Daniel Cantrell
Daniel Cantrell
Professor of Communication & Forensics Coach
Office: 26D-1441 (forensics room)
Phone: (909) 274-6310
Email: dcantrell3@mtsac.edu
Homepage: https://faculty.mtsac.edu/dcantrell3

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  • Spring 2016

SPCH 20H / Argumentation and Debate - Honors / Spring 2016

Professor Danny Cantrell
Office:  26D-1441 / Office Hours:     MW 2:15-3:15pm, T 11:30am-1:30pm



Swift, Crystal Lane, and Danny Cantrell. The Fire Within. Walnut, CA: Day & Nite, 2013. Print. (Available at Day & Nite copy center)


*** There will be additional readings assigned from communication journals, other debate textbook chapters. These will be distributed in class. If you are absent when the reading is assigned please email me or come to office hours to pick up the material before the next class. ***



For this course you will need access to a computer and printer. There will also be some copy costs.



Rhetorical principles of argumentation in both theory and practice. Emphasis is given to rational discussion and reasoned advocacy.



Upon completion of this course you will be able to:


1. Recognize the difference between propositions of fact, value and policy.
2. Describe common theoretical frameworks for arguments.
3. Describe formats and rules of collegiate debate styles.
4. Analyze the elements of delivered arguments.
5. Apply the stock issues of policy propositions.
6. Research and evaluate source information to be used in arguments.
7. Integrate and evaluate various types of evidence in arguments.
8. Construct and deliver affirmative and negative arguments.
9. Develop strategies for identifying weaknesses in arguments and refuting them.



This course supports the following student learning outcomes: 

1. Students will become more argumentative.

2. Students will become less verbally aggressive.

3. Students will critique an argument.

4. Students will perform for a live audience.

5. Students will feel more confident.

6. Students will be able to use electronic resources to conduct research.


“Mt. San Antonio College provides opportunities for the pursuit of excellence for all students and through its educational services…The college will provide open access to a college education and all support services without regard to sex, race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, marital status, physical or mental disability (including HIV and AIDS), sexual orientation, or Vietnam Era Veteran Status”



This campus will provide reasonable accommodations for students who face unique physical, learning, and emotional challenges.  If you have special conditions as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and need accommodations, please inform me within the first two weeks of the semester.  There are eligibility requirements for some of the programs offered.  Please visit Disabled Student Programs and services or call ext. 4290.  It is your responsibility to work with DSP&S to make arrangements for special accommodations in this class.





Our Communication Department sees a strong correlation between consistent attendance and student retention and achievement. Because speech communication involves listening, evaluating, and writing as well as speaking, you are expected to attend ALL class meetings.  Roll will be taken each day and each student will be assigned a participation grade relating to the value that they add to the learning environment each class. Students will receive participation points for activities like answering questions, adding value to in class discussion, participating in group activities, etc.  You are not able to make up participation points due to an absence as they occur during each specific class meeting. If an assignment or speech is missed during an absence, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor when a documented excused absence is going to occur and arrange any make up work due. Documentation is required for excused absences.



Cheating/ plagiarism (representing somebody else’s words or ideas as one’s own) of any kind will not be tolerated and will earn you an “F” on the assignment in question or an “F” for the entire course depending on the seriousness of the offense. Cases of plagiarism may be reported to the Department Chair and/or the Dean of Students.


The term “cheating” includes but is not limited to

  • Plagiarism
  • Receiving or knowingly supplying unauthorized information
  • Using unauthorized material or sources
  • Changing an answer after work has been graded and presenting it as improperly graded
  • Illegally accessing confidential information through a computer
  • Taking an examination for another student or having another student take an examination for you
  • Forging or altering registration or grade documents



Please keep in mind that a college classroom is a professional learning environment in which mutual respect amongst students and between students and the professor is expected.  For a detailed description of Mt. San Antonio College’s Code of Conduct, please see the college catalog.  Here are some examples of disruptive behavior listed in your catalog:  obstruction or disruption of the educational process; willful disobedience and/or the open persistent defiance of authority; verbal or physical threats to students, faculty, or staff; excessive talking in class; turned on pagers and cell phones; passing notes in class; excessive lateness; sleeping in class; and poor personal hygiene.

Remember, we all want a comfortable, respectful atmosphere for optional learning and success.  In addition, here are a few more rules and policies for my class:

  • Absolutely no liquor, firearms, weapons, explosives or animals.
  • All assignments turned in for credit must be typed.
  • E-mailed work will not be accepted.
  • You must give your speech on the day that is assigned.  Unless you have a documented, excused absence, NO SPEECHES WILL BE GIVEN AFTER THE DESIGNATED SPEECH DAYS!
  • All written work must be typed in order to receive credit.
  • No laptops are allowed (unless specifically requested by DSPS).
  • No late work is accepted!  Plan ahead!
  • Exams will be a combination of True and False, Multiple Choice, and/or Essay.  No scantrons are required. Students may leave the room only after completion of an exam.  No headphones, iPods etc are allowed.
  • Some extra credit may be offered…stay tuned.




