• Class Number 6569
  • Term Code 3270
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 3 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Laura Davy
    • Dr Laura Davy
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 14/11/2022
  • Class End Date 24/12/2022
  • Census Date 02/12/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 21/11/2022
SELT Survey Results

The ability to influence and persuade is a key skill for policymakers and public managers, whether it’s presenting advice to Ministers and Secretaries, influencing a group in a meeting or building support with stakeholders.

This subject provides a practical introduction to persuasion, exploring both classical and contemporary theories and ideas. It draws on the art of rhetoric and the fields of social psychology, communication and management. Students will be introduced to the key concepts and tools underpinning persuasion and learn how to influence, build rapport and trust. The use of persuasion will be explored in a range of scenarios at the individual and group level through case study analysis and practice-based tasks which will develop students’ hands-on skills.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify and apply theories of persuasion in a policy and public management context.
  2. Analyse and critique different persuasive techniques and their influence on audiences.
  3. Craft and present persuasive communication, both written and verbal.
  4. Appreciate the differences between power and influence and how these are exercised.
  5. Understand the key principles that underpin influence and develop effective strategies to build support.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Persuasion and governance This first topic explores the role of persuasion in policy and politics and the many forms it takes – from public education and community advocacy campaigns to political propaganda and behavioural ‘nudging’. We will tease out the differences between persuasion and coercion, influence and power through analysis of the importance of public health communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 Communication and rhetoric This topic introduces key concepts from communication studies and rhetoric to explore how individuals persuade and influence. We will look at factors that shape the way messages are communicated and received as well as common ways of appealing to and connecting with audiences. We will explore a range of techniques for effective policy communication, including how to present arguments and data through narrative and storytelling, and will analyse a series of famous political speeches to see how policy actors have put these tools of persuasion into practice. Assessment 1: Wattle post on course reading due today
3 Persuasive campaigns In this topic we explore persuasive campaigns that aim to change attitudes and behaviour and what makes them work. Contemporary strategic policy communication takes place in a complex multimedia, multi-actor and multi-audience environment. We will focus on the ‘ingredients’ of successful campaigns including effective audience analysis, crafting persuasive campaign messages, and building support amongst partners and stakeholders.
4 Persuasion resistance In this topic we look at the impact of identity, bias, and power on persuasion, thinking through questions of who is viewed as persuasive, who is not, and why. We will examine the limits of persuasion, including the contested links between knowledge, attitudinal change, and behavioural change. We will also discuss ethical parameters for persuasion and how to be a critical consumer of the persuasive messages that permeate our everyday lives. Assessment 2: Presentation due today

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Discussion board post on course reading 30 % 22/11/2022 28/11/2022 1,2,3,4
Presentation 30 % 29/11/2022 09/12/2022 1,3,5
Written submission and analysis 40 % 09/12/2022 23/12/2022 1,2,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 22/11/2022
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Discussion board post on course reading

For this first assignment, you will need to write a short piece (maximum 500 words) about one of the recommended (not essential) course readings, and post your piece to the course discussion board on Wattle.

Within this piece, you need to 1) identify the most important message (argument or insight) of the reading, 2) communicate its relevance/importance, and 3) comment on how the reading defines persuasion and/or the nature of politics.

Your (imagined) audience is practitioners and students of public policy, and your mission is to engage them, persuasively! To this end, your post should be both clear and appealing.

Some tips:

  • Craft a heading/title that captures the reader’s attention
  • Prioritise clarity when explaining key concepts
  • Consider using the ‘modes of appeal’ to connect with your audience (these are covered in the topic 2 lecture).

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/11/2022
Return of Assessment: 09/12/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,5


Assessment 2 and 3 are distinct assessments but are related. Assessment 2 is an oral presentation, and Assessment 3 is a written assignment. You should aim to address the same topic in both tasks, so you can build on content developed for the presentation in the written assignment, incorporating the feedback you receive.

For Assessment 2, you will need to prepare a short presentation (no more than 5 minutes) to be presented in class on Day 4. In this presentation you should briefly describe a current social, political or economic problem and offer at least one policy proposal to address this problem.

Draw on one main rhetorical technique to enhance your presentation. For example, you could open or conclude your presentation with a story, structure it through a central metaphor, or startle your audience with striking statistics or an engaging infographic.

You can pre-record your presentation rather than present it live if you would like to. The pre-recorded presentation must be provided to the course convenor before the Day 4 seminar and must be in MP4 file format (if you would like to use a different file type please check compatibility with the lecturer well in advance). It will be shown at the same time as the other presentations.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 09/12/2022
Return of Assessment: 23/12/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Written submission and analysis

This is a written assignment that should be no longer than 1,500 words in total. The assignment has 2 components:

  • For the first component of the assignment, describe a social, political or economic problem and present persuasive policy solutions or recommendations to address this problem. It is expected (and recommended) that you choose the same issue that you focused on in your presentation for Assessment 2, but you can change topics if you would like to.
  • In the second component of the assignment, analyse the rhetorical technique/s you have drawn on in presenting your policy proposal/s. This component of the assignment should be no longer than 500 words.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Laura Davy
02 6125 2558

Research Interests

Dr Laura Davy

By Appointment
Dr Laura Davy
02 6125 2558

Research Interests

Dr Laura Davy

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions