Guest Post by Samantha Gray
Today, everything is online and mobile. We’ve entered a time where living without a smartphone is baffling and living without the internet is completely unimaginable. We have social media at the palms of our hands at all times, major professional opportunities relying totally on online entities, and educational degrees being earned in the online classroom — the internet world is pretty much just the world these days.
As online education has grown in popularity and stature in the past several years, so too has the concept of free widely accessible education opportunities. Open courseware classes are offered by some of the top rated universities in the country to any individual with internet access. But, what does this have to do with blogging or content writing?
These three open courseware classes can provide useful information and lessons for even the most seasoned of bloggers and content writers. Explore these free classes to expand your knowledge on writing, rhetoric, and marketing.
This class was offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Writing and Humanistic Studies department in 2002. Exploring the ways of our consumer culture, this class uses the topic as a springboard into expository writing lessons and practice. This course can be particularly valuable for bloggers and content writers. We seek to create consumable material. While it is sometimes hard to place blogs and words in the realm of consumables, they are something our readers consume. By looking into the nature of consumer culture and analyzing the ways advertising works, we are able to learn something about the copy we produce.
Another writing course offered by MIT, this class explores what it means to live in the age of mass media. Taking particular interest in popular American media, the class discusses how media shapes our idea of self, family, and community. Blogs and web content are a part of the mass media. As bloggers and content writers, we can gain insight into the world of mass media in which we work and we can practice writing techniques from this class. The class focuses on creating essays that are clear, engaging, and meaningful to a wide audience—all necessary things in the blogging world.
Many individuals in the marketing, blogging, and writing world underestimate the role rhetoric plays in their work. Writing and marketing are all about rhetoric. Bloggers and writers have to use rhetorical skills to appeal to their specific audience. This class acts as an introduction to the theory, practice, and implications of rhetoric and persuasion. Students will develop skills in persuasion and persuasive writing. Though rhetoric can bring with it a negative connotation, rhetoric is actually a very useful and common tool used by writers. Bloggers and content writers use rhetorical tools and practices to create material that works for their cause—this is the entire point of what we do. Interestingly, it is also the entire point of rhetoric. Use this class to become a better rhetorical critic, evaluating what you see and read, and to become a stronger rhetor yourself, creating material that accomplishes our goal.
Samantha Gray is a freelance writer based in Houston, Texas, where she also volunteers as a tutor for a literacy organization. She enjoys advising others how they can do the same.
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