ENGL 281 A: Intermediate Expository Writing

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:40am - 11:50am
BNS 115
Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill
Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill

Syllabus Description:

English 281A: C or W, A-term, M-Th 9:40-11:50English 281A, Summer (A term) 2019:  Investigating Family/History. English 281A, taught by senior English Department faculty member Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill,  is a 5 credit Intermediate Composition course condensed into a brief single term in summer.  In this class you will work individually and in groups to research, write and revise an academic essay about  an element of your own family’s history in the context of larger historical contexts, trends and events.  The instructor and UW subject area specialist librarians provide training and support in a variety of research methods including using census data, local and regional  and international newspapers, mapping, scholarly academic resources and oral history interviews.  Throughout the research process, you will share information and respond to each other’s ideas, and the instructor will hold conferences to discuss drafts in progress.   Collaborative work in this class is critical to your learning and to the learning of the group.  In a short final essay you will reflect on what you have learned, and on how your writing in this class might transfer to other writing, learning, civic and professional occasions.

English 281 is a demanding and rewarding course.  Students in this course in recent years have been freshmen to seniors ready to study composition at the intermediate level, and have come from a wide range of majors, identities, and home languages, cultures and countries. 

A few student comments from recent evaluations for this course: 

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was so intellectually stimulating, challenging, and fun! I not only learned skills and resources that would help me write in the future, I also learned about my family and myself.
  • Elizabeth is very patient and understanding and is always willing to help students throughout all stages of their research and writing.  She is also very knowledgeable about the resources available and would not hesitate to share or offer extra help when needed.
  • It was very moving to learn about each others' families
  • I took this course to fill a writing requirement, but I think I ended up getting something much more rewarding. Not to be cheesy, but I was hoping, at most, to learn how to be a better essay writer in my time moving forward at UW, but I left with a greater understanding of who I am as a person.
  • This was an amazing and very interesting class, thank you so much for teaching it! It stretched both my writing skills and the way I perceive history. I also learned lots about how I work and think as a researcher. It benefits us all, I think, to be insightful, retrospective, and ultimately, historians.

Feel free to contact the instructor with any questions:  esoneill@uw.edu

Catalog Description: 
Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
January 16, 2019 - 11:00pm