ENGL 131 M: Composition: Exposition

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
CMU 243
Alycia Gilbert

Syllabus Description:

Location/Time: Communications Building, Room 243
Instructor: Alycia Gilbert
Office: Savery 417
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 11:30-12:30PM
Email: amgilb@uw.edu

English 131 M


Course Description

Welcome to English 131, the introductory writing course at UW! This course will equip you with the rhetorical skills necessary to identify the target audiences, contexts, and strategies at play in a variety of situations, and how to apply those rhetorical skills within your own writing and editing processes, no matter your later academic discipline.

The lens by which we’ll approach our rhetorical analyses will be adaptation, the process in which an original text is edited, repurposed, or re-envisioned in a different genre, medium, or context. When a text undergoes adaptation, the rhetorical situation shifts; the adaptation may employ different strategies, rely on visual media, promote an entirely different argument, or exist in an altered context.

Together, we’ll be reading different texts—both creative and analytical, primary and secondary—to determine how adaptation engages questions of genre, tone, strategy, and the overall arguments made by these texts. Some of these texts will be literary (don’t start panicking, we’ll get through it), while most will be drawn from popular culture, like music videos, songs, visual art, and film (your everyday, “real life” texts). The class will be centered around adaptation within four different concepts:

  • Adaptation as a political act
  • Adaptation in relation to race
  • Adaptation in relation to gender
  • Adaptation as an act of commodification (We’re coming for you, Disney)

Even though our work with adaptation will include critical engagement with a variety of sources, English 131 is ultimately a writing course. Therefore, our approach to these themes and the course texts will primarily analyze rhetorical choices and the broader ethical issues raised by adaptation (for example, the issue of whitewashing when adapting stories with characters of color (looking at you, Ghost in the Shell)). Our focus on identifying rhetorical situations and choices, as well as integrating these ideas into your own writing, will both develop your ability to create complex rhetorical arguments and help you grow into a more conscious consumer of popular culture.

Required Texts

  • Writer/Thinker/Maker: Approaches to Composition, Rhetoric, and Research for the University of WA
  • Regular access to Canvas online, which will be necessary for submitting assignments and accessing outside readings that I’ve uploaded


Course Assignments

In this course, you will complete two assignment sequences, each of which is designed to help you fulfill our four major outcomes. Each assignment sequence requires you to write several shorter papers that lead up to a major paper. These shorter papers will target one or more of the course outcomes, give you space to practice these outcomes, and build toward a major paper at the end of each sequence.

Assessment Portfolio (70% of Course Grade)

After working through the two main assignment sequences, you will have the chance to revise significantly one (or both!) of the major papers using feedback generated from my comments, peer review sessions, and writing conferences. Toward the end of the course, you’ll be asked to compile and submit a portfolio of your work along with a critical reflection.

The portfolio will include the following:

  • 1-2 major papers
  • 2-3 of the shorter assignments
  • Critical reflection that explains how your portfolio demonstrates the four course outcomes
  • In addition to the materials you select as the basis for your portfolio grade, your portfolio must include a “compendium”—all of the sequence-related writing you were assigned in the course (both major papers and all the shorter assignments from both sequences, that fulfil all aspects of the assignments).

Note: 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 pieces you select demonstrate the course outcomes.

Participation (30% of Course Grade)

Participation includes attendance, in-class work, and completion of homework (that’s on-time and fulfils the assignment’s requirements). Not only do I keep track of what you’re turning in, I will also be assessing its quality. If you ever have any questions about how you are doing in this regard, feel free to see me during my office hours.


You are expected to be an active participant in class, so always come prepared to contribute to the discussion and engage in activities. When you miss class, you miss the opportunity to complete graded participation activities. You will not be penalized for the first two classes that you miss. All subsequent absences will result in a deduction from your participation grade. If you are absent, come to my office hours to see what you missed and/or ask another class member for notes. Make up all missed work in a timely manner, or it will not be eligible for your final portfolio.

You are also expected to arrive on time for class. I won’t waste your time, so don’t waste the class’s time with disruptive tardiness. I understand that UW is a large campus, and that the transit system is a cruel god. Let me know if you’re consistently having issues getting to class on time, and we’ll discuss your options. If you are regularly late, and we haven’t discussed your situation, you will be marked absent from that day of class, which will be reflected in your participation grade.


