Faculty of Arts


Special Topic: 'Persuasion and Power'

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for COMMS 206.


Course description

Persuasive messages surround us in everyday life. Some of these messages aim to inform or empower us, while others attempt to shape and change our beliefs, attitudes, and actions. ‘Persuasion and Power’ explores the theory and practice of persuasive communication, and the platforms and technologies that are used to persuade.

It addresses how beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviour are deliberately influenced through communication, how power and communication are closely connected, and what role you can play in both understanding and constructing persuasive messages. During the course, we will examine persuasion in a variety of settings, including interpersonal interactions, mass media, and virtual worlds.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and explain elements of persuasive communication in social, cultural and political aspects of everyday life
  • Analyse the ways that a range of media objects are constructed for persuasive purposes
  • Demonstrate key principles of the practice of persuasive communication through the creative design of media objects
  • Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary critical discourses about the relationship between persuasive communication and various forms of power

View the course syllabus.

Availability 2020

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Dr Lawrence May


• Weekly quizzes (Canvas) (10%)
• Case study analysis (25%)
• Persuasive media object design (25%)
• Exam (40%)


COMMS 206: 15.0 points


60 points at Stage I in BA courses

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