ENGL 282 A: Intermediate Multimodal Composition

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm
* *
Picture of TJ Walker
Thomas (TJ) Walker

Syllabus Description:

Word Format Syllabus ((New and Improved With Calendar))


Here is a quick-glance Grade Contract Chart/Checklist

Grade Contract Chart-Checklist for 282 Fall 2020.docx

Grade Contract Chart-Checklist for 282 Fall 2020.docx


Here is a version of the syllabus with somewhat wonky formatting (but you can see it without downloading)

ENGLISH 282 A: Multimodal Composition Fall ‘20

Multimodal Storytelling: Truth, Fiction, and Mediated Identities

TJ Walker

Class Times: T&TH 10:30am-12:20pm

Zoom Link ↓


OFFICE: Cyberspace! (use zoom link)

Office hours: T&TH 12:20-1:20pm

EMAIL: tjwalker@uw.edu

Course Website:






Storytelling has been multimodal for as long as humans have told stories, but for most of human history no one had the pocket-sized high-definition video cameras we have now. We continue to tell stories for mostly the same reasons – to entertain, to inform, to persuade, to accuse, to attract, and to distract—and narratives continue to be situated socially, culturally, and historically, but sometimes the ubiquity and novelty of new technology makes it harder for us to recognize how narratives are situated, what their creator’s motives are, or even if narratives are, in fact, narratives.  One person’s “rock solid Truth” can be another’s “kooky conspiracy theory,” and in our increasingly media-saturated world it can be hard to know which narrative to trust.


In this class, we will explore and analyze the dangers, challenges, advantages, and disadvantages of multimodal storytelling in this digital age. We will analyze the way that different modes convey different rhetorical effects to the viewer/listener/reader/participant, and we will put this analytical knowledge into practice in our own multimodal productions.  We will explore how “truths” can be deceptive and how even “fictional” stories about the past and the future can tell us truths about our present (since we always view the past and the future through the lens of the present).  We will likewise consider what changes we wish to make in the present through the intervention of our multimodal stories.  It may sound over-the-top, but our very identities are mediated through the narratives we produce and consume. If this sounds confusing but intriguing, this is the course for you! Welcome to English 282, Fall Quarter, 2020.





But what exactly does multi-modal composition mean?  Obviously, there must be more than one “mode” involved, right? At the most basic level, this means composing with more than “just” writing.  Sound, pictures, video, three-dimensional shapes, gestures…all of these are possible modes, and this class will indeed work with these, not only traditional writing.


But multi-modal doesn’t just mean adding sound or video to a written project, it also means thinking about composing (even good old-fashioned writing) in new ways.  For example, we might ask how the physical form of a heavy, dusty textbook impacts our reading of that book, and how we might interpret it differently if we were reading it on a tablet or a phone.


While we will use online platforms, software and hardware to do our coursework, you don’t need any special “tech” knowledge to take this course. I will explain the use of all technical tools that we will use.  Although 282 has no formal prerequisite, it is an intermediate composition course, and I expect entering students to be pretty comfortable formulating claims, integrating evidence, demonstrating awareness of audiences, and know how to harness a variety of resources to revise their work for greater impact, organization, and clarity.




  • Regular Internet Access to attend zoom classes, submit assignments, and to stay connected through e-mail and the class webpage
  • A USB drive to back up your work - be sure to have access to your work at all times in more than one way!
  • A UW Email Account


*Please check your university email accounts regularly as I will send out e-mail announcements and updates. Outside of class and office hours, email is the best way to get in touch with me. I usually respond fairly quickly to e-mails, but it can sometimes take a day (or even occasionally two on the weekends) for me to respond.  So please keep this in mind and don’t put yourself in the position of needing an immediate response.


