Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

APEGS Fall PD Days – Persuasive Professional Writing

November 16, 2022 @ 8:30 am - November 30, 2022 @ 11:30 am

This course focusses on writing and editing as persuasive skills and tasks. While preparing an effective text requires an understanding of the fundamentals of sentence structure, a good writer/editor must also be able to gauge an audience’s needs and make informed choices regarding which available structures will be most effective in a given context. Equipped with new skills, participants will prepare brief texts in response to provided scenarios, and then join in collaborative editing exercises. Participants will develop their professional writing skillset in this course.

A maximum of 30 people will be permitted to register in this course.

Presented by: John Moffatt – University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering, Ron & Jane Graham School of Professional Development

John Moffatt is an Associate Professor in the Ron and Jane Graham School of Professional Development, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, where he teaches courses in Leadership, the Theory and Practice of Persuasion, and Rhetorical Editing.  Moffatt received his Ph.D. from Queen’s University, and taught at various universities in Ontario, Québec, Alberta, and British Columbia before coming to U of S in 2007. He is a past recipient of a University of Saskatchewan Student Union (USSU) Excellence in Teaching Award (2014-15) and a Provost’s College Award for Outstanding Teaching (2015). As a member of the Graham School, Moffatt has also facilitated PD short courses, track sessions, and workshops for a number of companies, institutions, and organizations in Saskatchewan.

Presentation dates: November 16, 23, 30 (3 sessions, 3 hours each for a total of 9 hours)

Early bird price: $1,120 (taxes included)
Regular price: $1,150 (taxes included)

This course has been cancelled.

Early bird registration deadline: November 2, 2022
Registration deadline: November 9, 2022

Cancellations are handled as follows:

  • Cancellations received within 24 hours of registration will be given a full refund with no cancellation fee.
  • Cancellations received greater than 5 business days before the event will result in a refund, less an administration fee being the lesser of $50 or the registration fee plus tax.
  • Special circumstances for cancellations that fall within the 5 business days of the event will be considered at the Registrar’s discretion.

Detailed Course Description:

Every sentence is composed of required elements necessary for the sentence to function as a structure, and optional elements which, while not structurally necessary, deliver much of the information the author seeks to convey. This course surveys the menu of structures which can serve in one or both of the required or optional functions, and lays out major options for deploying them, along with the implications of those options. For example:

Required Elements of Sentences

  • How much of your sentence is verb, and what does that verb need to be fully operational?
  • What is the passive voice, how do I recognize it, and when and how should I use it?
  • What role does verb tense play in creating clarity?
  • When can/should I use the first person?

Optional Elements of Sentences

  • How do I distinguish optional elements from required elements?
  • How broad or narrow is a given optional modifier’s reference, and how can I minimize ambiguity in placing a modifier?
  • What role does effective punctuation play in establishing and maintaining sentence clarity? What are the conventions (and consequences) governing the use of commas, colons, semicolons, and dashes?
  • How rigid are the rules governing punctuation in standard English?

The course’s foundational principle is that a good writer and editor can confidently identify the elements in any sentence that correspond to this basic question:

Who/What is doing or being what, under what circumstances, in this sentence?

If we can answer this question, the key task becomes the process of choosing the best terminology and available structure and arranging them to fit the audience’s specific needs.

After offering practice in recognizing essential and inessential elements of sentences, the course will outline some basic tools for mapping sentence completeness and clarity. Equipped with this information, participants will prepare brief texts in response to scenarios provided, and then join in collaborative editing exercises. In these exercises, participants will explain their own choices of words and structures, and offer responses and suggestions to each other about the effectiveness of those choices.

Participants will be equipped with a checklist of commonly misfiring structures so they can clearly frame the questions they need to ask themselves about where and how a sentence is open to misinterpretation, and how to manage writing problems. The habits that will be coached by the instructor will allow participants to learn how to maintain a focus on how a text should be read by its audience, by matching potential ways of expressing a point with an understanding of the audience’s needs. Accordingly, the course emphasizes the importance of having an accurate “read” on the text’s audience when making composition and editing decisions.

The writer/editor who cultivates the skillset explored in this course will also find it easier to explain writing problems in a constructive and helpful way in contexts involving training and collaborative document preparation.


November 16, 2022 @ 8:30 am
November 30, 2022 @ 11:30 am


Online event