Observations of Page

Page Layout and Design

Overall, the website uses the space to display the information within the two center frames in a manner that exudes regalia, choosing the traditional colors of purple and gold often associated with law degrees but possibly the colors of the institution. The calming and relaxing effect of the particular shade draws away from the outside space and into the brighter text at center; also accomplished in part by the shorter page length that leads to less scrolling.

[As you'll see below: The struckout texts is part of an analysis of delivery and ethos. In description, stay neutral, stand outside the rhetorical exchange, and describe the thing. Alternatively, you could collect these analytical statements as a way of concluding the description. The trick is to keep the analysis temporarily out of the observation. ]

[From this point, your description is solid.]

Top Navigation Bar

The navigation at top contains links common for regular access to the website in whole, from areas for "Prospective Students" to "Maps." Also included here is a search bar, allowing users to search the entity quickly. The bar is separated from the rest of the page by a black background.


Centered in the page, with a treatment of radiating highlights from behind the MSU Mankato logo. The tag-line "Big Ideas. Real-world thinking." follows directly below and right the logo, in a plain white font lacking the black highlighting of the logo.

Navigation Tabs

Below the logo are tabs for the discovery of the campus climate and induction, such as "admissions" and "student life." These tabs are in the same hue as the rest of the page and are located for convenience just above the content frames/panes.

Left Side Pane

This content pane, or frame, is another navigational aid that consists of resources and pages of overlaying relationship to the page's main content. Prominent on the page with its gold hue and deep colored fonts. Here are links to the English department at large, course offerings, genres and specializations within the discipline, etc. It also includes, just below the primary links, a lighter colored box with information regarding the degree offerings for the Technical Communications department, highlighting the related degrees to the page content. At bottom of this pane is a prominent button, again purple, directing the reader to make a donation, and another link to "Ask a question".

Right Side Body

A navigation aid is the first object, showing the reader is within the MNSU Mankato campus, English department, Technical Communication. Below is a image banner with associated text that cycles once every 5 seconds between three of the major course offerings.
Below the image banner are four additional frames of text. From left to right and top to bottom they are:
Bottom Page Pane

There are many various gold and bold categories of links provided at the bottom of the page, placed within the confines of the purple used for the page framing and background. Each subordinate link is in white font, underneath the categorical gold head that ranges from "Contact" to "Admissions" to "Campus Services" and "About." Below this field of many links are buttons to connect to the university via facebook, google plus, twitter, foursquare, and twitter. Another button provides the "College Portrait" page, followed just right by information about the webpage publishing. Finally, further right provides an RSS feed for updates to the page, an edit feature, and a designation that places ownership of the page to the English department.

Description of Context

[Well done]
For this page, the context of the message is an introduction of the Technical Communications program, within the English department, of the Minnesota State University at Mankato. It addresses students and those readers interested in learning about the degrees offered in Technical Communications and the types of courses and schedules available.


Examples of Ethos

[Here's where the analysis of how the colors might work within context start. This is the appropriate place for the analysis.] [Excellent work here]
As mentioned in the description, the colors used can portray a sense of regalia, tying the page into the greater university community and associating all work and offerings with it. The university banner is another example where the page is made credible by branding. Even further into the page, the image banner used has relics of authority in the subject. Aristotle is noted for his pioneering role in the subject at hand, and his image here forges a strong sense of credibility for the topic mentioned: "Rhetorical Theory..." Images of professional settings also add to this sense of credibility, showing what could be potential work situations for graduates of the program, or maybe the environments in which learning takes place.

Examples of Pathos

With the use of color, there is also a calming effect through the use of dark shades surrounding the bright text. This draws the reader into the subject at hand, calming the urge to scroll or scan through and placing them at rest within the intended message. Within the text, there are reassurances that students will "pay resident tuition" if taking courses online, a reassurance that the education will not be overly stressful in a financial sense. Numerous other links and resources also place the reader at rest, providing the necessary sources of information as questions are formulated. In particular, providing the full name and title places the reader at ease, giving a ready resource for directing questions outside of a potentially extensive web search of the site.

Examples of Logos

[Excellent observation. And a really valuable one for the class.]

Providing links for current students illustrates an intention to give examples and resources for prospective students to evaluate and formulate their intent concerning the program.

From the listing of degrees offered, and the under implied relationship to MNSCU, the reader can deduce that the program will reasonably lead to a balanced education sufficient to meet the state's overall requirements.


A topical arrangement of ideas is seen in this message, as information for the prospective student or reader is rationed out based on the intent of the reader. This compartmentalization provides no great amount of substance for the rhetor to use in persuasion, but does lead to efficient and fast decision making. [Good point, but consider: is the arrangement itself the persuasive substance.]


[Solid thinking.]
A level of personification is apparent in the message, as the "Classes" are implied to teach, rather than the instructor of each respective class. This gives the overall program a level of persona as well, and this is all tied together with the constant Parallelism of the program title "Technical Communication" as a header for the scrolling image banner at top of the content section. Colors play a role here, again through the sense of regalia, but also in the use of red in the images to denote editing; a up-close view of the editing process that draws the viewer into the process in a very intimate way.


The use of a webpage for the delivery of the message expands the audience, in sense of geography and ability to understand the message: the deaf community is given access equal to that had by hearing, at the pace of the download and reading speeds associated. The scrolling images every few seconds keeps the reader involved with the page, moving quick enough to provoke a sense of interest in the message of each fleeting visual.


[Again, solid. This starts to suggest that memory plays a larger role in the rhetorical design of the page than we typically give it ].
Assuming that the reader or consumer of the message is a prospective student, the rhetor uses an assumed memory that the reader knows the basics of college organization and induction. The background behind Bachelor's, Masters, and Certificate programs are not directly addressed, though some mention of general education appears when discussing online students. The message here is that of specialization, and persuading a newly anointed student into pursuing study in the program. Even within all this, the compartmentalized nature of the page allows users to access it without the need to have memory or knowledge of what all the links relate or pertain to. The user can very much, at a later date, return to the page once the required knowledge is obtained to browse further into the program details.

[Superb work, Nicholaus, both in detail of observation and in use of the classical rhetorical concepts in cataloguing and analysis. The exercise becomes a new way of looking at the web site, seeing memory in organization, elocution in the phrasing of titles and use of nominals (nouns and names). It's also interesting how you're seeing color selection work across offices: in ethos and elocution. I typically place color in delivery, but you have made a case for a more refined analysis. Admirable.
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