ENGL 108 C: Writing Ready: Preparing For College Writing

Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 9:30am - 12:00pm
MOR 221
Carrie Matthews
Carrie Matthews

Syllabus Description:


English 108, Writing Ready:

Preparing for College Writing and Learning


Class Meetings: 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. More Hall 221

Note: Weeks 1 & 2 we will meet Tuesday-Friday;
Weeks 3 & 4 we will meet Monday-Thursday


Instructor: Carrie Matthews                                         Office: Padelford A-21

Email: crmatthe@uw.edu                                              Office hours: T 12:30-1:30 p.m.

                                                                                                           W 12:30-1:30 p.m.



Guess where on the UW campus this is!


Course Overview and Learning Goals

Welcome to English 108 and to the Early Fall Start session at the University of Washington! We will spend the next four weeks working together to help prepare you for your first academic year at the UW. In a nutshell (meaning, stated briefly), all of us teaching English 108 hope that one month from now you will have more fluency, more confidence, and more self-efficacy with respect to writing, reading and learning in English. 


What does that mean, practically? Every day of this class will be dedicated to ensuring that you will be more ready for college level writing in four weeks time than you are today. We will do this by

  1. increasing your fluency as a writer by having you write frequently—every single day, sometimes in more than one way during a single given day. We want writing to become second nature for you.

  2. developing your skill with metacognition. Loosely speaking, metacognition is thinking about your thinking, or “self-reflection,” By using metacognition to learn self-assessment skills, transfer skills, and self-monitoring skills, we expect you to enter your first classes with new abilities critical to your being a confident and successful student.

  3. introducing you to the study of learning itself. Successful writing ALWAYS depends upon your being able to write as an “insider,” and in college the usual way to move to the inside of something is through learning. Studies show that students who are reflective and perceptive about their learning learn more deeply and with better retention than those who are not.

  4. introducing you to campus resources to support you as a writer—especially writing centers and the research capacities of UW Libraries. Many new students find these things off-putting at first—but you will have been introduced to them already in EFS, and you’ll be well equipped to use these resources when the need arises. Research and inquiry skills are central in moving yourself from the “outside” position to the “inside” position—the place where all good writing begins.


Course Structure and Assignments

This course consists of two sequences and a course portfolio of all the writing you will complete over the next few weeks. Some of this writing will be formal essays, but most of it will be informal—smaller pieces of writing that will help you become a more fluent writer (through guided practice) as well as help you learn and apply concepts.

Sequence I, “Writing About Learning,” asks you to examine yourself as a writer and as a learner.  In this sequence we will introduce you to some writing criteria you can use to assess your—and your classmates’—paper drafts. We also teach you some learning concepts you can use to analyze your past experiences writing/learning and to think about strategies you can use going forward to be a happy and successful college student.

Sequence II, “A Conference About Learning,” offers you the chance to research a writing or learning issue that interests you and then teach what you have learned. You will work closely with 3-4 colleagues in the class, and together—as a group—you will briefly present your research findings at an all-English 108 conference on Tuesday, September 17th.

Course Portfolio: On the last day of class, you will write a reflection on all the work you have done this term and submit it as a guide for how I should read your course portfolio, which you will turn in with this essay. Your course portfolio is simply all the writing you have done in this course, organized in chronological order and with a clear Table of Contents.



Classroom Conduct: Our classroom will be a small but global community. It will also be a supportive and inclusive place. That means that we will all engage—take seriously and pay attention to—each other’s ideas. I will coach your writing, helping you to develop your thinking, clarify and organize your main points, and effectively support them with evidence and explanation, etc. You will also learn to help one another through reading and writing processes. 


Paper Format: Please submit all papers in 12-pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and stapled unless assignment directions indicate a different format. Margins should not exceed an inch.

 Purdue OWL is an excellent online source for questions about formatting, style, and grammar: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

Plagiarism: You will find yourself engaging other writers’ ideas and conducting some basic research in this class, and when you reference others’ ideas and research findings, you must give those writers credit for their ideas (whether or not you use their exact words). Effective college writing engages others’ ideas in a sort of scholarly conversation. If you do not make clear whose ideas you engage in your writing, you risk committing plagiarism, that is, borrowing other writers’ ideas and words so as to give the appearance that they are your own. If you ever have questions about attribution (giving other writers credit for their ideas and words) and documentation/citation (showing the source from which you are borrowing another writer’s ideas/words each time you do it), please come see me—I’m happy to help answer questions and share strategies for avoiding plagiarism.  Be sure to provide proper citation (in MLA style) when you reference others’ work.  I do expect your words and the ideas they express to be your own except when you clearly signal and name another source.



