Final- What is good writing?

I can say that I was very nervous to take this course, “Rhetoric and Academic Writing”.  I tend to struggle in writing and wouldn’t consider it a strong suit of mine.  After taking a three year break from college, I think this course was a great introductory, back to school, class for me.  Each assignment given prepared me for the next.  In this course you will learn proper MLA format and citing your evidence.  You will be able to understand the meaning of rhetoric writing, academic writing, and discourse community.  You will learn effective ways of writing by means of persuasion with ethos, pathos, and logos.  And most importantly, the definition of good writing.


What is good writing?  Is your paper clear and interesting for your audience?  Ideas should be presented clearly and logically keeping the audience in mind with the appropriate writing technique.  Have you provided enough evidence to support your argument?  With every point made, you should provide a reputable source to support the argument.  If you aren’t comfortable or don’t remember how to cite your work in MLA format, this course will be a great refresher.


This class will guide you and help to fully understand the meaning of rhetorical writing.  In this class I did things that I have never done before like making an instructional video, which was surprisingly fun.  Not only did I conquer my fear of being on camera, but I also learned how to edit videos! Since making the video, I have started filming my daily experiences such as mountain biking, just so I can go back and edit them and have something cool to look back on.  The assignment given was to make an instructional video of your choice and demonstrate the concept of a rhetorical situation.   I highly recommend watching this video on how to make a better video,


Here is the video I created.


Means of persuasion.  You will learn how to use and define ethos, logos, and pathos and what role they play in rhetoric writing.  These all can contribute to great writing and will help you create a successful argument.


Ethos:  The credibility of the author; what type of expertise do they have on the subject and why you would trust their argument.  As an example from my academic writing assignment, “Man’s Search For Meaning: The Case of Legos they provide a professional background on the authors at the very beginning of the academic study by showing the schools attended for each author.  By using ethos, the authors have now gained the attention from their readers by stating their reputable background and enticing them to continue reading.”


Pathos:  The use of emotion to persuade the reader’s.  From our “public argument” essay, we were given the choice of a controversial argument to demonstrate how ethos, pathos, and logos can persuade your audience.  From my essay “Marriage Equality” I used an example of pathos, “He hopes that in the future, an increasing number of Christians will read the scriptures regarding homosexuality as all Christians today read the Bible’s passages on slavery.  Sermons being preached today about the illegitimate rights of homosexuals will be thought of by future generations with the same shame and regret which today’s generation feels toward the pro-slavery sermons of the past (Hamilton 2013). This is an emotional and relatable use of pathos, demonstrating the parallel between how slavery was once considered acceptable and the condemnation of homosexuals.”


Logos:  To persuade logically or with facts.  To support your argument with a factual statement or quote such as in my essay for “marriage equality,” the writer from the article I was quoting, supported his evidence from the bible.  “Steve Beard challenges Hamilton’s argument with a very thorough and logical rhetorical style.  He refutes Hamilton’s slavery comparison on the grounds that “the Bible never commands the practice of slavery, but regulates (in the Old Testament) a practice that was already embedded in the culture.”  He uses the example of Moses telling Pharaoh, “let my people go!”(Beard 2013).”


Discourse Community.  Defined by Linguist John Swales is, “groups that have goals or purposes, and use communication to achieve these goals.”  We were given a fun assignment to share an example of our personal discourse community. For this assignment I chose to write about mountain biking for beginners.  I created an outline for the most important steps needed to be a successful and safe rider.  It’s great to write about something you are very passionate about and that’s what this course offers.


Rhetoric writing is not just about text on a paper.  You can expand your argument with video or images.  One of my favorite assignments was to create a visual argument.  For this I created and edited a photo (as best as I know how) to demonstrate how second hand smoke affects our pets too.  When people think about smoking and whom they are affecting, we often think of children first.  I have never seen an ad for our pets so I created one.  Here is a link to my visual argument.


Overall this course has been extremely helpful to prepare for future classes.  I recommend allowing plenty of time for editing.  Create outlines and rough drafts for  the important points and then piece them together for your essay.  Lastly, edit your work and read it out loud.  “Every good writing has a good editor” (Handley).

2 Responses to Final- What is good writing?

  • Lixinting2012 says:

    You should not have any worries about your writing abilities. You have written superb pieces of writing throughout this course. Your sentences flow and you have great information. In your final, you provide definitions of the terms and cite examples. You have included links. You did a terrific job and to me, it’s an A paper!
    Well done!

  • richardcolby says:

    You have captured a great deal of the course in your post, and front-loaded it with your argument about what good writing is. Although you do a great job in showing evidence from the course to demonstrate the course concepts, I would have liked a bit more in your argument that audience influences these concepts (what is logical to some isn’t logical to others). It’s part of the motivation of thinking about discourse communities and academic writing at the end, to reflect back. I appreciated how you designed the document here and made it easy to follow for your audience, and used links to the videos, so great job taking advantage of the medium. Overall, this captures the course for new students, and it shows a good application of the course concepts.

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