You are required to meet with me two times during the quarter in 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. I will provide you with a sign-up sheet for these conferences and detailed instructions about how to prepare for them.

Late Work
All paper assignments are due before class (at 11:29 AM) on the due date, unless otherwise specified. Often, Canvas assignments will be due on Sundays at 11:59 PM. Unless you have made prior arrangements with me, I will not give written feedback on any assignments that are turned in late, and late assignments will negatively affect your participation grade. You will still need to complete late work, as your portfolio must include all assignments to receive a passing grade. Consistently turning in late work will make successful completion of the portfolio nearly impossible and will be disastrous for your participation grade.



Code of Conduct

Because of our pedagogical philosophy and our field of discipline, we at the English department have a zero tolerance rule for hate speech. According to the American Bar Association, hate speech is “any speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.” While this could and does apply to many groups, hate speech is a violence, and that these violences do not impact everyone equally. Rather, the force of their impacts is dependent on systems of power. Marginalized communities and people are vulnerable to and impacted by such speech in ways that groups or individuals in power are not. With this in mind, we will interpret “hate speech” to be any forms of speech that targets already vulnerable people/communities. Racism and xenophobia will not be tolerated in this course, nor will transphobia, homophobia, ableism, classism, or other statements or practices that uphold white supremacy.

Academic Integrity

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 Holly Shelton, hshelton@uw.edu, and Olivia Hernandez, ojh26@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/.

Campus Safety (www.washington.edu/safecampus)

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.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert.

Odegaard Writing and Research Center

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for undergraduate, graduate, and professional writers in all fields at the UW. We will work with writers on any writing or research project, as well as personal projects such as applications or personal statements. Our tutors and librarians collaborate with writers at any stage of the writing and research process, from brainstorming and identifying sources to drafting and making final revisions. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please see our website (http://depts.washington.edu/owrc), or come visit us in person on the first floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library.



Outcome 1

To compose strategically for a variety of audiences and contexts, both within and outside the university, by…

  • recognizing how different elements of a rhetorical situation matter for the task at hand and affect the options for composing and distributing texts;
  • coordinating, negotiating, and experimenting with various aspects of composing—such as genre, content, conventions, style, language, organization, appeals, media, timing, and design—for diverse rhetorical effects tailored to the given audience, purpose, and situation;
  • assessing and articulating the rationale for and effects of composing choices.

Outcome 2

To work strategically with complex information in order to generate and support inquiry by…

  • reading, analyzing, and synthesizing a diverse range of texts and understanding the situations in which those texts are participating;
  • using reading and writing strategies to craft research questions that explore and respond to complex ideas and situations;
  • gathering, evaluating, and making purposeful use of primary and secondary materials appropriate for the writing goals, audience, genre, and context;
  • creating a ‘conversation’—identifying and engaging with meaningful patterns across ideas, texts, experiences, and situations;
  • using citation styles appropriate for the genre and context.

Outcome 3

To craft persuasive, complex, inquiry-driven arguments that matter by

  • considering, incorporating, and responding to different points of view while developing one’s own position;
  • engaging in analysis—the close scrutiny and examination of evidence, claims, and assumptions to explore and support a line of inquiry;
  • understanding and accounting for the stakes and consequences of various arguments for diverse audiences and within ongoing conversations and contexts;
  • and designing/organizing with respect to the demands of the genre, situation, audience, and purpose.

Outcome 4

To practice composing as a recursive, collaborative process and to develop flexible strategies for revising throughout the composition process by

  • engaging in a variety of (re)visioning techniques, including (re)brainstorming, (re)drafting,
  • (re)reading, (re)writing, (re)thinking, and editing;
  • giving, receiving, interpreting, and incorporating constructive feedback;
  • and refining and nuancing composition choices for delivery to intended audiences in a manner consonant with the genre, situation, and desired rhetorical effects and meanings.


Fall Quarter 2017: TTH schedule for Pathway 2


in-class activities


Thu 9/28


First Day of Instruction

  • Introductions: Who am I, who are you, and isn’t adaptation a biology thing?
  • Meet Our Syllabus
  • Preliminary Essay (more chill than it sounds)

“Pop Culture Meets the Academy” (Durand).

First canvas post, Preliminary Essay, due Sunday at 11:59 P.M.


