students.


Five Steps in Making Your Speech Preparation Visible




  • Brainstorm inspiration for the topic
  • Analyze the situation and the audience
  • Narrow the topic
  • Develop a working thesis statement

Brainstormed list or written rationale for topic choice.

Complete audience analysis survey.

Written notes that show the process of narrowing a topic and the development of a working thesis statement.


  • Locate resources:  articles, books and websites
  • Keep research cards or notes with bibliographic citations
  • Frame your thesis statement

Sampling of search terms, bibliographic citations, and notes to show research efforts.

Final thesis statement.


  • Identify main points and supporting material
  • Develop a working draft of the outline of the speech body
  • Prepare introduction and conclusion
  • Develop a polished draft of the speech outline
  • Prepare presentation aids


Preparation outline drafts.

Notes or outline drafts of speech introduction and conclusion.

Notes on possible presentation aids.


  • Prepare necessary speech notes
  • Give the speech aloud
  • Practice with presentation aids
  • Work on vocal and nonverbal delivery
  • Obtain feedback from another person

Drafts of speaker notes or delivery outline.

Date/time record of rehearsal efforts.

Written summary or notes from another

person on rehearsal feedback. 



  • Develop a final speech outline as indicated by practice feedback


Final speech outline.




For more information on this and other communication topics, please see Choices and Connections, Third Edition, by Joseph Ortiz and Steven McCornack, newly available at