Course Goals --   These are the PARTS to focus on this quarter



Produce complex multimodal work that demonstrates awareness of audience, context, and stakes; engage specific genre conventions; incorporate appropriate evidence; and strategically combine selected modes



Critically engage in rhetorical and design analysis of multimodal texts produced for specific audiences and purposes. Show an understanding of the advantages and limitations involved in working with different modes and different combinations of modes



Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your work; incorporate feedback from your peers and instructor; explain how you could revise your work to better achieve your intended goals and demonstrate successful revision; connect your coursework to your out-of-class interests, communities, life goals, and career plans



Demonstrate an increasing facility with hardware, software, online platforms, and other tools (both digital and non-digital) used to produce multimodal content



Locate, evaluate, and ethically use researched sources and incorporate multimodal resources with

appropriate attributions





In this course, you will complete a wide variety of different assignments.  Short assignments will help you refine your compositional skills and prepare you to work on a larger, more complex assignment. Many of the assignments will have a collaborative component, and some of them will be group projects. Every assignment will help you meet the course goals.


At the end of the course, you will produce a portfolio of your work which you feel best demonstrates your achievement of the course outcomes and your understanding of the challenges and advantages of analyzing and producing texts in different modes. This portfolio will be where you establish that you have fulfilled your grade-contract (see assessment below).

                              GRADE CONTRACTS

In this course we will use a system of evaluation called “contract grading.”  Basically this means that I will specify what you have to do to earn a particular course grade. You will then decide what you’re willing and able to do and then sign up for the contract that works best for you. There are no surprises: if you fulfill the obligations of your contract, you get the grade you signed up for. Early in the quarter, you will sign up for a particular grade contract. You can re-negotiate your grade contract as the quarter goes on by meeting with me (via Zoom) during my office hours. Note: Because of the circumstances this quarter (ongoing global pandemic), I understand that some of these requirements may not be possible for everyone.  If you know that you will not be able to fulfill a certain requirement, please propose an alternative and work with me to complete it!

Grade Contract Requirements List:

  1. Participate in class activities with good faith, interacting with others in appropriate and  

productive ways.


  1. Attend all of our zoom class activities (or provide “make-up” work sufficient to count for each 

additional class activity missed. Make-up projects will be negotiated as necessary. See

attendance details below).


  1. Complete all assignments on time and have them ready to use during class.


  1. Complete “High quality” peer reviews of your classmates’ drafts and fully participate in 

class conferences. We will discuss what “high quality” means in class. Also see this link.


  1. Use feedback from your peers and your instructor to revise the appropriate number of 

assignments for your grade contract (see descriptions below). Strive to apply feedback on  

previous assignments to later ones.


  1. Submit a full reflection (Composer’s Memo) with each assignment that explores in detail 

            the rhetorical choices you made and how these choices were intended to achieve your 

goals with your target audience. Minimum word counts for these reflections will depend 

on your final grade contract (see below). Incorporate my feedback on your early 

composer’s memos into your later memos.


  1. Complete the midterm evaluation with sincere self-reflection.


  1. Post the appropriate number of Discussion Posts on Canvas. These will usually be a few

sentences commenting on or questioning the reading we are doing outside of class. (See Grade Contract details below for the number of posts you can miss)


  1. Come to my virtual office hours at least twice. One of these visits can be just to say “hi,” but at 

            least one of those visits should be substantive (we talk about your work or your ideas for 

            upcoming projects). If my office hours don’t work with your schedule, we can make 

            an appointment.


  1. Volunteer your work for in-class workshopping at least once. This means we may work 

            through an aspect of your work together, as a class. Google Docs, Google Slides, and  

            other such collaborative programs can assist in this. Note: you will still get credit for

volunteering even if we end up not having time to use your work!


  1. Propose, design, and complete a “Thematic Class Enrichment Project.” You will have a lot of 

freedom with these projects. The main goal is to enrich our class by providing your classmates and me with some valuable ideas and outside sources that relate to the readings and themes of our class.  You should plan to spend about 3-5 hours on these projects, including the time you spend researching, reading, or otherwise gathering sources and ideas. Ask me for examples!


