ENGL 131 V: Composition: Exposition

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
BAG 331A
Emily George

Syllabus Description:


Fall 2014


Instructor name: Emily George

Email: ecg136@uw.edu

Course website: Canvas

Class location: 331A Bagley Hall

Office hours / Office location:

Monday, 11:00-12:00, Wednesday, 3:30-4:30 in Savery 417




Welcome to English 131! In our Expository Writing Program, we believe that good writing is not a matter of simply learning to write a good essay; after all, the standards of a good piece of written work vary in different fields, and if we spent all of our time analyzing why Shakespeare is the greatest author in the English language, it wouldn’t serve you very well when it comes time to write up a lab report. However, we can provide you with the skills, tools, and habits of mind that will empower you to write in any academic discourse community. In your writing and discussion, you will be honing your critical thinking skills in order to go beyond simply understanding what we read and instead entering into a conversation with it, to step back and understand your own thinking process.


Theme: Changing Identities  

 Evolution of the Human

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5, 43-44.

“Who are you? Who, who, who, who?” Pete Townsend

Our course focuses on identity—specifically, the ways in which identities and definitions transform. From the way we introduce ourselves at the beginning of a class (‘tell us about yourself!’) to the way we categorize our readings under particular genres, we are often encouraged to imagine that identities are fixed, that defining characteristics exist in stasis. Our readings, discussions, and written assignments will explore and question those assumptions.



1. To demonstrate an awareness of the strategies that writers use in different writing contexts.

  • The writing employs style, tone, and conventions appropriate to the demands of a particular genre and situation.
  • The writer is able to demonstrate the ability to write for different audiences and contexts, both within and outside the university classroom.
  • The writing has a clear understanding of its audience, and various aspects of the writing (mode of inquiry, content, structure, appeals, tone, sentences, and word choice) address and are strategically pitched to that audience.
  • The writer articulates and assesses the effects of his or her writing choices.


2. To read, analyze, and synthesize complex texts and incorporate multiple kinds of evidence purposefully in order to generate and support writing.

  • The writing demonstrates an understanding of the course texts as necessary for the purpose at hand.
  • Course texts are used in strategic, focused ways (for example: summarized, cited, applied, challenged, re-contextualized) to support the goals of the writing.
  • The writing is intertextual, meaning that a “conversation” between texts and ideas is created in support of the writer’s goals.
  • The writer is able to utilize multiple kinds of evidence gathered from various sources (primary and secondary – for example, library research, interviews, questionnaires, observations, cultural artifacts) in order to support writing goals.
  • The writing demonstrates responsible use of the MLA (or other appropriate) system of documenting sources.


3. To produce complex, analytic, persuasive arguments that matter in academic contexts.

  • The argument is appropriately complex, based in a claim that emerges from and explores a line of inquiry.
  • The stakes of the argument, why what is being argued matters, are articulated and persuasive.
  • The argument involves analysis, which is the close scrutiny and examination of evidence and assumptions in support of a larger set of ideas.
  • The argument is persuasive, taking into consideration counterclaims and multiple points of view as it generates its own perspective and position.
  • The argument utilizes a clear organizational strategy and effective transitions that develop its line of inquiry.


4. To develop flexible strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading writing.

  • The writing demonstrates substantial and successful revision.
  • The writing responds to substantive issues raised by the instructor and peers.
  • Errors of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics are proofread and edited so as not to interfere with reading and understanding the writing.



  • Contexts for Inquiry, available in the Bookstore
  • Notebook or regular lined paper for in-class writing and journaling
  • Regular internet access in order to use Canvas



Your major written assignments consist of two sequences. In the first sequence, you will write three shorter assignments of 2-3 pages and one major paper of 5-7 pages. In the second sequence, you will again have three short assignments leading up to your major paper, but in this case, the third short assignment will be a rough draft of your major paper. Since we wish to measure your growth as a writer rather than assessing you on skills you haven’t yet practiced, you will be graded on your final portfolio, which includes selections of your revised and edited work and reflections on how your writing meets the course outcomes.



