Below, you will find links to resources for courses I have taught, including an undergraduate-level online textbook on rhetorical theory and a general resource guide for rhetorical theory. The textbook is been created with an online teaching setting in mind, and presents a succinct overview of rhetorical theory that may be paired with an instructor’s preferred secondary readings. The resource guide offers a two-page digest of many of the resources offered here, as well as links to other academic syllabi that may be of interest for rhetoric instructors/students. The final section below offers handouts for common classes in the rhetoric curriculum, including public speaking and argumentation.

Textbook, Syllabi, Handouts, and Assignments

The UnTextbook of Rhetorical Theory

https://the-un-textbook.ghost.io This open-access resource for college-level rhetorical theory classes includes chapters on the ancient history of rhetoric, the twentieth-century invention of the symbol and the sign, an overview of ideology, narrative, argumentation, visual rhetoric and the rhetorical situation, and coverage of topics like settler colonialism, secrecy/surveillance, and digital rhetoric. The resource includes an agenda for …

General Resource Documents

Undergraduate-Level Rhetorical Theory (3x-level)

This is a large-lecture introductory survey course intended to familiarize students with basic principles in the Rhetoric area of Communication Studies. Units covered in this course include (1) what is rhetorical theory? (2) ‘origins’ of rhetorical theory, (3) propaganda and the common good, (4) the symbol, (5) the sign, (6) ideology (7) narrative (8) argumentation (9) visual rhetoric (10) the rhetorical situation (11) the settler situation (12) the secrecy situation (14) the digital situation. This resource is open-access although it requires an email sign-up. The accompanying documents include the course syllabus, the day-to-day agendas used in course meetings, and the guidelines for written assignments.

Secrecy, Surveillance and Rhetoric (4x and 5x-level)

This writing-intensive undergraduate course is dedicated to the rhetorical criticism of secrecy in public and political discourse. The class has been taught as undergraduate-only and undergraduate/graduate. The handouts below are from the (2015) undergraduate-only version of the course, while the reading list and syllabus were both used for the (2021) undergraduate/graduate version.

(Fall 2015) Handouts

Graduate-Level Rhetorical Theory (8x-level)

Teaching Handouts

Public Speaking 

This speaking-intensive (100-level) course is designed to familiarize undergraduate students with the Communication Studies major and basic strategies of public speaking. The course moves through four units: the speech of introduction, the informative speech, the persuasive speech, and the encomium. Students also practice strategies of satire, impromptu, and policy debate.  The course heavily employs a controversy-curriculum to provoke discussion and to provide contestable prompts for short in-class exercises. By the end of this class, students are especially familiar with basic formats for speech composition as well as techniques of anxiety management and actively engaging an audience. In addition to the four major speeches, students will also complete two exams and weekly reading quizzes.


This presentation- and writing-intensive (200-level) course is intended for Communication majors and non-majors that surveys the theory, practice, and use of argumentation. The course surveys basic theories of argumentation, key vocabulary and concepts of debate, and stages major assignments in the style of structured two-on-two debates. Additionally, the class is organized around readings that present unique principles of argumentation derived from cognitive and social psychology (heuristics/biases), behavioral economics (incentives/defaults), and public address scholarship. Throughout the semester, students are urged to debate topics related to education policy, local-area and university-wide controversies.