  1. Propose, design, and complete a “Multimodal Resource Class Enrichment Project.” You will 

            have a lot of freedom with these projects. The main goal is to enrich our class by 

providing some valuable information about a resource for multimodal composition. You should plan to spend about 3-5 hours on this project, including the time you spend researching, reading, or otherwise gathering ideas. This project is best done on a resource you have used recently. Ask me for examples!


  1. Sign up to take notes on two days of class readings and post a summary of each reading 

            for your classmates on the “Reading Summaries” Discussion Thread. Here is a signup link 


  1. Sign up to take notes on our in-class activities for one week of the quarter. Post these notes on 

            the appropriate Canvas Discussion Page for that week. These notes should function as a 

            comprehensive summary of the main activities and discussions for that week (pay 

            particular attention to any small group discussions you participate in during this week). 

Attention: These notes are not related to the “Discussion Posts” from criteria number 8 

Above. Here is a signup link 


The choices for grades in this course are: 4.0, 3.7, 3.3, 2.8, 2.4, 2.0, or below 2.0.

Details for Different Grades

To earn a 4.0 grade, complete requirements 1-14. Revise 4 assignments for the final portfolio. Portfolio must be 3,500 words (about 10 pages). Writer’s memos must be 700 words or longer (about 2 pages). Only 1 assignment may be turned in late without make up work. Complete all discussion posts. You can miss one class and be late twice without any make up work.

To earn a 3.7 grade, complete requirements 1-11 with these differences: Revise 3 assignments for the final portfolio. Portfolio must be 2,800 words (about 8 pages).Writer’s memos must be 550 words or longer (about 1.5 pages) Only 2 assignments may be turned in late. May miss 1 discussion post. You can miss two classes and be late three times without any make up work.

To earn a 3.3 grade, complete requirements 1-9 with these differences: Revise 2 assignments for the final portfolio. Portfolio must be 2,450 words (about 7 pages). Writer’s memos must be 400 words or longer (a bit more than 1 page). Only 3 assignments may be turned in late. May miss 2 discussion posts. You can miss two classes and be late four times without any make up work.

To earn a 2.8 grade, complete requirements 1-9, with these differences: your peer reviews should be complete, but may not be as full or detailed as “High Quality” peer reviews; Revise 2 assignments for the final portfolio. Portfolio must be 2,100 words (about 6 pages). Writer’s memos must be 300 words or longer (a bit less than 1 page). Only 4 assignments may be turned in late. May miss 3 discussion posts. You can miss three classes and be late five times without any make up work.

To earn a 2.4 grade, complete requirements 1-8, with these differences:  your peer reviews should be complete, but may not be as full or detailed as “High Quality” peer reviews; Revise 1 assignment for the final portfolio. Portfolio must be 1,750 words (about 5 pages). Writer’s memos must be 200 words or longer (a bit more than half a page). Only 5 assignments may be turned in late. May miss 4 discussion posts. You can miss four classes and be late six times without any make up work.

To earn a 2.0 grade, Submit all canvas assignments by the end of the quarter. Submit assigned peer reviews on time, and show up and participate in conferences. Revise at least 1 assignment for the final portfolio. Portfolio must be 1,050 words (about 3 pages). Writer’s memos must be 150 words or longer (about half a page). May miss 5 discussion posts. You can miss five classes and be late 7 times without any make up work.

Failure to achieve the minimum requirements for a 2.0 will result in a grade lower than 2.0.




You are expected to be an active participant in class, so come prepared to contribute to the discussion and participate in activities. Participation can take many forms, including online discussions, office hours visits, small-group work, presentations, and in-class discussions.  We are all responsible for the intellectual work being done in class and although I expect everyone to occasionally contribute their ideas, listening attentively to each other will be the most common form of participation. We are many, and we cannot (or at least should not) all speak at once!  When you miss a class, you miss the opportunity to share and learn from our class community. 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.  If you come in after class has started, even by only a few minutes, you will be considered late, and doing this repeatedly may require you to renegotiate for a lower grade contract. However, I fully recognize that we all have lives outside of English 282.  I am flexible in accommodating your health, family, travel, and other needs as necessary, but please communicate these to me with as much advance notice as possible! Opportunities to make up participation will be offered, and I hope and expect everyone to do the work necessary to fulfill their contracted level of attendance and participation!


