Spring 2012 - Undergraduate Course Description
Bell, Lisa
Discipline and Number
COMM 4314 Section 001
TR Time 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Course Title

Description of Course:

Persuasion blends theoretical and practical perspectives to help you understand persuasive techniques as a means for influencing attitudes and actions in mediated, networked, and interpersonal settings. Throughout the course, we will look at a wide range of persuasive messages to analyze how and why they persuade audiences. More than just a toolbox of persuasive tricks, the course emphasizes three objectives:

• To develop a thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of persuasion
• To develop critical thinking and analytical skills about how messages persuade audiences
• To develop persuasive skills

The course structure consists of three units. First, the theoretical foundations of persuasion provides a basic understanding of terminology and develops a framework for understanding how theorists think about changing attitudes and actions. The second unit builds on that foundation to apply persuasive theories to individual messages, looking at different models of how persuasion works and at persuasive opportunities in different parts of the message (such as the source, the message, and the receiver). Finally, we expand our focus to examine how communicators can coordinate multiple messages in a social context through advertising and communication campaigns.

We use many examples from social media and online contexts because this course serves as a required elective for the Emerging Media and Communication major; however, the course requires no previous EMAC coursework.

Required Texts:

Perloff, Richard M., The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century, 4e. New York: Routledge, 2010.

ISBN 978-0-415-80568-1

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Two exams
Analytical paper
Persuasion in Action/Persuasion Praxis minor assignments
Participation in class discussion and activities

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