Portfolio: 70%

Your portfolio includes:

  • A compendium of all sequence-related assignments
  • Revisions of 3-5 short assignments and 1 major paper
  • A critical reflection that explains how the selected portfolio demonstrates the four outcomes for the course

A portfolio that does not include all the above will be considered "Incomplete" and will earn a grade of 0.0-0.9. The grade for complete portfolios will be based on the extent to which the pieces you select demonstrate the course outcomes.

Participation: 30%

You have a chance to earn 10 participation points each week. “Participation” is a tricky term. I understand that everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to talking in class, and while I encourage everyone to push themselves, I will provide various pathways to fulfill the participation grade. This includes full-group discussion, small group work, fulfilling homework assignments, discussion on our Canvas website, working in pairs, writing conferences with me, journaling, writing workshops/peer review, and sharing written questions and comments about our readings. Participation in writing conferences is mandatory and will make up 10% of your participation grade.



Academic Integrity: Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. As a matter of policy, any student found to have plagiarized any piece of writing in this class will be immediately reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review.

Complaints: If you have any concerns about the course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the following Expository Writing Program staff in Padelford A-11: Director Candice Rai, (206) 543-2190 or crai@uw.edu or Assistant Directors AJ Burgin, aburgin@uw.edu; Yasmine Romero, yromer@uw.edu; Ann Shivers-McNair, asmcnair@uw.edu. If, after speaking with the Director or Assistant Directors of the EWP, you are still not satisfied with the response you receive, you may contact English Department Chair Brian Reed, (206) 543-2690.

Grading: Your final portfolio will be worth 70% of your grade. Participation (homework, in class assignments, group work, and peer review) is worth 30% of your grade.

Late Work: It is in your best interest to turn in all assignments on time so that I can get feedback to you in time for you to improve your work for the next assignment and so that you can make the best revisions possible for your portfolio. Late assignments will affect your participation grade (2 points per day that it is late) unless you make prior arrangements with me. Contact me as soon as possible if something outside of your control will interfere with handing in an assignment on time, and together we will work out an alternative due date.



Accommodations: If you need accommodation of any sort, please let me know so that I can work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/.

Campus Safety: 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.

Counseling Center: UW Counseling Center workshops include a wide range of issues including study skills, thinking about coming out, international students and culture shock, and much more. Check out available resources and workshops at: http://depts.washington.edu/counsels/

Career Center:

UW Career Center offers career counseling and planning, workshops and career fairs, a listing of part-time jobs on and off campus, and much more: http://careers.washington.edu/students.

Q Center: The University of Washington Q Center builds and facilitates queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex, questioning, same-gender-loving, allies) academic and social community through education, advocacy, and support services to achieve a socially-just campus in which all people are valued. For more information, visit http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/.

FIUTS: Foundation for International Understanding through Students: FIUTS is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning. "FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming for UW's international and globally minded domestic students. FIUTS is local connections and global community!" FIUTS also offers a free international lunch on the last Wednesday of every month beginning with a lunch on September 28 from 11:30-1:30 in the Kane Hall Walker-Ames room. Consult FIUTS' web site for a detailed calendar of events and links to many resources http://www.fiuts.washington.edu.



Odegaard Writing Center: The Odegaard Writing Center is open on Sundays from 12-9 PM, Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 9 PM, and Saturdays from 9 AM to 3 PM. You can make appointments with peer tutors or librarians using the Writing Center’s website, https://depts.washington.edu/owrc/.

CLUE: CLUE is the late-night tutoring program at UW. The CLUE writing center is open from 7 PM to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, in Mary Gates Hall. You do not need to make an appointment. For more information, go to http://depts.washington.edu/aspuw/develop/writing-center/.




CFI = Contexts for Inquiry

SA = Short Assignment

MP = Major Paper


Autumn Quarter 2014




in-class activities


Wed 9/24


            Introduction and Close Reading

  • Syllabus
  • Class Compact
  • Work Groups
  • Preliminary Essay
  • Close reading/Annotation Introduction Activity (Fish)

Introduce SA1

  • Contexts for Inquiry chapter 4, pgs. 131-141
  • Read and annotate Baldwin, pg. 506-509
  • Read and Annotate Tan, pgs. 886-890
  • Preliminary Essay (due Friday at 11:59 on Canvas)

Bring in the artefact you’ll be using in SA1




Mon 9/29


Reading for Understanding

  • Free write on artefacts
  • Discuss Baldwin and Tan
  • Introduce summary/paraphrase
  • Summarize/paraphrase Baldwin, Tan (class activity)
  • Claims
  • Contexts for Inquiry pgs. 214-217 (stop on the summary comparison), 219-227
  • Muñoz pgs 791-794—read and write 3-5 sentence summary; paraphrase one paragraph.