  • Rhet. Awareness p.13-18 ;
  • Starting with “Mapping the Text” p. 114- 119
  • Rhet. Analysis p. 148-149
  • Visual Rhetoric p. 151-155, 169-171




Tue 10/3


  • Introducing Rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric
  • “Pop Culture Meets the Academy”
  • Discussing SA #1


  • “Steps for Determining and Composing for Your Audience” chart p. 34
  • “Assessing Your Audience” p. 35 - 36
  • “Blogs” p. 173 - 174

Work on SA #1

Thu 10/5


SA #1 Due

  • Context
  • Privileging Texts
  • Introduce SA #2


  • “Setting the Record Straight” (McCloud)
  • “The Veil” (Satrapi)
  • Genre Awareness p. 51-60

Bring 3 different examples of genres to class on 10/10





Tue 10/10

  • McCloud and Satrapi
  • Genre Conventions
  • Genre Awareness Bowl

Sandman: Dream Country “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (pdf and response on canvas).

Finish SA #2

Thu 10/12

SA #2 Due

  • Sandman
  • Arguable Claims
  • Introducing SA #3 and MP #1

Choose SA #3 text and write canvas post explaining your choice of text by Sunday at 11:59 P.M.


  • Appeals p. 107-109, 118-119, 220-223

Carrie, Chapters 1,2 (pdf on Canvas)




Tue 10/17

  • Rhetorical Appeals and Trailers
  • Identifying Literary Claims
  • Analyzing Class Source Text, Carrie

Appeals Analysis of "Give Ghosts a Chance" review on Canvas due Wednesday 11:59 PM

W/T/M229 - 231

Work on SA #3

Thu 10/19

SA #3 Due

  • Peer Review
  • Writing Claims

W/T/M: TBD, Integrating Research, sources

Watch your MP1 adaptation, work on MP #1




Tue 10/24

Conferences on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

W/T/M: “Animating Failure”, p. 514

Work on MP#1

Canvas Post due Sunday 11:59 PM: Create a brief Writer’s Memo (formal, about 300-500 words) for you SA #3, incorporating the feedback you were given during your peer review.

“Anatomy of a Scene: The Many Endings of Carrie”

Thu 10/26

MP #1 Due

Finishing Film Analysis of Carrie

Shifting Gears—Why Do We Adapt?

Introducing SA #4, Sexism and Adaptation


SA #4 Texts

Canvas Post: Writer’s Memo on MP #1, Shifting into Ethics brainstorm




Tue 10/31

Spooky Halloween Shenanigans

Genre Translation and Soundtrack Exercise

Ghostbusters—Reboot vs Remake



"Report from Planet Midnight”

Ghost in the Shell debate LA Times

Thu 11/2

SA 4 Due

Representation in Adaptation Ethics, Identifying Areas of Controversy-Hamilton, The Cursed Child, RENT, and more!

Introducing SA #5, Introduce MP #2



HW: “Teaching Children to Discriminate”

“Orientalism” excerpt

Mapping Line of Inquiry Canvas





Tue 11/7


Library Visit Tied into SA #5


Research Proposal on Canvas

Above Reading Cont.


Thu 11/9

SA 5 Due

Introductions and Conclusions, Transitions
Frankenpaper in-class assignment

EDIT: We worked further with Said and Lippi-Green, Reading Questions









Tue 11/14

Disney Day!

Topic Sentences

Work on MP #2

Fill out the Visual Essay Organizer on Canvas, and email it to me by Wednesday 11:59 PM

Thu 11/16

MP 2 Due
EDIT: I was absent due to a head injury, wow!





Tue 11/21


Major Project Peer-Review
Citation and Source Integration

Work on MP Revision

Thu 11/23


Major Project Revision/SA #6 due Sunday, 11/26, 11:59 PM

NO CLASS: Thanksgiving!





Tue 11/28


Re-introducing the Portfolio
Looking at sample portfolios
Reviewing Our Outcomes

Portfolio Planning Worksheet

Thu 11/30


Portfolio Work!
Revising SA #5
Rhetorical Grammar

 Work on portfolios




Tue 12/5


Critical Reflection Brainstorming/Drafting
Course Evals
Rhetorical Grammar

 Work on portfolios

Thu 12/7


No class! Conferencing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Finish those portfolios for the final!



Portfolios Due Monday, 12/11, 11:59PM

Last Day of Instruction for University:  Fri 12/8

Finals Week:  Sat 12/9-Fri 12/15

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)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 10:30pm