AP/MODR1770 6.0 F: Techniques of Persuasion

Offered by: MODR


Fall 2019






Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite

This is a skills-based course focusing on critical thinking, persuasive writing, and strategic argumentation. Examples are drawn from various forms of persuasion including advertising, propaganda and political argument. Course credit exclusions: AP/MODR 1730 6.00, AP/MODR 1760 6.00. Note: This is an approved LA&PS General Education course: Humanities OR Social Science.

Course Website

Many courses utilize Moodle, York University's course website system. If your course is using Moodle, refer to the image below to access it.

    Additional Course Instructor/Contact Details

Hilary E. Davis


Office Location:  S446 Ross Building

Phone Number:  (416) 736-2100 Ext. 77543

Office hours: Monday & Tuesday (1:00-2:00pm)

    Expanded Course Description
  • The overall purpose of this and all Modes of Reasoning (MODR) courses is to teach students to reason correctly and to express themselves clearly and precisely in verbal and written form. These critical thinking skills will help students not only with the remainder of their academic studies, but also in their professional and personal lives in general.
  • This course (MODR 1770) will introduce important critical thinking and analytical skills by focusing on a rhetoric, arguments, and other techniques of persuasion including political satire, propaganda, and advertising. Attention will be given to both written and visual arguments and the rhetorical appeals of logos, pathos, ethos, and kairos.  As teams and as individuals you will be asked to develop arguments that arise from your personal interests and opinions as well as criticize arguments that assess the writing of others.  Throughout the course we will analyze various media such as the news and popular press, feature films, advertising and political rhetoric, blogs and websites, as well as academic writing and philosophical arguments in this field.
  • Although this course focuses primarily on the development of practical critical thinking skills it will also provide brief introduction to Aristotle's views on rhetoric.
  • This is an approved LAPS General Education course for Humanities OR Social Science.
    Weighting of Course

Grading Breakdown:

Argument Basics Test                                                                                                      = 25%

Rogerian Argument Essay                                                                                                = 20%

Rhetorical Analysis Assignment                                                                                      = 20%

Final Classical Argument essay                                                                                        = 25%

In-class teamwork and participation (every class)                                                       = 10%

                   Total                                                                                                               100%

Please note that this schedule of deadlines and grading breakdown is non-negotiable.  The value of assignments will under no circumstances be reweighed or redistributed.

    Organization of the Course

This course meets once a week for 3 hours.  Classes will focus on developing critical skills in identifying, evaluating and constructing arguments about morality and values and putting those skills into practice.  The class will combine lecture, team work exercises and assignments, presentations, and large discussions with the entire class.

    Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, if you apply yourself  and do all the reading,  complete all assignments, attend all lectures, and actively participate in all teamwork, you can expect to see improvement in the following areas:


  • Reading Comprehension: You will become a more active reader which includes learning how to read between the lines and how to ask critical questions.


  • Writing: You will learn how to write three different types of arguments – definitional essay, researched proposal essay, and evaluative critique.  Your essay planning, essay organization, and essay editing should also improve.


  • Oral Skills: You will learn how to present ideas clearly and coherently in small groups and a larger classroom setting.  You will get practice in engaging in civil discourse with your classmates and learn how to discuss controversial issues with respect and confidence.  Teamwork during class will also help you learn how to collaborate and become a better listener.

    Critical Thinking Skills: Ideally, you will learn to become a 'reasonable skeptic' and able to identify and discuss the weaknesses and strengths in claims and arguments you encounter in the media, academic texts, and everyday conversation.

    Additional Information / Notes

To succeed in this class you must attend regularly and arrived prepared.  This means having done the reading and any assigned homework.  Your textbook should be brought to each class and all notes and homework.  Organized notes are also essential as well as a willingness to participate in group work and larger class discussions.  Attentiveness in class is also a must.  The use of electronic devices (even laptops for note-taking) is strongly discouraged during lectures.

    Relevant Links / Resources