EN1PW-Persuasive Writing

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites: A-Level English (A*, A or B) or equivalent
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Mary Morrissey

Email: m.e.morrissey@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:


This module develops students’ ability to write in a range of non-fictional genres of writing, such as letters, reports, reviews, newspaper and journal articles and online material, all of which have in common their practical purpose. We will concentrate on the composition of short pieces of writing in these forms while introducing students to themes associated with the study of formal rhetoric. We will engage with the long-running debate about the role of language in persuasion, for good or ill.

In this module, students analyse the grammatical tools and literary techniques that enable writers in non-fictional genres to persuade and inform their readers and/or listeners (while meeting their word limit). By asking students to consider the arguments and proofs used in newspaper and online reporting, and by asking them to create documents that engage in a debate of their choosing, we will encourage them to think more critically about the information on which we rely as citizens of a democracy.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
•write short documents with the clarity and elegance of style best suited to ‘persuasive writing’.
•recognise the techniques used in non-fictional writing, such as reviews, newspaper articles, reports, and oral presentations.
•think about the styles of writing that are used in a wide variety of careers (journalism, administration, marketing, public sector).
•consider the political and cultural uses of language, in oral or written forms.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have opportunities to focus on the use of language specific to a situation away from the university (in museums, political offices, charities and other public or private sector organisations) in an academic placement or a research project in the summer term. The exercises completed by students on this module will assist them with their career management by increasing awareness of the transferable nature of their writing skills.
Oral and written communication skills will be developed through the written exercises and final presentations. They will also enhance their IT competence through exercises built around presentation software such as Prezi.

Outline content:
Teaching in the autumn and spring terms will consist of fortnightly lectures alternating with fortnightly two-hour seminars. Each lecture will introduce the topic and explain the elements of writing style that best facilitate the purposes of the form of writing under discussion. The kinds of documents to be featured will include reviews, letters, reports, forms, speeches and public debates. The learning resources necessary for the completion of the formative and summative exercises will be provided on Blackboard. Seminar discussions will build on the students’ written exercises and encourage more thorough analysis of the task and of the students’ writing techniques.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures introduce the topic and set the exercise. Seminars allow for discussion and peer review of drafts of the exercise. Students then revise in the light of seminar discussions. Teaching in the summer term takes the form of a workshop and drop-in sessions. Time is allocated for individual tutorials to discuss progress in written work and to help with project work and presentations.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 10 10
Tutorials 1 1
Project Supervision 1 1 2
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 63 63 36
Total hours by term 80.00 80.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 65
Report 35

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark: The module is assessed 100% on a portfolio of written work produced over the three terms. Individual assessments will be given a provisional mark in term time, and the final mark for the module will be the aggregate of marks achieved on individual exercises. (All exercises will be submitted through Blackboard and Grademark will be used to calculate this mark.) Two exercises in autumn term will contribute towards the module mark; two in the spring term will be assessed. None of these exercise has a word limit of more than 1000 words, and most are between 300 and 500 words long. The summer term project or placement report contributes 35% to the module mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark: Students have up to four pieces of formative work over the module: none are more than 400 words long.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    1) Required text books: see 'Key readings' list

    Key Readings List:
    You can view a Key Readings list for this module here: http://readinglists.reading.ac.uk/lists/3D977636-E474-5528-28CA-4D27C45FA150
    N.B. Reading lists may change before the module starts.

    Last updated: 9 February 2018

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