Spring 2003

(Tentative Syllabus—Check with instructor to confirm.)

Instructor: James L. Heflin, Ph.D.
Office: 112 Music Building
Office Phone: 581-2426
Office Hours: Posted on website


Larson, Charles U. Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility. New York: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2000.


A study of persuasive communication, including social, psychological, and rhetorical theories of human motivation; audience analysis, methods of adaptation; persuasive premises in advertising, social and political campaigns; and special emphasis on ethical responsibilities of the speaker, media, and listeners. Lecture. 3 hours credit.


At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify basic contemporary and historical concepts and theories of persuasion to apply to a variety of persuasive contexts.
  2. Select, research, and present a persuasive (10) minute speech on a question of policy.
  3. Use a variety of visual aids (models, posters, overhead projection, slides, and power point) in the persuasive speech and oral presentations.
  4. Use rhetorical criticism in evaluating various forms of persuasive messages within their historical contexts, i.e. speeches, films, songs, and advertisements.
  5. Identify and use the following persuasive concepts: source credibility, audience analysis, speech preparation, symbol making, psychological aspects of persuasion, ethics, language, and nonverbal communication.
  6. Understand and respond to cultural elements which influence the selection, development, and presentation of a persuasive message.


  1. Read textbooks and assigned readings--materials to be included on exams.
  2. Five (5) exams.
  3. One ten (10) minute persuasive speech. To be video taped for student’s portfolio.
  4. One questionnaire.

Exam 1-5 500 points 90 - 100 = A
Speech 300 points 80 - 89 = B
Questionnaire 200 points 70 - 79 = C
Total 1,000 points 60 - 60 = D
00- 59 = F


Please see schedule on instructor’s door. Because of my many responsibilities with the university this year, I ask that you help me by making an appointment to visit. Of course, I will see anyone when I am in my office.


Upon the 5th absence in T-Th classes ( unless an arrangement has been arranged in advance), the student will receive an “F” in the course. The student is asked to arrange any make-up work, exam, or missed assignment upon the first class meeting after returning to school.


The purpose of this course is to explore a diversity of persuasive theory and examples. The student is asked to be objective in the study, evaluation, and analysis of these diverse views. Each student’s position on a proposition or issue is his/her right. Students are encouraged to participate in class with respect to the materials being studied. An attitude of mutual respect between the instructor, the students, and any speakers is critical to optimize the learning experience. As a result, any students who create distractions during class by talking, eating, or being disrespectful to others will be required to leave the class, and will not be permitted to return to class unless I determine the student has adopted an appropriate attitude of mutual respect.

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