ENGL 299 B: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Natural Sciences

Meeting Time: 
MWF 1:30pm - 2:20pm
SMI 405
Megan Callow
Megan Callow
IWP - Link with BIOL 200

Syllabus Description:

ENGL299B Syllabus Fall '15.docx 

BIOL200 Syllabus Fall '15

ENGL299B - Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing: Natural Sciences 

Course Information:

Class Time: M,W,F 1:30-2:20 and Canvas

Classroom: Smith 405

Instructor: Megan Callow

Office Hours: M, W 2:30-3:30

E-mail: mcallow@uw.edu

Additional Required meetings: Three major essay conferences with the instructor and classmates (by appointment) 

Description: ENGL299A: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing for the Natural Sciences (Instructor: Dr. Megan Callow) is linked with BIOL200: Introductory Biology (Instructor: Dr. Amanda Schivell). Although the two courses complement each other, they have distinct goals, activities, and assessments. Our focus in ENGL299B is on the creation of knowledge in science through writing: (1) how does writing contribute to our understanding of the natural world, and (2) how can we write effectively in the sciences, as well as in other disciplines? We address these questions as we read, carefully re-read and discuss bioscience writing and commit our responses to writing. We use a process of annotationparaphrase, and outlining of research questions, experimental methods, and findings to examine the significance of the science writing we read. As we compose and revise our own draft responses, we place special emphasis on the purposes different types of science writing serve in framing scientific questions, and in reporting new science knowledge and debate. Namely, through our writing we seek to understand the way any one scientific study enters into conversation with other studies in an area of research.  

Learning Goals:

  • Read texts by academic and professional participants in the discipline, identifying such writers' purposes and recognizing rhetorical principles that underlie genres in the field.
  • Analyze writing tasks assigned in a disciplinary context.
  • Identify or generate material relevant to discipline-based paper assignments; draft and revise arguments as a participant in your disciplinary context; and respond to arguments by other participants.
  • Use critical comments on your work, and writing activity itself, to extend and refine your thinking.
  • Grasp, employ, or pursue implications of new learning in the discipline to the BIOL 200 lecture course.
  • Relate the writing you have done in this course to your past writing in other relevant contexts, and anticipate in more specific terms new kinds of writing expectations you are likely to confront, some for fellow science students and professionals, some for a science interested general public. 


  • Attend each class session and participate fully in course activities. This includes logging into Canvas daily, preparing for class, asking questions, contributing to group work and class discussion, while completing assignments on time and with your best efforts.
  • Email is a professional tool, and you are expected to use and check your UW email everyday. This is how your instructors communicate with you, and “I didn’t check my email” is not a legitimate excuse for missing an important update.
  • Show respect for all individuals and demonstrate responsibility in groups. Many activities in science inquiry and science writing are collaborative in nature and success depends on the contributions and insights generated by close collaboration.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to incorporate feedback and to grow as a scientist and writer; debate and feedback are fundamental to the development and testing of scientific questions.
  • Share your questions, concerns and insights clearly and regularly with both peers and instructors.
  • Conduct yourself with academic honesty (completing your own work and acknowledging any contributions of others). Do not deprive yourself of opportunities to challenge yourself and learn.
  • What other expectations do you have of yourself? Of the instructor? 

Canvas course site and Assignments: 

Check the course site in Canvas and your UW email regularly for announcements and assignments. You will submit assignments in MS Word format whenever possible electronically directly to Canvas, or will write (or copy) written responses onto Wiki pages in Canvas. Additional instructions will be provided by the instructor, and online assistance is available from the associated help centers (http://www.washington.edu/itconnect/learn/tools/canvas/canvas-help-for-s...). In-class activities may also be legibly hand-written and later scanned and posted to the Canvas drop-box. 

Recommended Resources:

  • A Pocket Style Manual (7th Edition) by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers (a quick guide to matters of style, grammar and additional writing resources)
  • Biology 200 textbook, lecture, and lab manual content.

Participation: In-class activities cannot be completed at another time. If you are unable to participate in class due to illness, family emergency, or UW-recognized event, email the instructor before class or as soon as possible. An excused absence from participation may require appropriate documentation.

Grading: Your final grade will be determined from three papers (25,%, 25% and 30% each with your strongest draft given the most weight) and homework / class participation (20%). You must both post to the Canvas site and retain all course materials, including in-class activities, assignments, and comments.

Guides, Policies, and Resources: Check the course website, under Pages, for additional guides, policies, and resources, including Collaborating Online, Searching for Scientific Literature, and Supporting Your Learning & Writing.

Course Schedule:

The schedule is subject to instructor-announced changes. Check the course website and your email regularly for announcements and assignments. Note: Assignments are listed in bold font. Our assignment calendar has been updated for Week 1. Further updates will follow and be accompanied by announcements.

I’m looking forward to a challenging and rewarding quarter!


Class Schedule

Unless otherwise noted, all assignments

 should be submitted before class starts on the day they are due.




·    Submit Assn. 7.0

·    Read and bring a (hard or digital) copy of “The Role of Telomeres in Stem Cells and Cancer.” Post to discussion forum (Assn 7.1)

·    Mapping a lit. review activity

·    For next time: meet in Suzzallo Computer Lab. Please bring any sources you already have for ME3.








·    Meet in Suzzallo Computer Lab today. Biological Sciences librarian Kathy Carr will review search practices, and will support us as we search for lit. review sources.

·    For next time: Map your own lit. review (see Assn 8.1)

·    For next time: please bring a fully charged laptop to class



·    Complete the Mapping your Lit. Review assignment (Assn 8.1), and bring all associated materials to class.


·    For next time: read both sample lit. reviews posted in Week 8



·    Come prepared to discuss sample lit. reviews

·    Norming activity: Apply ME3 rubric to sample lit. reviews

·    For next time: Bring a HARD COPY draft of your introductory paragraph(s) for ME3, plus any notes or outline for remainder of draft. Submit in Assn. 9.0






·    Submit Assn. 9.0, and bring hard copy to class

·    Pre-Peer Review Activity

·    Sign up for Peer Review Conferences, 12/3 & 12/4




NO CLASS: Thanksgiving



NO CLASS: Thanksgiving






·    Submit rough draft of Major Essay 3, and bring to class

·    Start on peer review work; discuss issues with peers/instructor; prepare for Peer Review Conferences.



·    Bring hard or digital copies of drafts, along with completed peer review reports, for each member of your conference group (please bring a hard copy of your own paper)

·    After peer conferences are over, submit your Peer Conference Report in Canvas (Assn. 10.0)

·    CLASS CANCELED for Peer Review Conferences on Th & F (to be held in my office, A18 Padelford)



·    Bring hard or digital copies of drafts, along with completed peer review reports, for each member of your conference group (please bring a hard copy of your own paper)

·    After peer conferences are over, submit your Peer Conference Report in Canvas (Assn. 10.0)

·    CLASS CANCELED for Peer Review Conferences on Th & F (to be held in my office, A18 Padelford)








·    Class activity TBA

·    For next time: Submit final draft of Major Essay 3



·    Submit final draft of Major Essay 3 in Canvas

·    Major Essay 3 debrief




·    Last Day of Classes: Class debrief





Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified natural science course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytical prose. Concurrent registration in the specified course required. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 12:38pm