ENGL 298 A: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:00pm - 2:20pm
DEN 113
Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill
Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill

Syllabus Description:

English 298A: Writing Link with Communication 200,   Winter 2019

Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill   esoneill@uw.edu  Office hours:  Wednesday 11:30-12:30 and by appointment,  Padelford A-14 (206) 685-3804

Canvas site: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1255478


  • This document, posted as “syllabus” on our canvas page, will be revised online  to include updates including the remaining major assignments and the calendar for the entire quarter.    Assignments will also be distributed in hard copy in class. You are responsible for staying current on what has been distributed and posted.
  • All work for English 298 is due in class in hard copy (printed out).  There are no electronic submissions for work in English 298.
  • There is no required textbook for this course (required resources are listed below).  You do NOT need to purchase the Turabian text that showed up initially as a required text for this course.


    Resources for our work together, such as the Communication research guide for UW Libraries and revising/editing tools, are either listed in the syllabus below or posted on our canvas site under "pages."  


    Detailed calendars and assignments will be distributed in two packets, one on the first day of class and the other later in the quarter.  Both packets will be posted under "pages" on this canvas site.

Texts and Resources

Required Course texts and resources

Readings for Communication 200

UW email account, activated and checked daily

Career Guide, UW Career & Internship Center:


Paper copies of all homework, drafts and final version of assignments


Additional Course, Research and Writing-Related Resources:

OWL (Purdue’s Online Writing Lab): http://owl.english.purdue.edu/index.htm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

CLUE Writing Center: http://depts.washington.edu/clue/dropintutor_writing.php (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Odegaard Writing and Research Center: http://depts.washington.edu/owrc (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

UW Communication librarian Jessica Albano: jalbano@uw.edu

UW Career & Internship Center Associate Director:  Emma O’Neill-Myers, econeill@uw.edu

UW Career & Internship Center: https://careers.uw.edu/


Course description

English 298A is a graded 5-credit composition course which is linked to, but designed and graded separately from, Prof. Leilani Nishime’s Communication 200.  You may use English 298 toward either the “C” or “W” requirement, whichever you need. Our writing link assignments this quarter will be based on Communication 200 readings and concepts, and I will be in regular contact with Communication 200 staff and lectures, but you are the primary link between the classes.  English 298 assignments are based on the assumption that you are attending Communication 200 lectures and sections regularly and completing all assignments in Communication 200.

English 298 is based on values shared with Communication 200:  that Communication matters. It is powerful, personal, public -- and mediated.  Thinking about how communication shapes the world, and how we shape communication as both senders and receivers, matters.  Central questions for both English 298 and Communication 200 are how we know what we know, how the information on which we base our understanding is shaped, and how understanding the answers to these questions shapes our own lives in ways that matter, deepening our communication as a learning community, and amplifying our ability to take meaningful personal, academic, professional and civic action.

Because it is a small workshop style composition class, English 298 also provides an opportunity to increase your reading, research, planning, writing, revising and presentation skill and confidence.  In this class you will have the opportunity to develop your ability to write and conduct research within the discipline of Communication, to curate and present documents and images in support of an argument, to collaborate with members of your presentation group on a co-authored presentation and a written collection of your work,  and to deepen your understanding of reading and lecture materials from Communication 200. Your major projects will be shared in draft form for peer and instructor feedback before final versions are due, and you will have instruction in the library research necessary for these projects.

Curriculum overview: You will complete four assignment sequences in English 298.  The first will culminate in an essay (4 pages) focused on your use of media and understanding of the way reality is socially constructed by media use including news.   The second is a slightly longer essay (5 pages) in which you continue your analysis of Com 200 concepts and materials with the addition of academic journal research. The third is a multimodal presentation assignment done in groups, combining individual projects and co-authored introductions.  Groups will be organized around topics you identify as being of interest to you, based on keywords and concepts in Communication 200. The course concludes with a fourth sequence in which we will complete two short assignments designed to reflect on what we’ve learned and consider how this learning will transfer to and inform future occasions.  We will work with the UW Career & Internship Center to apply what you have learned about Communication and writing to the tasks of identifying and creating targeted application materials for a job or internship you are interested in, and the quarter will end with a short (2-3 page) metacognitive reflective/ prospective essay about what you have learned and how you might put this learning into practice.

