ENGL 111 O: Composition: Literature

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 12:30pm - 1:20pm
SWS B010
Aaron Ottinger

Syllabus Description:

English 111, Composition: Literature

Rhetorical Approaches to Writing and Literature
Spring 2015



SWS B010

Instructor: Aaron Ottinger
Office: Padelford B5N
Office Phone: 
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-2:30pm

Location: Padelford B5N
Email: ajo3@uw.edu


Course description:

This course takes a rhetorical approach to reading literature and writing college-level essays, with a focus on the Romantic period and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. The first half of this course is devoted to understanding that what and how we write is determined by our “rhetorical situation,” that is, the author's problem, purpose, audience, medium, and genre. In their first major paper, students will analyze Shelley’s rhetorical situation and investigate how her situation determined the content of her novel.

Students will investigate “rhetorical appeals” in the second half of the course. Students will have the opportunity to build their own adaptation of Frankenstein in hopes of connecting to a 21st century audience. Students will have to select an appropriate medium and genre for their project and investigate how that platform and its content appeal to the audience’s sense of logic (logos), emotion (pathos), credibility (ethos), the opportune moment (kairos), or the interplay between several rhetorical appeals. Through this interactive and multimodal project, students will learn how to demystify, critique, and deploy rhetorical appeals effectively to attract particular audiences.

Rather than feed students a list of rules for “good” writing, this course asks students to consider the consequences of being immersed in rhetorical situations and always making rhetorical appeals.

Course outcomes
By the end of English 101, students who earn a 2.0 or higher will be able to:

Course Outcomes

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

  • The student’s work employs writing conventions appropriate to the demands of a particular rhetorical 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.
  • A clear understanding of plagiarism is demonstrated through proper citation of all sources; the writing is free from instances of plagiarism
  • A clear understanding of the work’s overall strengths and weaknesses is demonstrated, and areas for future improvement are identified and understood


English 111 includes two major assignment sequences. Short assignments (SA) prepare students for major assignments (MA1&2). The short assignments are roughly 500 words each and the major assignments are roughly 1,500-1,700 words each. It is important to complete each assignment because they are connected and follow one another in a logical sequence.

All student work will be posted to an individual website that the student will design and build. These websites can remain private, so that only the student and instructor may view them, or they can remain open to the public at the student’s discretion. Once a final grade has been awarded to students for the class, it is their responsibility to either maintain or eliminate their website. I encourage students to save copies of their work for future reference through other media (external hard drive, Google docs, hard copies). 

Course Assignments

In this course you will complete 5 short assignments (each roughly, 500 words), and two major assignments (roughly 1,500-1,700 words).  For the portfolio you will revise and resubmit the two major assignments along with a cover letter detailing your understanding of the course outcomes and their importance (roughly 1,000-1,500 words).





Portfolio (70%)


Toward the end of the course, having completed the two sequences, you will be asked to compile and submit a portfolio of your work along with a portfolio cover letter. The portfolio will include the following:


- Major assignments 1 and 2

- A cover letter explaining how the portfolio demonstrates the course outcomes


In addition, the portfolio will include all of the papers you do not revise, as well as sequence-related work you were assigned in the course (such as first drafts and peer review handouts). A portfolio that does not include all the above will be considered "Incomplete" and will earn a grade of 0.0-0.9. (this should be easy to manage since everything will be connected to your website).


The grade for complete portfolios will be based on the extent to which you demonstrate your fulfillment and understanding of the course outcomes through revisions and the cover letter. The portfolio will be worth 70% of your final grade.


Because you will not be turning in your portfolio until the end of the quarter, you will not be graded on any of your assignments until that time. The great benefit of this portfolio system is that you are able to develop new skills and techniques before being assessed. Therefore, your grade will be based on how well you address the course outcomes at the end of the quarter rather than the beginning.


All of your materials for the portfolio will be included on your website.


Evaluation Rubric

Throughout the quarter, your papers will receive feedback to help you identify what you are doing well and what you need to improve.  The following evaluation rubric will be used as part of my feedback:

- 97-100: Offers a very highly proficient demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), including some appropriate risk-taking and/or creativity.

- 92-96: Offers a proficient demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), which could be further enhanced with revision.

- 87-91: Effectively demonstrates the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), but less proficiently; could use revision to demonstrate more skillful command of trait(s).

- 84-86: Minimally meets the basic outcome(s) requirement, but the demonstrated trait(s) are not fully realized or well-controlled and would benefit from significant revision.

- 80 or below: Does not meet the outcome(s) requirement; the traits are not adequately demonstrated and require substantial revision on multiple levels.



Participation (30%)


Class Participation:


You will be expected to contribute something to class—question or comment—at least once a week. You must arrive on time for scheduled one-on-one conferences.  Everyone begins with a full 30%.  Every time you fail to meet one of the above expectations, 2 percentage points will be subtracted from your participation grade.         



Course Policies





You are required to meet with me for all scheduled conferences to discuss your work. These conferences give you the opportunity to get feedback about your papers/projects and to express any concerns, questions, or suggestions you might have about the course or the assignments. Conferences are mandatory and, if missed, will affect your participation grade (each scheduled conference is worth two percentage points). I will be flexible with respect to your schedules, but once your conference is scheduled, it is your responsibility to be present and on time.


Late Work


Turn your work in on time.  If you can’t, talk to me in person or send an email asking for an extension. I reserve the right to not comment on late work. 





Please let me know if you need accommodation of any sort so that I can work with the UW Disability Services Office (DSO) to provide what you require. 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. More information is available at: http://www.washington.edu/admin/dso/






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 plagiarizing any piece of writing in this class will be reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review.





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 staff in Padelford, Room A-11:


Anis Bawarshi, Director: 543-2190 or bawarshi@u.washington.edu


If, after speaking with the Director of Expository Writing or one of the Assistant Directors, you are still not satisfied with the response you receive, you may contact Gary Handwerk, English Department Chair, in Padelford, Room A-101, at 543-2690.



Daily Calendar:



Homework/Due Dates

1) 3/30: meet and greet






Read syllabus and bring one question with you to class for 3/31



Skills Acquisition:

Rhetorical Situations


Answer questions regarding the syllabus


Discuss vocabulary


Read Contexts for Inquiry, 22-54

and on “Definitions,” 444-45


Read the Preface to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein







Assignment: SA1: Problem and Purpose







Literary Discussion: Wordsworth’s “problem” and “purpose” in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800) vs. Mary Shelley’s “problem” and “purpose” in the Preface to Frankenstein


Write: SA1. Bring to class for Monday (even if it is unfinished)


Collect 2-3 definitions for “problem” and “purpose”

using dictionaries (including the Oxford English Dictionary—located on the UW Library homepage).




Read Williams on “problems” (189-90) (located in “Modules”)


Read this page on “purpose” from the website Writing Commons


Discuss other possible purposes for writing

Read Frankenstein, “Introduction,” and 5-60. Answer questions on handout, “Frankenstein Questions Vol. 1”


Read for 1/13, John Fiske, “Understanding Popular Culture.” Answer questions on Fiske handout (text and handout under “Modules” on Canvas)


Read Contexts for Inquiry, 55-93 (feel free to read some of the sample essays as you see fit). Bring one question with respect to the reading for class on 4/6.


Build website (instructions under “Modules”)



2) 4/6


Skills Acquisition: topic sentences


Assignment: SA2: “Incorporating Audience, Audience Resistance”

Answer questionsregarding Contexts for Inquiry


Process SA1: check topic sentences




Watch Slavoj Zizek video on "ideology":


Bring with you to class (4/7) one question about the video.

Finish reading Fiske





Answer questions regarding Zizek on “ideology”



Group work: Handout on Fiske’s “Understanding Popular Culture”


Discuss Fiske








 Skills Acquisition: Body paragraphs and the dialectical method



Demonstration: Slavoj Zizek on “commodities”


Lecture: How does Fiske use the dialectical method to explain popular culture? How can we use the dialectical method in our writing?


Peer-review: Examples of SA2
















 Literary Discussion: Fiske and Frankenstein: Dominant Powers, Subordinate Audiences, and Disfiguring Writing









Due Friday at midnight: SA1


Read Frankenstein, vol. 2, 61-105. Answer questions on handout, “FrankensteinQuestions, vol. 2”


Read Abrams on “genre” and “Gothic novel” (for Monday) and McLuhan (for Wednesday), and answer questions on McLuhan handout (texts and handouts under “Modules” on Canvas)


Read Contexts for Inquiry, 94-127 (bring with you one question regarding reading for 3/13)




3) 4/13



Discuss: SA3, “Medium and Genre”



Answer questions regarding Contexts for Inquiry 94-127



Group Work: Handout on Abrams’ definition of genre and Gothic novel.





Read Contexts for Inquiry 214-51. Bring to class on 1/22 one question regarding “reading intertextually.”








