The Power of Persuasive Writing

Through the power of story, we create an unmatched learning experience to fully engage our students in the art, joy, and purpose of persuasive writing.

Students will learn from several people who have used persuasive writing to win. These writers will tell their stories and also share insights into how they approached the art and science of writing.

In the process, we’ll show our students what they really want to know: How to write to achieve maximum impact and cause positive change – for themselves, their communities, and the world.

Course Outcomes

  • Identify persuasive strategies (audience appeals) in various communications
  • Apply the research process to build knowledge and sources for the topic
  • Write persuasively for a specific situation, purpose, and audience
  • Apply the writing process to develop an effective, polished written communication
  • Apply persuasive strategies (audience appeals) to develop a strong persuasive position
  • Reflect and apply feedback from instructor to improve writing and persuasiveness

Media Assets

  • Features 15 Video Stories

Persuasive writing is a powerful skill that you can use in many situations. You can use it at work, school, and in life to create change or influence others. English 215 will guide you through persuasive writing–from researching your topic, to understanding your audience, to crafting a convincing essay. By the end of this course, you will be able to use persuasive writing to change hearts, minds, and maybe even the world.

The secrets to successful persuasion can be traced back to Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher. They are just as powerful for today’s audiences as they were in ancient times.

You’ve chosen a topic you care about, and you probably have a good idea of what your position will be. To have a strong position that you can defend, you will need to dig in and learn everything you can about your topic. That means doing research.

The earth is round – we all know this to be true because we have logic and science to back it up. The ancient Greeks were some of the first people to use logic to back up their arguments.

You must gain your audience’s trust if you want them to listen to what you have to say. This is done through an appeal to ethos – ethos is the Greek word for character.

Have you ever had a gut-reaction to a news story based purely on how you feel about the topic? Our emotions can be a powerful tool in writing too. “Pathos” is the Greek word for “passion” or “emotion.”

You have already learned the best ways to appeal to your audience. This week you’ll dig into counter perspectives and learn what to do when the audience’s beliefs contradict your own.

You’ve come a long way from a simple idea, having made it to the rough draft of your persuasive essay. Now that you can see how all of your thoughts are connecting in your paper, you may need to rearrange and refine your appeals to credibility, logic, and emotion to sharpen your persuasive approach.

Have you ever read something that had several obvious errors? How did it make you feel about the writer? Mistakes cause the reader to question the credibility of the author and the entire message.

You’ve learned a lot about the importance of persuasive writing and have seen how powerful your voice can be. This week you will reflect on the skills you’ve gained in this course, and explore how you can use your new persuasive powers to make positive changes in your life.

Now that you know the secrets of persuasive writing, you can begin to use them to successfully persuade others in your all aspects of your life. You can create and pitch a new idea, recommend a policy change at work, develop marketing materials for a product, win new customers and clients, or even sell your skills and abilities to a potential employer.

An in-depth look at this course is available! View Course Demo >