Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher & Adult Education

Committee Chair

Wendy Griswold

Committee Member

Kristin Mumiukha

Committee Member

Jeffery Wilson

Committee Member

Donna Menke


This experimental study reviewed the efficacy of a new classroom tool known as the Showcase Assignment. This assignment reduces public speaking anxiety in the public speaking classroom. This assignment asked students to pick a talent (poetry reading, singing, etc.) that is important to them in some way, give a brief description of what their talent is, disclose its importance to them, and perform it in front of the class. This study was based on literature related to communication apprehension, experiential learning and self-disclosure theories, and classroom environment. This study used pre-test post-test survey methodology of 179 students, split into treatment and control groups, enrolled in speech courses at two mid-sized universities in the Southern United States to answer five research questions: (1) How does the implementation of the Showcase Assignment affect public speaking anxiety as it relates to speech classrooms? (2) How does the Showcase Assignment impact grades on speaking assignments compared to those that are not exposed? (3) How do students describe the Showcase Assignment in relation to a supportive classroom environment? (4) How do students describe the Showcase Assignment in relation to creative learning? (5) How do perceived instructor personality and implementation of the Showcase Assignment compare to the students perception of instructor personality and implementation of the Showcase Assignment? The study found that the Showcase Assignment did not have a significant impact on students self-reports of anxiety overall but, the instructor teaching the Showcase Assignment did impact those reports. The Showcase Assignment did improve students observed anxiety levels, meaning that students in the experiment group appeared more confident when speaking. The assignment also showed an improvement in student grades on speaking assignments. The study found that students reported positive feedback concerning the Showcase Assignment including its benefits in creating a supportive classroom environment and in enhancing creativity skills to help with other speech class presentations. Finally, the study showed that positive instructor personality and implementation of the Showcase Assignment will result in positive student feedback.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.