Department of English Statement of Values

The UW English Department aims to help students become more incisive thinkers, effective communicators, and imaginative writers by acknowledging that language and its use is powerful and holds the potential to empower individuals and communities; to provide the means to engage in meaningful conversation and collaboration across differences and with those with whom we disagree; and to offer methods for exploring, understanding, problem solving, and responding to the many pressing collective issues we face in our world—skills that align with and support the University of Washington’s mission to educate “a diverse student body to become responsible global citizens and future leaders through a challenging learning environment informed by cutting-edge scholarship.”

As a department, we begin with the conviction that language and texts play crucial roles in the constitution of cultures and communities. Our disciplinary commitments to the study of language, literature, and culture require of us a willingness to engage openly and critically with questions of power and difference. As such, in our teaching, service, and scholarship we frequently initiate and encourage conversations about topics such as race, immigration, gender, sexuality, and class. These topics are fundamental to the inquiry we pursue. We are proud of this fact, and we are committed to creating an environment in which our faculty and students can do so confidently and securely, knowing that they have the backing of the department.

Towards that aim, we value the inherent dignity and uniqueness of individuals and communities. We aspire to be a place where human rights are respected and where any of us can seek support. This includes people of all ethnicities, faiths, genders, national origins, political views, and citizenship status; LGBQTIA+;  those with disabilities; veterans; and anyone who has been targeted, abused, or disenfranchised.

As an instructor, my goals are:

To create a learning community in which each student’s communities, experiences and perspectives are valued, and we learn to listen carefully to each other, and to examine our own perspectives and positions. Research confirms that this sometimes emotionally challenging work has profound benefits for learning when recognized and engaged;

To design reading, research, presentation and writing assignments that deepen your learning of Communication 200 concepts; encourage development of your research and writing process; further your ability to evaluate the rigor and reliability of evidence and the warrants that connect evidence to claims; develop your own learning and your collaboration and presentation skills; and encourage you to consider the implications of our work together on your personal, academic, professional and civic lives.

Recognize and value that each of you brings your own goals to the course.   I ask you to articulate your goals and beliefs as we begin our work together, and to continue returning to these goals throughout the quarter and in your final reflection.


Participation and late work policies: English 298 is a workshop class for which regular, timely attendance and thorough preparation for class are critical to your own learning and the learning of the group.   Homework will not be accepted for credit after the class meeting at which it is due. Late drafts, late final versions of essays, missed peer reviews, and missed presentations and conferences will each result in the subtraction of .2 from the final grade for that particular project.   Please note that if you have a fever, or need to miss class for urgent reasons or religious observances, you should  communicate by email ahead of time to let me know why you are missing class, and to discuss possible options for late or electronic submission of your work.  

There is no grade curve in English 298. I encourage you to work collaboratively and to come see me during office hours or contact me by email whenever you have questions or concerns.

All written work for this course is due in hard copy (printed out).  Unless otherwise noted, this means a hard copy (printed out) version of your work, typed and double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12 or equivalent.  In some cases the calendar will note “handwritten is fine” for some assignments.

Please bring to class with you any readings assigned for the day, along with your notes on those readings, and any questions, concerns or suggestions for the class.   Electronic readings may be either printed out or available on your laptop or other device.

Final grades for English 298 will be based on the following:

20%: participation and homework including peer reviews; graded check, check plus, check minus scale

80%:  graded work (graded on the 4.0 scale)

25%:  Assignment #1 (4 pages)

30%: Assignment #2 (5 pages)

10%: Assignment #3 individual presentation (slides + presentation)

5%: group co-authored introduction/contribution to group work

10%:  final sequence:  resume, cover letter and short reflective essay (2-3 pages)

Selected UW Student Resources

Writing Centers

CLUE writing center, open 7 pm until midnight, Sunday through Thursday.  CLUE is a first-come, first-served writing center located in the Gateway Center at the south end of the Mary Gates Hall Commons: http://depts.washington.edu/aspuw/clue/writing-center (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. CLUE also offers late-night study sessions and other academic support, and resources such as conversation groups for multilingual/international students.

