21W.747 | Spring 2015 | Undergraduate


Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 21W.747 Rhetoric as it was taught by Professor Steven Strang in Spring 2015.

This course is an examination of the theory, the practice, and the implications of rhetoric and rhetorical criticism. Students study the forms and structures of argumentation, including the organization of ideas, awareness of audience, methods of persuasion, evidence, factual vs. emotional argument, figures of speech, and historical forms and uses of arguments.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Read and listen rhetorically (analyze messages directed at you, avoid being manipulated)
  • Think rhetorically (discover all possible means of persuasion, see persuasive possibilities, and evaluate those possibilities)
  • Write rhetorically (accommodate audiences, clarify your purposes & strategies for yourself and for your audience, be as persuasive as possible with the evidence you have, and use your rhetorical skills ethically so as not to persuade others with questionable tactics)

Curriculum Information



Requirements Satisfied

  • HASS-H
  • CI-H


Every fall and spring semester

Instructor Insights

"One of the ‘big insights’ of rhetoric has always been to know your audience and tailor your message to them. I have found that concrete examples are the best way to make theoretical and abstract ideas more real and understandable for just about any audience, and certainly for students. If I can make the example humorous, as well, then that’s all to the good since humor tends to be more memorable for many of us."
— Steven Strang

In the following pages, Professor Steven Strang describes various aspects of how he teaches 21W.747 Rhetoric.


Grade Breakdown

The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 50 % Essays 1, 2, and 3
  • 33% Framing essay and oral presentation
  • 17% Persuasive speech

Instructor Insights on Assessment

Prof. Strang shares the essay evaluation criteria in the syllabus.

Student Information


28 students

Breakdown by Year

Mostly undergraduates

Enrollment Cap

Limited to 18 students per section (There were two sections this semester.)

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In class

  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 25 sessions total.
  • During class sessions, students framed artifacts. During these exercises, they analyzed artifacts’ key components, illustrated rhetorical moves colleagues could use in their own writing, and made connections between texts.
  • Students each gave one persuasive speech.
  • Several class sessions were devoted to workshop sessions.

Out of Class

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2015
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments
Presentation Assignments
Instructor Insights