  • All cell-phones, tablets, etc. must be silenced (not on vibrate) prior to the beginning of class and be put away, out of sight.   If a cell phone goes off, I will ask you to leave.  You will then receive an unexcused absence for that day.
  • Also, please do not text-message in class.  If you do, you will be asked to leave and receive an unexcused absence as well. It is best make sure phones are out of sight so that you don’t even give the appearance that you are texting.  
  • If you have an emergency please step outside to take a call or text.
  • Just say no.


If this is a deal breaker, there are no hard feelings.

But PLEASE drop this class today to allow someone else to take your seat.


Course Requirements:


1.         Exams: One exam will be given that cover the readings, class lectures, class discussion, and in-class exercises. The exam may include multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and/or essay questions.  Exams are expected to be completed at scheduled dates.  Arrangements should be made by students to take an alternative essay exam early if they cannot attend class the day it is assigned.  Exams may not be made up after the exam date if arrangements are not made ahead of time.


2.         Communication Exercises/Skills/Journals/Homework: Individuals cannot improve their communication skills unless they practice new skills and receive feedback on their performance. Therefore, all students must participate in skill practice sessions in class and demonstrate an attempt to master the skills being presented.  Because of time restrictions, in-class skill cannot be made up. Since a large part of this class involves practicing communication skills, it is important that you attend and participate in class exercises.  Participation points will be awarded on the basis of participating in a variety of in-class exercises, journals, skill builders, and discussion.


3.         Papers: Each student is required to complete two argumentation and debate papers. Each paper should be typed, double spaced, and proofread. Handouts will be given in class to further clarify the papers.  Points will be deducted for spelling and grammar errors that make understanding of the paper difficult.

4.         Debates: Each student is required to participate in four debates.  These debates vary in format.  There will be ample opportunity to practice parts of the debate and prepare ahead of time for the topics. The debates will be discussed more in-depth later in the semester.


 There are a total of 1000 points possible in the course.  The point breakdown is as follows:



Possible Points

Your Points

Class Participation






Quiz #1



Paper #1



Debate #1 (IPDA)



Debate #2 (NPDA)



Debate #3 (NFA-LD)



Debate #4 (Political)



Final Paper



Extra Credit







Final Grade











Below 600

Note about grading: 

I do not change grades unless I have made a mathematical error.  I am happy to talk with you about how you can enhance your performance, but I will not argue with you about a grade I have given.  Any discussion of grades will be held privately between the individual student and the instructor; class time will not be used as a forum to address these concerns.  Furthermore, the point total that you receive at the end of the semester is your final grade. I do not bump up students 1 or 2 points to the next grade.  Please take advantage of extra credit opportunities.


 Course Schedule*





Introduction to Course & Syllabus Review



Welcome to Argumentation & Debate

READ: Chapter 1

DUE: HW #1


Critical Thinking




DUE: HW #2 


Arguments, Fallacies, Evidence & Research

READ: Chapter 2

3/9 *

Quiz #1 (Chapters 1,2 & in-class)



Academic Debating / Student Congress

READ: Chapter 3


Student Congress Debates

DUE: HW #3


Intro to IPDA (Fact Debate)



IPDA Practice Debates

DUE: Case Brief #1


IPDA Debates, Day 1

 DUE: Case Brief #2


IPDA Debates, Day 2

 Due: Case Brief #3

4/4 *



4/6 *




Intro to NPDA (Value Debates)

DUE: Paper #1

READ: Chapter 4B


NPDA, Day 2



NPDA Practice Day

DUE: Case Brief #4


NPDA Debates, Day 1

DUE: Case Brief #5


NPDA Debates, Day 2

DUE: Case Brief #6


Intro to NFA-LD (Policy Debates)



NFA-LD, day 2



Practice NFA-LD Debate



NFA-LD Debate, Day 1

 Due: Affirmative Case & Neg Disadvantage


NFA-LD Debate, Day 2



Advanced Argumentation / Paper #2 Info



Political Debating



Political Debates, Day 1



Political Debates, Day 2



No Class - Memorial Day



Political Debate (public event!)



Stand and Defend Final Paper

DUE: Final Paper

*Schedule subject to change.

Special Dates:

Wednesday, March 9 - State Championship (sub/cancel)

Monday & Wednesday, April 4-6 - National Championship (sub/cancel)

Friday, May 13 - Inter-mural Debate Tournament (10am-3pm)

Wednesday, June 1 - Public Debate on Primary election (selected students)


Last Updated: 6/3/19
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