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) also offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. OWRC has locations in Odegaard Library, Miller Hall and Health Sciences Libraries. To make the best use of your time there, take a copy of your assignment with you and double-space any drafts you want to bring in. While OWRC writing consultants are eager to help you improve your writing, they will not proofread your paper. To make an appointment or browse the center's online resources, visit http://www.depts.washington.edu/owrc (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Wellbeing and Community Resources

UW 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

For more information visit the SafeCampus website at http://www.washington.edu/safecampus/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Student Health and Wellness: “The Division of Student Life is committed to the holistic development and support of our students, including the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, financial and the spiritual dimensions of life. The department of Health and Wellness draws from across the Division and beyond to help our students develop strategies that enable them to get the most out of their college experience.” livewell.uw.edu

Hall Health Support Groups include mindfulness meditation, mindful approaches to anxiety, and a range of groups focused on particular issues and needs including anxiety, procrastination/perfectionism and more http://depts.washington.edu/hhpccweb/support-groups (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

UW Emergency Aid assists students who are experiencing unexpected financial hardships that may disrupt their education or prevent them from earning their UW degree, including:

Emergency medical/dental costs

Housing and living expenses

Family emergencies

Natural disasters

Loss of income

And more…

Emergency Aid may come in a variety of forms, including grants, loans and/or campus and community resources.http://www.washington.edu/emergencyaid/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

UW Campus Food Pantry allows UW students, staff, and faculty to be supplied with nonperishable groceries and select fresh produce for no cost. Anyone with a Husky ID is eligible to receive support. The Pantry uses a pop-up model with locations in HUB 214 and the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, and runs once a month at each site. We also take drop-in appointments for those in need who cannot attend a pop-up. https://www.washington.edu/anyhungryhusky/get-food/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

UW Digital Wellness site from UW Student Life is new this year.  Check it out if you have any questions or concerns or are just curious about the risks, benefits and opportunities of your life online. https://spark.adobe.com/page/HKz3G2gRSohBO/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

UW Career & Internship Center offers career counseling and planning, feedback on resumes and cover letters, job postings, workshops and career fairs and much more: https://careers.uw.edu/

The Student Activities Office “is one of several units with the HUB department. SAO staff encourage UW students to participate in student activities and student government as an excellent way to experience personal growth, meet new friends, share common interests with other students, faculty and staff. The goal of SAO is to help students develop skills in leadership, event planning and management, decision-making, communication, goal setting, fiscal management, marketing and promotion, and even more importantly, to make life at UW fun and memorable.” http://depts.washington.edu/thehub/sao (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

The UW Bias Advisory Committee: “At the University of Washington, we value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments and promote access and opportunity. At the same time, our institutional commitment to freedom of expression encourages members of our University community to hold and express sometimes unpopular views…. To help us fulfill our commitment to addressing bias at the individual, institutional and systemic levels, we have established the Bias Incident Advisory Committee to collect information and advise the vice president for Student Life and the vice president for Minority Affairs and Diversity on reports of bias-related incidents that may impact the University of Washington community. Barring unexpected circumstance, reports received through the bias incident report form will be reviewed by a member of this committee within 2-4 business days.” The form and additional information are available at https://report.bias.washington.edu (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

The Q Center : “We facilitate and enhance a brave, affirming, liberatory, and celebratory environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all sexual and gender orientation, identities, and expressions. The University of Washington Q Center is a fierce, primarily student run resource center dedicated to serving anyone with or without a gender or sexuality – UW students, staff, faculty, alum, and community members.  We host and support student groups, put on regular programming events, house a lending library, and amplify student voices on our Student Blog.  Explore our website for more information or stop by the Husky Union Building, Room 315. http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/wordpress

Foundation for International Understanding through Students (FIUTS) is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning “FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming. FIUTS is local connections and global community. More information at www.fiuts.org

The Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center has a wealth of resources and opportunities available to students including student advising, organizational development, personal growth, and referrals to different departments and programs.  http://depts.washington.edu/ecc/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.  

Leadership Without Borders “The Leadership Without Borders Center (LWB) works to serve and empower undocumented students at the University of Washington. LWB offers leadership development resources, college success navigators, the Husky Dream Lending Library, a space for community building, and connections to other campus and community resources.” LWB, a part of the Ethnic Cultural Center, is an important resource for DACA students and those who advocate for DACA student rights. http://depts.washington.edu/ecc/lwb/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Voter Registration: voting is a powerful way to communicate.   If you are a U.S. citizen, are not registered to vote, and would like to register,  you’ll find information about registering and voting in all US states at https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.  Information about registering to vote in Washington state is at https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections.   These sites also provide information to help you research voting decisions, inquire into voting security and more.


English 298A Class Calendar through January 30

Note: Each class day, I will assume you have attended Communication 200 lectures and sections and completed the Communication 200 readings and Prof. Nishime’s  assignments.

