Focus, General Education at UHM
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Oral Communication Focus

Proposal Forms Hallmarks Teacher Resources Requirement Assessment

O Focus sections are designated every semester based on the course/instructor information found in Banner/MyUH.

Faculty members with current, active approvals do not need to submit a proposal form. As long as they are listed as the section's instructor of record in MyUH before continuing student registration begins, their approved Focus designation(s) will be added to their section(s).

Faculty members who do not have active Focus approval for their course (or whose approval has expired) should submit a "Focus form" to request a Focus designation for their section(s).

Department Chairs may submit a "STAFF" form if the faculty member is unknown, or a "COURSE-based" form if the department wishes to designate all sections of a course every semester.

Click here for all Focus proposal forms


Hallmarks of Oral Communication Classes

The faculty on the Oral Communication Focus Board use these Hallmarks when evaluating proposals for the "O" designation.

O1. Each student will conduct or participate in a minimum of three oral communication assignments or a comparable amount of oral communication activity during the class. In addition, at least 40% of the final grade for a 3-credit course will be a function of the student's oral communication activities (30% for a 4-credit course; 60% for a 2-credit course; 100% for a 1-credit course).
O2. Each student will receive explicit training, in the context of the class, in oral communication concerns relevant to the assignment or activity.
O3. Each student will receive specific feedback, critiquing, and grading of the oral communication assignments or activities from the instructor.
O4. If instructor feedback primarily involves individual or paired students, enrollment will be limited to 20 students. If instructor feedback primarily involves groups of students, enrollment will be limited to 30 students.
O5. The course will be numbered at the 300- or 400-level.

Rationale for the requirement and explanatory notes

Establishing a Need for Oral Communication Intensive Classes

There is no shortage of arguments addressing the need for UHM students to be provided with the opportunity to improve their oral communication knowledge and skills. To see some arguments, click here.

Forms/types of Oral Communication assignments

It is assumed that O classes will develop assignments responsive to student needs and to the professional demands the students will face. Consequently a variety of assignments can be designed to satisfy the O requirement, which must be viewed and evaluated by the instructor.

  • Individual creative/aesthetic performances (e.g., storytelling, performance of literature, interpretations and readings)
  • Group presentations-- incorporating individual presentations
  • Facilitating/Participating in group discussions and community gatherings
  • Chapter/Section presentations to class
  • Individual presentations/Speeches-- formal/informal
  • Panel discussions
  • Engaging in outreach activities that incorporate oral communication skills (e.g., community teaching, coaching, presenting)
  • Various forms of interviews/interrogations
  • Press conference
  • Various persuasion/influence appeals (e.g., sales presentations, solicitations, motivational presentations)
  • Debates (individual and team)
  • Oral critiques of and responses to others' performance, presentations


Teacher Resources

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Requirements for Students

Most students are required to take one O Focus course. However, some transfer students may have adjusted ("prorated") Focus requirements if they transfer credits from a non-UH System institution. The adjustment is based on the number of non-UH System transfer credit hours accepted when a student is admitted to UH Manoa. Non-UH System credits completed while an active UH Manoa student are not included in proration (summer courses, Study Abroad, National Student Exchange, etc.).

  Focus Requirement
Number of accepted non-UH credits hours: W H E O
0-36 5* 1 1 1
37-54 4* 1 1 1
55-88 3* 1 1-E or 1-O
89+ 2* 1 0 0

*At least two W courses must be numbered at the 300- or 400- level.

Focus Requirements for UH System Transfer Students

Students who enter the UH System in Fall 2011 and thereafter must meet all of the Focus requirements. Students who entered the UH System from Spring 2005 through Spring 2011 must meet requirements given in the following table. Students who entered UH prior to Spring 2005 should check with a UH Manoa college/school advisor to determine their Focus requirements. Depending on the number of UH transfer credit hours accepted, E and O requirements for transfer students may be reduced. The W and H requirements are not affected, since students may transfer approved UH System courses to help them satisfy the W and H Focus requirements.

  Focus Requirement
Number of accepted UH credits hours: W* H E O
0-54 5* 1 1 1
55-88 5* 1 1-E or 1-O
89+ 5* 1 0 0

*At least two W courses must be at the 300- or 400- level.



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Last updated November 19, 2015

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