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The Power of Persuasive Writing

Words make the world go round – they help us persuade, inform, and communicate our thoughts and ideas and connect to each other. In ENG215, you’ll discover how to harness the power of your words through persuasive writing – from researching your topic, to understanding your audience, to crafting a convincing essay. Along the way, you’ll meet real people like you who have mastered the art of persuasion to change their lives. From a call-center employee who persuades executives to change company-wide policies, to a writer collecting funds for inner-city youth, to an African-American musician who convinces members of the KKK to hang up their robes – the power of persuasive words can, and does, work wonders.


Every course consists of 11 week-long lessons. In this course demo, several lessons with their full content are featured.

The Power of Persuasion

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.

The Secrets of Persuasion

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.

Get Informed Through Research

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.

Start Making Sense

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.

Make Your Audience Believe

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.

Make Your Audience Feel

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.”

Consider Other Perspectives

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.

Polish Your Approach – Revise

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.

Finishing Touches – Edit

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.

Were You Persuasive?

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.

Use Persuasion in Life and Work

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.

Assessment Overview

Assignments 1-4

Learners will apply the writing process to create a persuasive writing piece. This process includes selecting a topic, developing a position, drafting supporting points, developing a thesis statement, creating an outline, developing a rough draft, and finally a final draft.

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