Wednesday January 9

Three homework assignments are due in hard copy today.  All of them are designed to engage you in the central terms, issues and concepts of Communication 200 and to begin our work together as researchers, writers, and colleagues in English 298.

1) Read the syllabus for this course (including guidelines to logical argumentation, engaging in group work, etc.) and the following short articles  (which are included in this packet): “What It Means to “Hold Space” for People and How to do it Well” (Heather Plett),  “Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions” (NY Times Business section, 1-4-2015),” “Trump’s Attacks on the News Media are Working” (Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 10-28-2018), z’tuddisn 2016 Influence Operation Targeted African-Americans on Social Media” (NY Times, 12-17-2018)

Make notes (handwritten is fine) so you are prepared to discuss any questions about this course, and your responses to the articles assigned above, and connections to the readings ‘A faulty “gay parenting’ study,” “When rhetoric distorts statistics,” and “How to call B.S. on big data: a practical guide” (which you read for last Monday in Communication 200).     Be sure to note what the authors are arguing, what types of evidence the use to convince you to agree with them, and how you respond.

2) Experiment with learning about your own implicit (hidden, unconscious)  biases by taking one or more of the quizzes at Project Implicit.  No identifying information is collected at this site, and your results for these quizzes will be available only to you.  I will not ask you to submit or share your results.

Go to https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit Log in as a guest, choosing the country and language that best represents you

Click “go,” read the information on this page, and if you are willing, click “I wish to proceed”

Choose one or more of the Implicit Association Tests.  You might be interested in assessing your implicit biases related to race, gender, sexuality, language, disability, weight, weapons, religion etc. Complete the test(s), save/record your results

Write (handwritten is fine) one page in which you summarize your results and your response to your results, note your questions and observations about the results, and consider what you might have learned about the way you have been socialized, and perhaps the ways your response to media representations and the social world have been conditioned, by unconscious (implicit) biases.  Feel free to make connections to readings. (I will confirm that you have these notes in class so you receive credit, but I will not collect them. You are the audience for this work, and you will be given options about what you choose to share.)

3)  Due: have read and made notes on the news article you located on one of the two topics we identified in class. Bring the article with you to class (on your laptop or printed out).  Be prepared to discuss how your article FRAMES the story, what kinds of evidence is used, whether warrants are stated or assumed, and how it might relate to Prof Nishime’s discussions of fake news and the crisis of authority, and our discussion and your homework related to how your own identity and experience creates the lens through which you take in news, and our handout about appeals (logos, pathos, ethos) and logical argumentation.  

Monday January 14:  CLASS MEETS IN SUZZALLO LIBRARY Room 102  for instructional labs with Communication Subject Area Specialist Jessica Albano

DUE at the library lab  (in hard copy):

1) Have read through the Assignment #1 topic options, thought about what you might be interested in writing on, and make notes so you are prepared to ask questions about this assignment. (We’ll come back to this discussion in class on Wednesday.)

2) Have read “How Facebook makes us unhappy” (assigned in Com 200 syllabus later in the quarter and linked there and here: https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/maria-konnikova) and “How Researchers Learned to Use Facebook “Likes” To Sway Your Thinking” (NYTimes Technology section, March 20, 2018, included in this packet).

3) Have completed  a detailed media journal for at least 12 hours between January 7 and January 13.   In your media journal you should:

Create a format for tracking your media interactions.   This could be a table in word or a simple word document.  A sample table, designed to note media use for a two hour period, follows at the end of this assignment.   You could make several copies of a table of this sort in a single document, each tracking a two-hour period.  Be sure to customize the document so it reflects the types of communication/media you use.

In whatever format you have chosen, briefly record the details of the technology/ devices you use for communication and engaging with social or mass media, the ways you use the technology or devices, the amount of time you spend with each, and the medium/nature of the use for the following:

Devices: might include cell phone, landlines, laptops or tablets, desktop computers, Skype, television, newspapers, magazines, writing by hand, books, or something else I haven’t mentioned.

Ways you use the devices might include: log on to the social media and  read through without posting or liking/responding to/commenting on posts, log on and respond to posts; use social media that doesn’t automatically disappear in a set time frame or social media that does disappear;  talk, text, email or skype/facetime/WeChat; send or receive images or videos; view images or videos online; read a document; write a document, read a blog or twitter post (with or without commenting); write a blog or twitter post; read a newspaper or magazine for news content or information or for entertainment; watch a television show for news content or entertainment; read a book for news or entertainment, or something else I haven’t thought of.

