Week 6: Rhetorical Approaches to Problem-Solving

Chart showing modes of persuasion. Ethos, Pathos, and LogosHello, class.  One of the things I noticed last semester in teaching this course was that several students struggled to understand the rhetorical situation of the first case, causing them to write documents that failed meet the needs of the stakeholders described in the prompt. So while my previous students’ documents were carefully edited and conformed to the conventions of the genre, they didn’t quite grasp the purpose, audience, and context that called for the documents to be written. Also, they didn’t carefully think through the use of persuasion for each audience. This resulted in the use of weak evidence, particularly in the research report.

To address these issues and help you produce more effective drafts, I’m having you work again with the contextualizing questions, this time on page 7, to carefully consider the modes of persuasion that you can leverage for Case 1. Think through how you will establish your credibility as a writer, how you will use emotional appeals to help your audience understand the impacts of the options you put forth, and how you will create reasoned arguments that will speak to different stakeholders at Marauder Skate, Inc.

Over the next few days, I’ll be responding to your design plans from last week to guide your thinking as you move from pre-writing to drafting in Case 1. Please note that this week, you’ll continue pre-writing by addressing the contextualizing questions and conducting your research, and then you’ll produce a draft for Case 1 by Saturday at midnight. This is an important deadline; if you miss it, you may not be able to get peer review feedback next week.

Learning Unit 2: Rhetorical Approaches to Problem-Solving

For this week (Feb.12-Feb. 18), complete the following activities:

  1. Read pages 5-8 in Writing in Professional Contexts.
  2. By Wednesday, February 15, apply the contextualizing questions from p. 7 (which are adapted below) to the Marauder Skate, Inc. case study. Create a post on the G+ community using the hashtag #persuasion that answers the following :
    1. In the Marauder Skate, Inc. case study, how are you establishing credibility (or ethos)? What types of information will company owners privilege? How about employees? What types of expertise will you need to display for each of these two audiences?
    2. What emotions (pathos) are appropriate for company owners? For employees? How will you depict these emotions in a compelling way?
    3. What types of logical reasoning (logos) do you need to make use of in this situation? What kinds of claims do you need to make for company owners? For employees? What kinds of evidence are appropriate for each audience?
    4. What types of specific images can you use that will be persuasive to company owners? To employees?
  3. By Wednesday, February 15, you should also share links to three sources in the G+ community (three separate posts) that have been helpful to you in your research for Case 1. Give a brief summary of each and explain how the source is helping you to understand the ethical, legal, and financial impacts of moving physical store-fronts to online marketplaces. Use the hashtag #c1resources.
  4. By Saturday at midnight, you should post completed drafts of both Case 1 documents, the report to Marauder Skate, Inc. owners and letter to Marauder Skate, Inc. employees, to G+ using the hashtag #c1draft. Compose both of these in one Google Doc and use a page break between documents. Make sure that your permissions are set to “anyone with link can comment.”

Week Three Learning Goals

  • Use a case simulation to practice BPC
  • Use Modes of Persuasion to approach BPC problem-solving rhetorically
  • Use and share credible sources to investigate the ethical, legal, and financial impacts of moving physical store-fronts to online marketplaces
  • Use a process approach to writing to produce first drafts for case simulations
  • Continue participating actively in an online learning community, in both synchronous and asynchronous events
  • Take on leadership roles (Group 1)  in the online community, hosting a Twitter Chat


Unit 2 Group Leaders, Allison D, Joseph B, Guy P, Taylor P, and Chris T., will host the Twitter Chat this week which is scheduled for Thursday, February 16 at 7pm EST. They will ask a set of questions about the rhetorical situation and modes of persuasion in Unit 2, about your research and resources for Case 1, about genre expectations for the letter and the research report, and about drafting Case 1. Please plan to participate at the hashtag #engl3880.

As you prepare for the Twitter chat, some of you might want to use Tweetchat to help you better manage the conversation. Tweetchat allows you to enter the hashtag (#engl3880) and follow and participate in just that hashtag. When you post, you don’t have to continue typing the hashtag in as it will be automatically added. In addition, Tweetchat allows you to buffer the tweet stream, speeding up your reading or slowing it down, whichever you prefer. It lets you know which tweets you’ve read and responded to and which are new as well. There are other chat apps that you can use as well, but I think Tweetchat is one of the easiest and most reliable.

As always, let me know if you have any questions about this week’s work and good luck in your research and drafting!


Instructor West-Puckett



I am an assistant professor of Writing and Rhetoric and director of First Year Writing at the University of Rhode Island. I received my PhD in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication from East Carolina University. My dissertation research analyzes the knowledge-making practices of composers in both online and off-line maker spaces, and my digital writing research has appeared in journals like College English and Education Science and in the books The Next Digital Scholar: A Fresh Approach to the Common Core State Standards in Research and Writing and Assessing Students Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely.

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