Your final course grade will be divided and weighted accordingly:


Sequence I

            My Writing Life…………………………………………….....15%

            Learning Profile……………………………………………....25%

Sequence II

            Conference Proposal.…………………………………...…..10%

            Conference Presentation.…………………………………...10%

            Conference Reflection and Analysis………..………………20%

Course Portfolio

            In-class reflection……………………………………………..10%

            Compiled portfolio…………………………………………….10%

                                                                                                Total= 100%  


How I Will Grade:

Because confidence in your ability to work through processes of college-level reading and writing is one of our course goals, your grade will depend largely on the amount of effort and consistency of effort you put in to this course. If you fully participate in class, demonstrate intellectual engagement with your coursework, and complete all the assignments for the class (smaller assignments as well as the major ones), you will have earned a course grade of at least 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale—see the official UW grade equivalency scales at http://faculty.washington.edu/scstroup/Gradescale.html).

For the graded assignments, I will assign a grade that reflects my assessment of your final draft based on our shared criteria. 

The Good News: You are eligible to have an additional “grade bonus” of up to .5 beyond that per assignment for your participation (see the participation “bump” rubric later in the syllabus).

The Not-So-Good News: This class goes by soooooooo fast. Neither you nor I can afford to get behind; that means NO LATE WORK will be accepted. Assignments are due at the beginning of class, so print early!


Six Criteria for Writing in This Class


1)    Central Purpose:  Are the reasons for your writing clear, appropriate, and fully responsive to the prompt?


2)    Details:  Do you offer your readers sufficient details and examples that are both relevant and effective in developing and supporting the paper’s central purpose?


3)    Organization:  Can your reader easily follow and understand your paper from beginning to end? Are there writing elements, like transitions and topic sentences, which maintain a coherent, narrative flow?


4)    Fullness: Do you do enough to carry your case? Is the document substantial enough to leave the desired impression upon the reader?


5)    Fluency:  How fluid, sophisticated, and effective is your writing at the sentence and paragraph level? Are sentences and word choices varied, clear and appropriate?


6)    Presentation: Is your paper well-edited and spell-checked? Have you reviewed your verb tense/agreement, punctuation, and other grammatical elements? Have you followed all guidelines pertaining to formatting, citation standards, and other rules of appearance as they are described in the course syllabus?


The Grid (How We Will Use the Six Criteria)


On papers for this class you'll find in addition to comments a set of six numbers, like:


3 1 2 3 4 2


These numbers correspond to each of the criteria described above in "Six Criteria for Writing in This Class" (i.e., the first number is the score for criteria item 1, “Central Purpose,” the second number is a score for “Details,” and so on).  In general, all count equally towards the final grade for the assignment.


The point of these numbers is to give you a quick mini-grade on each of the criteria we use to score papers. You can get a score from 1 (not yet effective) up to 6 (as good as it gets) in each category. The number represents our judgment about how well your paper has done on that one category, as measured against both our general sense of how well 100-level students ought to perform, and the performances of other students in the class. As we assign each number, we have in mind the following general sense of what they mean:


1      Not enough sense of this category to be functional in college level work. (e.g., a paper

that hasn’t any specific details to explain or clarify the argument.)


2      A sense of what this category is asking for, but not much more.  (e.g., a paper that

offers specific details, but doesn't explain or develop them sufficiently to be effective.)


3      Functional success with this category, but not yet showing full control. (e.g., some

exploration of a few details, for example, but without fullness, or without consistency.)


4      Functional success with this category, with some lapses and/or inconsistencies. (e.g.,

full exploration of details, for example, but not with all, or without consistency or clear relevance.)


5      Success with this category but a success not rhetorically integrated throughout the draft.  (e.g., a paper with a good sense of how to use details and to develop them far enough to make them useful to the argument, but not well deployed throughout the paper.)


6      Full success with this category. (e.g., a paper with insightful and well-developed

details, all relevant and effectively informative.)


The relationship between these numbers and the final score you get will not always be exact (we don't just add them up), but there is a very strong correlation. Six 6's, for example, would undoubtedly earn a 4.0. 



