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Composing for Public Audiences: Writing, Rhetoric, and Research is a Course

Composing for Public Audiences: Writing, Rhetoric, and Research

Ended Jul 21, 2018

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Full course description

Course Date:

Jun 10 - Jul 21, 2018


6 weeks


7+ hrs/week


See below.

Course Type:





This course develops and refines participants’ skills in composing, rhetorical analysis, and research. The course emphasizes persuasive and researched writing, peer review, and composing in various forms and media. In addition, participants will build upon and improve their mastery of writing in different genres, with and from sources, and for diverse audiences. They will also refine their ability to synthesize information; create arguments about a variety of discursive, visual, and/or cultural artifacts; and become more proficient with and sophisticated in their research strategies and employment of the conventions of public discourses.

A guided six-week course, Composing for Public Audiences provides a defined schedule with specific due dates and is well suited to individuals who work best in a more organized context and desire more structured opportunities for collaboration and conversation with others completing course assignments on a pre-determined calendar. The course is led by a team of faculty and a graduate student specializing in writing and digital media studies along with a reference librarian available to participants as they complete the course. Participants may anticipate spending between 8-12 hours per unit completing the course.


Learning outcomes for Composing for Public Audiences include the following:

  • Participants will—through critical analysis, discussion, peer review, and composing in multiple modalities—demonstrate the ability to express ideas effectively for particular audiences and purposes.
  • Participants will access and use information critically and analytically, incorporating that information productively into their compositions.
  • Participants will apply their growing knowledge of rhetoric—including visual rhetoric—and research-based writing to meet the challenges of composing genres intended for public audiences.

Requirements: Individuals interested in refining their writing skills to appeal to, influence, or inform public audiences may benefit from this course. If you have had some high school, secondary school, or college writing instruction in the past, you will likely find Composing for Public Audiences accessible.

The course emphasizes developing your understanding of the ways that rhetorical concepts and digital media shape and are shaped by reading, writing, and research processes. However, you do not need extensive knowledge of rhetoric, digital composing practices, or technologies to succeed in and enjoy the course.


Will I receive a certificate for completing this course?

At the current time, we do not offer a certificate or any formal acknowledgement for completing this course.

Will I have the opportunity to share my class writing with a public audience?

We encourage you to share your writing with a variety of audiences while you are taking this course. In addition to sharing your writing with other writers enrolled in the class, we have created a series of Level Up Challenges—ungraded opportunities where you might share your writing with readers outside of this class. The Level Up Challenges are completely optional, but many students look forward to engaging with audiences in a variety of contexts.

How will the faculty be involved in this class?

The instructors in this class, who are faculty members in the internationally recognized Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy program at The Ohio State University, have collaborated in developing this course. You will definitely see us in the materials for the class, particularly the videos that provide instruction for each unit. We will also participate in the course discussion forums, and we plan to hold live forums where students can ask question about the course and its assignments.

Course is offered by The Ohio State University.

Course Instructors

Scott DeWitt

Scott Lloyd DeWitt

Associate Professor

Scott Lloyd DeWitt is associate professor of English at Ohio State University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in writing and digital media. He is author of Writing Inventions: Identities, Technologies, Pedagogies (SUNY 2002; Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award, 2003). You can learn more about Scott here.

Kay Halasek

Kay Halasek

Associate Professor

Kay Halasek is associate professor of English at Ohio State University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, rhetoric, and pedagogy. She is the author of A Pedagogy of Possibility: Bakhtinian Perspectives on Composition Studies (Southern Illinois UP 1999). You can learn more about Kay here.

Ben McCorkle

Ben McCorkle

Associate Professor

Ben McCorkle, an associate professor of English at Ohio State University-Marion, teaches undergraduate courses in writing, digital media composing, and literary publishing, among other topics. He is the author of Rhetorical Delivery as Technological Discourse: A Cross-Historical Study (Southern Illinois University Press 2012). Additional information can be found here.

Rebecca Hudgins

Rebecca Hudgins

Ph. D. Student

Rebecca Hudgins is an MA/PhD student at Ohio State University specializing in the study of rhetoric, composition, and literacy with a graduate interdisciplinary specialization in disability studies. Her research focuses on the intersections of disability studies and composition pedagogy and writing centers. A current project focuses on tutors with disabilities and making writing centers more accessible. You can learn more about Rebecca here.

Melissa Cherry

Melissa K. Cherry

Reference Librarian

Cherry works as a Web Services Librarian at Miami University where she incorporates her background in reference and instruction into website development. She has a strong scholarly interest in the intersections among research-based writing, writing centers, and technology. She earned her MLIS from Kent State University and has held positions in the university libraries at Columbus State Community College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Denison University. You can learn more about Melissa through LinkedIn here.