COMM 2320 The Craft of Argument

Instructor Contact:

Name: Marc Howard Rich Ph.D. He/Him/His


About the Course:

Focuses on the practice of argumentation in public life with attention to how the process of critical thinking leads to the invention of arguments. Students use argumentation theory to craft ethical and well-reasoned appeals and to critically evaluate the arguments of others.

In order to effectively induce cooperation in others, one must understand how existing symbols induce cooperation in unrecognized ways. Only by understanding complex, subtle relationships between symbols in a particular context can one creatively invent a new and persuasive way of symbolizing out the symbols that currently organize argumentation. Hence, in this course, we will study how argumentation utilizes symbols to subtly induce cooperation.  

Only through a mastery of currently persuasive symbols used in argumentative practices can we creatively recombine them in ways that allow us to engage in the communicative process. In this class, you will learn how argumentation functions to persuade. Only by analyzing arguments can you see how they work and how you can utilize various argumentative strategies in your own persuasive efforts.

Course Prerequisites: None


Over the course of this class, you should be able to…

1.     Define argument concepts and vocabulary.

2.     Explain how argument concepts relate to problem-solving.

3.     Identify values and how they function in discussions and disagreements.

4.     Apply argument heuristics to written and spoken arguments.

5.     Breakdown how arguments function to persuade people to take action.

6.     Arrange and rearrange arguments using heuristics.

7.     Create and revise ways of speaking about a controversy that resonates with different audiences.

Required Texts:

All readings will be made available on Canvas

Grading (out of 900 points):

  • Weekly Discussions (25pts each; 7 total, lowest 1 dropped; 150pt total)
  • Reading Guides (15pts each; 12 total, lowest 2 dropped; 150pts)
  • Heuristic Modules (50pts each; 4 total; 200pts)
  • Argument Concept Project, 3 stages (350 points total)
  • Class Community Membership (50 pts)


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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado