ENGL 281 B: Intermediate Expository Writing

Summer Term: 
A-term
Meeting Time: 
MTWT
Location: 
MGH
SLN: 
11319
Instructor:
Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges
Kimberlee Gillis-Bridges

Syllabus Description:

Course Description

 

“Life is bewildering, and what’s interesting, it seems to me, about coming to new places, as well as about coming to writing, is that you get to feel things that are altogether strange and unfamiliar to you. One mark of a novice traveler is his impulse to attribute qualities to places that then allow him to feel at home. By insisting that places conform to the truth he already knows, he is imposing upon them a whole series of expectations, untenable and invariable, that the locations cannot accommodate. . . .The real story lurks underneath—in history, in the environment itself, and in the people living there now.”—Frances McCue. The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs: Revisiting the Northwest Towns of Richard Hugo. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2010. 4.

In this course students will work individually and in groups to research Seattle communities in the Chinatown/International District and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. We will focus on what we see when we arrive in these new places, and what we discover as we bring together various ways of knowing where “the real story lurks.” The instructor and UW librarians will train students in a variety of research methods, including observation, census data, local history, local and regional newspapers, mapping, community web sites and interviews. Throughout the research process, students studying the same neighborhood will share information and respond to each other’s ideas-in-progress. Students will write in a range of genres: unobtrusive observations, field notes, researcher’s notebook entries, posters, individual research reports, exploratory reflections and co-authored projects. Writers will receive frequent peer and instructor feedback on their work. The course concludes with individual students’ reflecting on what they have learned and on how their writing in this class transfers to other writing occasions. The design and topic of this course accommodate a broad range of disciplinary approaches to understanding urban communities.

While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory writing course before enrolling in English 281.

 

Goals and Methodology

 

Students in the course work toward several goals:

  • Employing a variety of research methods (observation, interview, video recording, photography, library research of newspapers, maps and government documents) to investigate a selected Seattle community and evaluating the effective uses and limitations of research methods;
  • Independently developing research questions informed by course readings and activities;
  • Synthesizing, analyzing and drawing connections among research data;
  • Formulating and revising conclusions throughout the research and writing process;
  • Producing complex written, oral and/or multimedia work that demonstrates awareness of audience, purpose and specific genre conventions and strategically incorporates appropriate evidence;
  • Using writing to reflect on learning; and
  • Working collaboratively with teachers, librarians and peers.

English 281 is computer-integrated, with students moving between a wired seminar room and a computer lab during most class meetings. The lab setting allows students to view and offer feedback on their peers' work, collaborate on group activities, and conduct online research. However, technical savvy is not a course prerequisite; students will receive instruction in all technical tools used in the classroom.

Additional Details:

“Life is bewildering, and what’s interesting, it seems to me, about coming to new places, as well as about coming to writing, is that you get to feel things that are altogether strange and unfamiliar to you. One mark of a novice traveler is his impulse to attribute qualities to places that then allow him to feel at home. By insisting that places conform to the truth he already knows, he is imposing upon them a whole series of expectations, untenable and invariable, that the locations cannot accommodate. . . .The real story lurks underneath—in history, in the environment itself, and in the people living there now.”—Frances McCue. The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs: Revisiting the Northwest Towns of Richard Hugo. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2010. 4.

In this course students will work individually and in groups to research Seattle communities in the Chinatown/International District and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. We will focus on what we see when we arrive in these new places, and what we discover as we bring together various ways of knowing where “the real story lurks.” The instructor and UW librarians will train students in a variety of research methods, including observation, census data, local history, local and regional newspapers, mapping, community web sites and interviews. Throughout the research process, students studying the same neighborhood will share information and respond to each other’s ideas-in-progress. Students will write in a range of genres: unobtrusive observations, field notes, researcher’s notebook entries, posters, individual research reports, exploratory reflections and co-authored projects. Writers will receive frequent peer and instructor feedback on their work. The course concludes !
with individual students’ reflecting on what they have learned and on how their writing in this class transfers to other writing occasions. The design and topic of this course accommodate a broad range of disciplinary approaches to understanding urban communities.

While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory writing course before enrolling in English 281.

Catalog Description: 
Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:28am