Writing for and engaging with your students/audience

Who is your audience

Many writers have an idea of who their readers are.  Some do, because they write genre fiction, so a thriller writer knows that they write for people who enjoy reading thrillers, a romance writer often thinks of their audience as women, a young adult writer sees their readers as young people, probably under 20.

As a teacher, you will also have imagined who your students/readers are. 

Here in SenGuide, we are writing and teaching as older, experienced people for older people who may not have experience in the same areas as we do. But maybe you also want to pass on your knowledge to younger people.  In any case, we will now imagine our readers/students.

Creating personas

A persona is a representation, an imagined person. To build our class of imagined students, we will need more than one persona, but probably not too many.  Each will need to represent a group of people who could be interested in your class. We could say that our class will consist of 6 personas.


Create 6 personas, 6 people who will take your class. This is a little like writing characters for a novel. Take a page for each persona.  Give them a name, and some distinctive characteristics.

  1. Are they male or female, young or old? What is their family circumstance? Where do they live? What is their background, their education, their work history? What are their goals? Why are they taking your course? What is their personality?
  1. Now that you have invented your students, ask yourself what will work best for them. What do you need to include? What should you leave out and why? (maybe because they would all know something, or because they would not be interested). What is most important for them? What is less important? What will this person be willing to do/try, and what won’t they?
  1. If you want to be thorough, and for fun, you could go through some old magazines and cut out photos of your personas, or go online and copy photos of people who look like you imagine your students could look.  For each of the six people (or 5, or 4), create a profile, either on your computer or on a piece of paper, and write a short description. But mostly, consider question 2 and the answers you gave for each persona. This should give you a good framework for your module.
Template personas


Course: Writing online

Course instructors