Rubric for Participation “Bump”

To earn an additional .1 (Limited Participation) toward your score, you will need to…

  • Complete most of the assigned reading
  • Complete most ungraded/informal writing and participate in class activities
  • Usually show that you take class members’ ideas seriously and always treat members of the class with politeness, though you may not always offer much in response to others’ ideas.


To earn an additional .2 (Adequate Participation) to your score, you will need to…

  • Read assigned texts
  • Complete all or almost all ungraded/informal writing and participate in most class activities
  • Usually show that you take class members’ ideas seriously and always treat members of the class with politeness


To earn an additional .3 (Effective Participation) to your score, you will need to…

  • Read assigned texts, though you may not have carefully annotated or “marked up” some of them
  • Complete all ungraded/informal writing and participate fully in class activities.
  • Show that you take class members’ ideas seriously


To earn an additional .4 (Very Good Participation) to your score, you will need to…

  • Read all assigned texts and show evidence that you have actively read most of them (by annotating or “marking them up”!)
  • Demonstrate “engaged critical intelligence” (ECI) in most ungraded/informal writing and class activities.
  • Show that you take all class members’ ideas seriously (including your own!)


To earn an additional .5 (Outstanding Participation) to your score, you will need to…

  • Actively read all assigned texts. (Annotate or “mark them up”!)
  • Demonstrate “engaged critical intelligence” (ECI) in all ungraded/informal writing and class activities.
  • Show that you take all class members’ ideas seriously (including your own!) and help your classmates further develop their ideas



Feel free to come talk with me about any concerns you have about this course: that’s why I hold office hours. If you’re not comfortable talking with me, you can contact Gary Handwerk, Chair of the UW English Department, at handwerk@uw.edu



Please let me know if you need accommodation of any sort. I am happy to work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require, and I am very willing to take suggestions specific to this class to meet your needs. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials—just ask.  More information on support at UW may be found on the DRS web site at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/


Appendix: Important UW Campus Resources


Writing Centers

UW writing centers can support you as you transition from high-school writing to university-level writing in multiple academic disciplines, many of which you are likely encountering for the first time.  These centers are free and provide individual attention from trained readers and writing coaches. Writing centers exist on college campuses to help those who wish to excel as well as to support struggling writers, so no matter where you fall on that spectrum, do take advantage of this resource.

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) is open during Early Fall Start and offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process.And (drum roll!) the tutors at OWRC are familiar with the English 108 curriculum: some of them have even taught this class themselves!

You can consult with a writing tutor at any stage of the writing process, from the very beginning (when you are planning a paper) to near the end (when you are thinking about how to revise a draft to submit to your instructor). To make the best use of your time there, please bring a copy of your assignment with you and double-space any drafts you want to bring in. While OWRC writing consultants are eager to help you improve your writing, they will not proofread your paper.

The OWRC is located in Odegaard Undergraduate Library room 121. Book your appointments early at http://depts.washington.edu/owrc/ .


Q Center

 The University of Washington Q Center is a primarily student-run resource center dedicated to serving anyone with a gender or sexuality: UW students, staff, faculty, alum, and community members.  

It hosts student groups and regular programming events, as well as includes a queer centered library and Student Blog. You can access the Q Center website at http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/wordpress/ or stop by Room 315 of the Husky Union Building Monday-Friday between 10am-7pm.


UW Safe Campus

Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert For more information visit the SafeCampus website at www.washington.edu/safecampus.


Course Calendar: Major Due Dates

You will prepare other smaller, mostly informal assignments, but these are the due dates for the major graded assignments in English 108.

Week 1

Friday, August 30th: “My Writing Life”

Week 2

Friday, September 6th: Full Draft of Learning Profile

Week 3

Wednesday, September 11th:  Final Draft of Learning Profile due

Thursday, September 12th: Conference Proposal due

Week 4

Monday, September 16th: Conference Presentation Powerpoint/Speech

Tuesday, September 17th: Final Conference Presentation!

Thursday, September 19th: Conference Reflection and Analysis Assignment due (in Course Portfolio, which is also due!)


Downloadable Syllabus: Matthews Syllabus 108 2013.doc

Catalog Description: 
Builds writing confidence through frequent informal writing, and introductions to key learning strategies. Includes user-friendly orientation to library and research documents, revision skills, and peer review work central to 100- and 200-level college writing assignments. Offered: A.
GE Requirements: 
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 23, 2016 - 1:10am