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Page history last edited by Jared 9 years, 6 months ago


On Persuasive and Usable Emails:


The discussion of 'persuasion' falls under the domain of 'rhetoric' (the study and art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing) and an introductory course on rhetoric will use Aristotle's three appeals or "three modes of persuasion" to discuss why something works to persuade/influence an audience.


Ethos: meaning the appeal of the 'character' of someone or someplace or something...

  • This was something all of you constructed in your email to convey your good character (your integrity, your ethics, your work ethic, your values, your skill-set as a student) which you bring to the course.  Most of you conveyed this by relating some recent experiences that shaped your character and strengthened your credibility


Pathos: meaning the appeal to the emotions of a reader or audience...

  • This was something many you constructed in your email to sway me to emotionally connect with you in some way  -- most often by (1) persuading me to sympathize with your need to take this class to graduate and your need to improve in this area to succeed, as well as (2) persuading me by appealing to my sense of enjoyment by discussing how you will be a pleasure to work with in some way.


Logos:  meaning the appeals cast by types of logical reasoning... 

  • This was persuasive to me when the emails followed the logical format from Anderson's example, and when you conveyed (1) strong claims or premises about why you need or value our course of study, (2) strong reasons in support of these claims/premises, and (3) clear language in terms of your mechanics and diction.


These emails are 'usable' in two key ways:

  1. They introduce us to some fundamental aspects of technical writing:
    1. i.e. formats vary, but they are not like other 'college essays' in that they will hinge on basic design principles including use of white space, headings, bullet points, etc.
    2. They are reader centered...
  2. They introduce us as class-mates and co-workers (especially as you will include this email on your personal page later today) 


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