Course Description and Objectives

ENG 216 is an advanced interdisciplinary writing course emphasizing major contemporary public issues. The course encourages practice in and study of the logic by which writers construct arguments; the various means that writers use to persuade an audience; and the conventions of evidence, claims, and argument in persuasive discourses. In consideration of the practice of persuasive writing for public purposes, this course will incorporate content and readings from the field of rhetorical studies in order to facilitate students’ abilities to construct persuasive discourse. In essence, we will be working from the perspective that a historical understanding of public discourse and critical awareness of contemporary issues will assist writers in creating persuasive discourses. While this course’s textbook draws from historical readings on rhetoric, students should expect to engage with contemporary issues and forums for discourse, including online social media, broadcast and print publications that feature public commentary, and genres such as live debate. Students are expected to bring issues to class discussions that are relevant to the assignments at hand or that the student deems relevant to understanding public persuasive discourses.

Course Goals

Throughout this course, students will:

  • Significantly improve their persuasive public writing;
  • Understand and effectively employ various forms of persuasion;
  • Understand and deploy effective rhetorical strategies in situated discourse;
  • Discover and evaluate the methods of persuasion used in the construction of a public issue;
  • Read critically and analyze rhetorically writings within public forums and use those lenses to frame their own discourses;
  • Write in the different forms and styles of a particular public discourse; and
  • Develop techniques for conducting research on the Internet and with other electronic databases.

Relevant Documents (PDF format):


Writing Project One: Argument of Local or Community Importance

Writing Project Two: Argumentation on the Internet

Writing Project Three: Collaborative Advocacy Project