4) Create a word document in which you write (type) 1-1.5 pages describing and analyzing  the patterns you found in your media journal and your responses to those patterns. Do you think this was a typical 12 hours?  Was there anything surprising to you about your media journal? What connections do you see to Communication 200 and the idea that “Communication is Personal”?  To currently unfolding stories about how Facebook and other social media are used (in some cases by non-US source) to sway political views? What observations or lines of inquiry (things you’d like to know more about)  emerged for you? Do you see connections with any of the readings or discussion of personal communication in Com 200?

Following (and continuing on the next page) is a possible template for your media journal using a table in Word.  Think about how you would find it easiest to capture and record information about your interactions using social and mass media.  Check off the boxes showing which devices you used for which purposes. (This table provides the data you will describe and analyze in assignment 4 for today.)

Date and time period here  e.g.

9/29/18, 9:30-11:30 pm








Skype, Face-











text or email

send or post image that will remain posted

Send or post image that will automatically disappear

view image or video

read post or document that will remain posted

Read post or document that will automatically disappear

seek news

seek entertainment

seek information

Skim use social media without posting or responding


Wednesday January 16

Due:  Have written down the topic(s) you are planning to write on for Assignment #1, and identified the news articles, polls, media logs, Com 200 readings or or other resources you plan to use.

Have read and be prepared to discuss:   the three sample student essays attached to this packet:  “The Framing of the Ferguson Case,” “Instagram’s Adverse Impacts on the Modern Generation,” and “WeChat: A Tool for Connection or Disconnection.”

Have available: your lecture notes from Communication 200 lecture and section discussions on the goals of Communication 200 and on lectures and readings thus far.

In class:  We will sign up for small group conferences (to take place January 23-28), discuss your plans for and questions about Assignment #1, and work with sample student writing in preparation for your drafting and our upcoming peer reviews.


Monday January 21:  MLK Holiday: No class meeting.


Wednesday January 23

Due:  Three hard copies of your Assignment #1 draft.   

In class:   Elizabeth will distribute the calendar and assignments for the rest of the quarter.  We will discuss these assignments, finalize the group conference schedule for Assignment #1, and begin preparing for small group conferences.  (Please remember that it is having these hard copies of your draft at the beginning of class that count as having the draft completed on time. Late drafts lose .2 from the grade for this essay.)


Monday January 28:  No Class Meeting Conferences Continue in Elizabeth’s office

Due at your conference:  

Completed peer reviews for your colleagues (peer reviews will be graded during the conference on the check/check plus/check minus system.  Be sure you have completed all steps outlined in the peer review process distributed in class).

Your notes (typed or handwritten, at least one page) about your own plans for and questions about revising your own draft, including any new information from Communication 200 --  such as Prof. Nishime’s discussion of rhetoric as a tool of persuasion (a further development of our own discussion of logos, pathos and ethos), research validity, qualitative and quantitative research, and survey design --  that allows you to re-see your work in progress.

Your preliminary plans for and questions about Assignment #2.


Wednesday January 30: MEET FOR A LIBRARY LAB in SUZZALLO 102  

Due:  Assignment #1 final draft, one hard copy.  

Have re- read carefully through the Assignment #2 sequence and the calendar for the rest of the quarter.

Have looked closely at the lecture topics and readings identified in Prof. Nishime’s syllabus for the rest of the quarter in Communication 200.  


Have reviewed  the sample student work for Assignment #2 in the second course packet.


Have thought carefully about what you would like to focus on for Assignment #2


Have written (typed) TWO possible topics and lines of inquiry for Assignment #2 (three if there are three you’d really like to work on).  You should identify two different possible directions for your work (not just two versions of the same thing) based on concepts and materials related to  Communication 200, and you should describe each option in sufficient detail (a paragraph about each) including identifying relevant lectures, readings, keywords and topics from Com 200 you will address.  You are welcome to return to a topic covered in the first four weeks of Com 200, to look ahead, or to take up an issue raised in Com 200 through a New Yorker article we didn’t read in class.  Notice that it is quite possible to work on a topic that will be covered in Com 200 after your Assignment #2 essay is due.    


Have written your questions, concerns and insights about these upcoming assignments.

Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified social science course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytical prose. Concurrent registration in the specified course required. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
December 4, 2018 - 10:20pm