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What is rhetoric?
The definition of rhetoric is the art of persuasion. Rhetoricians study techniques to motivate or persuade an audience using public speaking or writing. Ancient Greece had quite a bit to say on rhetoric, identifying it as one of three modes of discourse, following Aristotle's lead for mastering this discipline. Later, Quintilian, Cicero, Thomas Hobbes, and even writers such as Gloria Anzaldua studied the subject and wrote extensively.
Rhetorical analysis is a course of study designed to uncover and critique any available means of persuasion. Thinkers and philosophers from ancient Greek to modern speechwriters have used the art of rhetoric to make impacts and spur actions from even the most indifferent audience.
Although rhetoric sometimes has a reputation for bombast, theories of rhetoric provide guidance for fields dealing with people and those who want to improve their communication skills. It isn't just for the realm of liberal arts majors either. Students in all disciplines can use rhetoric theories to strengthen communication and soft skills employers look for in their ideal candidates.
Learn about rhetoric
The edX platform offers courses designed in partnership with leaders in the field of communications and rhetoric. Students can explore any field their hearts' desire and develop a lifelong love of learning with an extensive collection of quality materials. Many courses are free for personal growth, or learners can participate in accredited tracks for a fee.
The platform supports single courses, certificate options, and professional series choices. edX also adds more new micro-degrees and full degrees regularly.
Rhetoric courses and certificates
Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking from HarvardX. Learners will explore foundational theories of persuasion and attribution, identify logical fallacies in arguments, and differentiate between arguments and rhetorical techniques. Another choice, the University of Washington's Introduction to Public Speaking, directs students through rhetorical situations in speaking.
HarvardX offers a two-course professional series in leadership and communication. Students can study public speaking, writing, and the foundational principles of leadership. ASUx, on the other hand, offers a professional series on Professional Writing where participants can build skills in the written word and dialectic principles.
Master complex communication with edX
Figures of speech and hyperbole only get someone so far. With real rhetorical skills, students can build 21st-century communication skills for career advancement or personal growth. They can learn to identify the stylistic markers of political rhetoric, explore the subject matter of rhetoric on social media, or learn the tropes that poor rhetoricians use to sway those without training.
Students don't have to resort to grandiloquence and "fustian" (or pompous) hot air to motivate. Skills learned with edX can offer the right mix of truth with respectful ornamentation to capture attention and keep it. It's time to understand what can be accomplished with the English language or others and the right communication skills.