ENGL 131 A8: Composition: Exposition

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:30am - 10:20am
EEB 054
Gibran Escalera

Syllabus Description:


English 131A8: Introduction to Composition: Writing for the University and Beyond

Gibran Escalera | Winter 2016 | University of Washington

Office: Padelford Hall A505                                                    Class Location: EEB 054

Office Hours: Friday 1:00-3:00 (or by appointment)               Class Time: MTWTh 9:30-10:20

Email: escalg@uw.edu                                                            Class Site: via Canvas

Course Overview:

This course prepares you to write coherent and persuasive academic arguments relevant to a university setting and beyond. In order to develop this proficiency, you will be required to consistently read and write, and your ability to maintain a focused engagement on these assignments in large part determines your grade in this course. Throughout the quarter, the essays we craft target four outcomes: 1) Rhetorical Awareness, 2) Close Reading, 3) Argumentation and 4) Revision. A more extended definition of these outcomes is available below, and more importantly, we will demonstrate mastery of these during both in-class exercises and essay assignments. Additionally, while the class is portfolio-based, you cannot expect to succeed by waiting to ‘write better’ in the latter stages of the quarter. You must give your best, as I will give mine, from the very beginning. Similarly, each outcome is just as important as the others, so your energy has to be focused equally across the course objectives.

Rather than examine only one topic, we will practice academic inquiry by analyzing and interpreting a variety of cultural, sexual, and political issues found in the different writings of our course textbook Contexts for Inquiry. Inquiry is the process of observing, organizing, and analyzing information on a subject in order to: redefine it; revise it; clarify it; and sometimes even undo its foundational principles. While we study issues such as the benefits and disadvantages of digital spaces as the primary medium of distributing and consuming information; or the insights and consequences of hip-hop culture, our focus is always on systems of language. That is to say, at the center of the course is the inquiry of how different audiences construct both shared and distinct languages, and how these allow different communities to understand their respective worlds.

Required Texts:

Contexts for Inquiry (2013) by Bawarshi et al.


Everyday Writer (2013) by Andrea Lunsford

Sequence One Calendar (*Subject to Change):

Wi16 ENGL131A8 Sequence One Calendar.docx

Sequence Two Calendar (*Subject to Change):

Wi16 ENGL131A8 Sequence Two Calendar.docx





In this course, you will complete two major assignment sequences, each of which is designed to help you fulfill the course outcomes. Each assignment sequence requires you to complete a variety of shorter assignments leading up to a major paper. These shorter assignments will each target one or more of the course outcomes at a time, help you practice these outcomes, and allow you to build toward a major paper at the end of each sequence. You will have a chance to revise significantly each of the major papers using feedback generated by your instructor, peer review sessions, and writing conferences. 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 critical reflection. The portfolio will include the following: one of the two major papers, three to five of the shorter assignments, and a critical reflection that explains how the selected portfolio demonstrates the four outcomes for the course. In addition to the materials you select as the basis for your portfolio grade, your portfolio must include all of the sequence-related writing you were assigned in the course (both major papers and all the shorter assignments from both sequences). 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 essays you select demonstrate the course outcomes. The portfolio will be worth 70% of your final grade.


Peer Review 1: 10%

Peer Review 2: 10%

In class activities, homework assignments, quizzes, conference memos: 10%

Late Paper Policy:

Unless you check with me beforehand every paper is due on the date provided on the syllabus. No exceptions. For every day that a paper is late you incur a .10 deduction from your final grade. Late papers will not receive written comments. Further, it is your responsibility to pick up your essays when I return them. If you are absent when papers are returned you must make arrangements to collect your work.

Essay Format:

Unless otherwise specified all work you submit must be-

  • Submitted on the appropriate due date
  • Typed and double-spaced
  • Numbered
  • 12pt Times New Roman font
  • Formatted with 1” margins
  • In MLA form
  • Your name, my name, class name and date in the upper-left corner; original title centered

You will incur a .10 deduction from your final grade for not abiding by the above formatting guidelines.


You will upload your essays onto Canvas by 9:30 a.m. on the assigned due date. All essays must be written in the appropriate format. Finally, I must be able to open the file you upload. Therefore, you should double-check the accessibility of the essays you submit.


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.


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; Jacki Fiscus, jfiscus@uw.edu; Denise Grollmus, grolld@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.


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/.


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.
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For more information visit the SafeCampus website at www.washington.edu/safecampus.

Course Outcomes:

  1. To demonstrate an awareness of the strategies that writers use in different writing contexts.
  2. To read, analyze, and synthesize complex texts and incorporate multiple kinds of evidence purposefully in order to generate and support writing.
  3. To produce complex, analytic, persuasive arguments that matter in academic contexts.
  4. To develop flexible strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading writing.

Evaluation Rubric:

Outstanding (3.7-4.0): Offers a very highly proficient, even memorable demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), including some appropriate risk-taking and/or creativity.

Strong (3.1-3.6): Offers a proficient demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), which could be further enhanced with revision.

Good (2.5-3.0): Effectively demonstrates the trait(s) associate with the course outcome(s), but less proficiently; could use revision to demonstrate more skillful and nuanced command of trait(s).

Acceptable (2.4-2.0): 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.

Inadequate: Does not meet the outcome(s) requirement; the trait(s) are not adequately demonstrated and require substantial revision on multiple levels.

For a more thorough explanation of the rubric, see: Wi16 ENGL131A8 Grading Rubric.docx 



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: 
February 19, 2016 - 9:07am