Skills acquisition: quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing

Practice quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing Abrams



Role Play: Inappropriate genre conventions



Finish reading McLuhan and answer handout questions







Group work: Handout regarding McLuhan’s text.


Discuss: how “hot” or “cold” are the various adaptations of Frankenstein?







Literary Discussion: How do the media and genres of Frankenstein condition vol. II?



Group Work: Analyzing Rhetorical Situation: Plan skits


Due Friday: SA2


Read Frankenstein, vol. 3, 107-161. Answer questions on handout, “Frankenstein Questions, Vol. 3”


Read Contexts for Inquiry 173-187


4) 4/20


Group Work: Analyzing Rhetorical Situation: Plan skits



Finish reading Frankenstein





Group Work: Analyzing Rhetorical Situation: Perform skits


ReadContexts for Inquiry on claims, 191-213, 321-338






Discuss: MA1: Rhetorical Situations in Frankenstein



Skills Acquisition: Introductions (context, conversation, claim, stakes)


Peer-review: examples of introductions from MA1




Group Work: Planning the introduction






Skills Acquisition: antithesis (or the “big turn”)



Peer-review: examples of the “turning paragraph” from MA1



Group Work: Planning the essay (MA1)


Due Friday: SA3


Write MA1.

Email introductory paragraphs to instructor by 12pm 4/27



5) 4/27

Class-wide peer review






Write 1-2 body paragraphs for MA1


Read Contexts for Inquiry 339-44


Location: Computer Lab



Collaborate: peer review introductions and two body paragraphs of MA1





Skills acquisition: synthesis


Skills acquisition: conclusions
















Discuss SA4: Making Frankenstein Matter in 2015



Pick SA4 group: Each group should select one secondary essay on Frankenstein to inform their project


Due Friday: MA1


Meet/discuss with group members and plan SA4 before 5/6 class


Read Contexts for Inquiry on rhetorical appeals, 372-396. Bring one question regarding the text to class for 5/4.




6) 5/4


Discuss: logos, ethos, pathos, kairos




Rhetorical analysis of Frankenstein adaptations and secondary materials (films, book covers, literary analyses, reviews, comics)

Group work: Select groups for SA4. Work on planning sheet.



Read Contexts for Inquiry on “reading visual texts,” 365-70.


Group work: Meet with SA4 groups




Group work: Final meeting with SA4 groups







Group presentations: SA4

Due Friday: MA1


Read George Sample, “What’s Wrong With Writing Essays,” Sample Reality (blog)


Read Susan Tyler Hitchcock, “The Monster Lives On,” Frankenstein (263-70)





7) 5/11

Discuss: MA2: Making Frankenstein Relevant in 2015 pt. II


Skills Acquisition:

Citing websites, in-text citations, embedding links, citing images, works cited


Discuss: Sample, “What’s Wrong with Writing Essays?”








Peer-Review: Examples of introductions from MA2





Group Work: Planning the essay: Introduction

Write introductions to MA2




Review peer-evaluations of SA4

Discuss: Antithesis and Synthesis in MA2


Group Work: Planning the essay: body paragraphs


Write first half of MA2

 Read Williams on “Correctness”


8) 5/18




Discuss Williams on “Correctness”




Finish MA2


Read Contexts for Inquiry 469-73, 490-93



Skills Acquisition: Revising for Style






Skills Acquisition: Revising for Focus, Content, and Organization













Location: Computer Lab: Odegaard 102




Due before class 5/26: MA2


Read Contexts for Inquiry on “Portfolios” 495-517, 520-1 (“Tips for Reflecting on the Questions”)


9) 5/25








Discuss: Portfolios

Discuss: cover letters



In-class exercise: revise sample cover letters




Start writing cover letter


Read Contexts for Inquiry on revision and responding to feedback, 447-468.




Planning the cover letter

Responding to instructor/peer feedback





Planning the cover letter

Responding to instructor/peer feedback

Write cover letters. Bring a digital copy of your cover letter (addressing at least one outcome) for 6/2.


10) 6/2

Location: Computer Lab


Collaborate: Peer review cover letters





No regularly scheduled class


One-on-One Conferences: See schedule




Location: Computer Lab



Discussion: What we’ve accomplished






No regularly scheduled class




Class field trip: Seattle Art Museum, meet in the upstairs lobby at 7pm (optional $5 donations for the museum)



11) Finals week


Portfolios due: 6/11 at 10am



Catalog Description: 
Study and practice of good writing; topics derived from reading and discussing stories, poems, essays, and plays. 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)
Last updated: 
April 1, 2016 - 8:59am