Reminder: SA1 due Wednesday at 11:59 PM

Wed 10/1


Putting Texts Into Conversation

  • Synthesis
  • Baldwin, Tan, Muñoz discussion/activity
  • Go over SA2


  • SA1 due today at 11:59 PM!
  • Contexts for Inquiry pgs. 228-229 (Synthesis), 246-251
  • King pgs. 658-670 (read and annotate)




Mon 10/6

Identifying Claims and Organizing a Paper

  • Synthesis review
  • King discussion—identifying major claims
  • Reverse-outlining


  • Contexts pgs. 321-326
  • Loewen pgs. 728-731 (read, annotate, and identify major claims)

Wed 10/8

SA 2 Due

Rhetorical Analysis—Day 1

  • Rhetorical analysis Feature/Purpose chart of King
  • SA 3 questions
  • SA2 due at 11:59 PM!
  • Loewen pgs. 731-744 (read, annotate, and reverse-outline)




Mon 10/13

Rhetorical Analysis—Day 2

  • Loewen—major claims review, Feature/Purpose chart
  • Writer’s Workshop


  • SA 3 due 11:59 PM!
  • Revision plans

Wed 10/15


Class Canceled for Conferences

  • Conference with me!
  • Contexts pgs. 299-300




Mon 10/20

MP 1 Reflection


Midterm Check-in


Formulating Effective Arguments: Loewen and King analysis


  • MP 1 Draft 2 Due 11:59 PM!
  • Beverly Gross, “Bitch,” CfI pgs. 627-634; come to class with two written questions to spark conversation
  • CfI 301-310

Wed 10/22

Formulating Effective Arguments—Day 2


  • CfI 314-320




Mon 10/27

Finding a Topic

Analyzing assignment prompts

Creating SA 5



HW: CfI 253-260



Wed 10/29

Library visit, 1:30-2:20—meet at library

2:20-3:20: Finding Sources


SA 4 Due




Mon 11/3

Organizing and Integrating Sources: The Annotated Bibliography (SA 6)

 Writing Introductions: Finding Kairos

Identifying Warrants



SA 5 Due

Wed 11/5

Finding the warrants in our own arguments

Making an impact on the sentence level 

The Works Cited Page: What, Why, How


SA 6 Due (MOVED TO FRIDAY, 11:59 AM)

Homework for Monday:
Shitty First Draft

CFI pages on organization (411-417 and page 426).

 Writing from the POV of the other

Formulate your issue/claim as a question that you’re exploring and email the question to me (due tonight). For a refresher, check out CFI page 317-318: Steps to Formulating an Issue-Based Question.




Mon 11/10

Writer’s Workshop

Shitty First Draft of MP 2 due in class


Wed 11/12

 Writer's Workshop




wrap up second sequence


Mon 11/17

MP 2 Reflection

Checking In: Where We Started, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going

Final Project Due (or MP2 Draft 2)


Wed 11/19

The Portfolio




don’t forget to give course evaluations


Mon 11/24


 Writer's Workshop: Portfolio Edition


Wed 11/26


 Class Cancelled: Drive Safe!



Don’t forget to do evals!


Mon 12/1


 Writer's Workshop: Portfolio Edition

Course Evaluations


Wed 12/3


Writer's Workshop: Critical Reflections



Holidays:           Veteran’s Day – Tues 11/11

               Thanksgiving –  Thu 11/27 and Fri 11/28

Last Day of Instruction:  Fri 12/5

Finals Week:  Mon 12/6 – Fri 12/12

Grades Due:  Tues 12/16, 5 pm


Your portfolios are due by Monday, December 8 at 11:59 PM on Blackboard.





Catalog Description: 
Study and practice of good writing: topics derived from a variety of personal, academic, and public subjects. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 15, 2016 - 3:30pm