ENGL 281 A: Intermediate Expository Writing

Meeting Time: 
Lillian V Campbell

Syllabus Description:

English 281A: Intermediate Expository Writing

Location/Time: MGH 076 (lab): Mon, 9:30 – 11:20; MGH 085 (classroom): Weds, 9:30 – 11:20
Instructor:  Lillian Campbell (Call me Lilly)
Office: Padelford B-402
Office Hours: M/W, 8:20-9:20 or by appointment
Email: lcampb@uw.edu
Class Website: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/915323

See the full syllabus here: 281_Syllabus.doc

Course Description

"Genres are not just forms. Genres are forms of life, ways of being. They are frames for social action. They are environments for learning. They are locations within which meaning is constructed. Genres shape the thoughts we form and the communications by which we interact. Genres are the familiar places we go to create intelligible communicative action with each other and the guideposts we use to explore the unfamiliar." —Charles Bazerman

When you sit down to write an essay, how do you know what to say and how to say it? From the indent at the beginning of your paragraph to the careful avoidance of personal pronouns, your previous experiences with the genre of the academic essay inform every choice you make. Even creative of writers rely on typified forms of communication to guide their writing choices. But this course is going to challenge us to think about genres as not just formulaic or a list of writing rules. Instead, we’re going to recognize that genres emerge from communities and out of relationships between individuals. We’re going to identify how genres encode power relationships but also possibilities for change. And we’re going to do that by exploring a range of genres that are relevant to us right now or in the very immediate future – disciplinary genres.

As we read the work of rhetorical genre theorists, you will begin to explore a genre that is circulating within a discipline of interest. Our goal by the end of this quarter will be to compile a class genre guide that brings together each individual’s analysis and research. Designing the guide will require that we decide as a class how our information is organized. Thus, for each section we’ll look at samples to choose categories and make collaborative decisions about the content included (in other words, we will write your “assignment prompts” together). The work on this guide, coupled with our course readings and your independent research will help us explore questions such as: How do texts become actions? How and why do textual conventions develop? and How can we most effectively negotiate between individual purposes and textually-enabled purposes? These are the difficult genre questions but also the exciting ones!

Course Outcomes

The primary goal of this class will be for students to develop awareness of the strategies that successful writers use in different writing contexts. The goals of this course are as follows:

1) Genre Awareness - To produce complex written, oral and/or multimedia work that responds to the contexts and conventions of specific genres.

  • You can evaluate the style, tone, and conventions appropriate to particular situations and can assess both the potential for flexibility and the limitations within different genres.
  • You demonstrate a sense of purpose when writing a selected genre, showing an understanding of the genre’s social role beyond formulaic conventions
  • You demonstrate a clear understanding of audience, and can address and strategically pitch various aspects of the writing (content, structure, evidence, appeals, tone, sentence structure, and word choice) to that audience
  • You can articulate and assess the effects of your own and others’ writing choices.

2) Intertextuality: To read, analyze, and synthesize sources from various genres and purposefully incorporate appropriate evidence to generate and support work and communication.

  • You understand the types of sources you need to examine and respond to in order to produce effective work within a chosen genre.
  • Sources are used in strategic, focused ways (e.g. summarized, cited, applied, challenged, re-contextualized) to support your goals.
  • Your writing is “intertextual,” meaning that a "conversation" between multiple kinds of sources is created in support of your goals.
  • Your work demonstrates an appropriate method of integrating and documenting sources.

3) Revision: To develop flexible strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading writing.

  • You understand that soliciting, offering, and responding to feedback is essential to the process of making substantial and successful revision.
  • Your work responds to substantive issues raised by the instructor and your peers to demonstrate substantial and successful revision.
  • Errors of grammar, punctuation, and mechanics are proofread and edited so as not to interfere with reading and understanding the work.


Catalog Description: 
Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 15, 2016 - 3:31pm