Several times this quarter, you will be asked to give feedback to your classmates on their work.  This will sometimes happen casually when we have our “project sharing” days.  At other times, you will be given a particular “peer review” assignment. The importance of being able to give and receive constructive feedback cannot be overstated. No one has ever been a “born” writer or composer.   We achieve excellence by practicing, sharing, and listening.


During the early part of the quarter, we will have several class sessions where we either 1) Bring in an example of a work that matches what we are working on that week or 2) Bring in our own recently produced assignment.  You will be sharing the examples and work that you bring in with small groups, giving feedback to each other, and making comments and posing questions related to the work done by your group members and/or the specific modes for that day.


There will be one optional and one mandatory conference this quarter. 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. If you miss the mandatory conference, it will need to be made up. I will provide you with a sign-up sheet for these conferences and detailed instructions about how to prepare for them.


All assignments are due before class (10:30am) on the due date unless otherwise specified.  If you have a good reason for not being able to turn in a completed paper on time, I can usually allow a little flexibility if you contact me ahead of time!  However, many of our assignments will be discussed in class the day they are due, so the less complete your work, the more you and your group will miss out on productive discussion. Consistently turning in late work may require you to re-negotiate for a lower grade contract.



I encourage you to take advantage of the following writing resources available to you at no charge!


The CLUE Writing Center in Mary Gates Hall (141 suite, CUADSS lobby) is open Sunday to Thursday from 7pm to midnight. The tutors here can help you at any stage of your composition process. You do not need to make an appointment, so arrive early and be prepared to wait.

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center is open in Odegaard Library Monday - Thursday 9am to 9pm, Friday 9am to 4:30pm, and Sunday 12pm to 9pm. This writing center provides a research-integrated approach to composition instruction. Find more information and/or make an appointment on the website: www.depts.washington.edu/owrc.

Media Arcade

– 381F Third Floor of Allen Library

The Media Arcade is an audio/video viewing and makerspace where the UW community can watch and create videos, listen to and edit music, watch TV, play and critique video games, digitize and preserve vintage media. Open 9am-9:50pm M-TH, 9-5pm Fridays. 1-4:50pm Saturdays. http://www.lib.washington.edu/media


Code of Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be committed to the principles of truth and academic honesty and to follow the Code of Academic Integrity, the full text of which is available at:



Plagiarism is a tricky topic.  A good guideline to follow is: If you know that you are expected to write or create something yourself, don’t use someone else’s creation or ideas without letting your audience know! If you are uncertain how to borrow ideas and properly cite sources, ask TJ!



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 Nanya Jhingran (nanyaj@uw.edu) or Sara Lovett (slovett@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 acting English Department Chair Anis Bawarshi, (206) 543-2690.



Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), please contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or uwdrs@uw.edu or disability.uw.edu. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.




No student will be penalized because of observances of their religious beliefs; students shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances. Please inform me in advance of any intended absences.


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 www.washington.edu/safecampus


The 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 for UW's international and globally minded domestic students. FIUTS is local connections and global community!" FIUTS also offers a free international lunch on the last Wednesday of every month. Consult FIUTS' web site for a detailed calendar of events and links to many resources http://www.fiuts.org/


UW Counseling Center workshops include a wide range of issues including study skills, thinking about coming out, international students and culture shock, and much more. Check out available resources and workshops at: http://depts.washington.edu/counsels/


I am trained as an Undocu Ally. Undocu Ally training is intended to provide UW staff and faculty with knowledge about resources, services, best practices, and allyship for undocumented students. In 2003, House Bill 1079 was signed into law in Washington State, allowing eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Resources, support, and services for undocumented students are available from the Leadership Without Borders (LWB) Center and the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center.



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.  They host and support student groups, put on regular programming events, house a lending library, and amplify student voices on their Student Blog.  Explore their website for more information or stop by the Husky Union Building, Room 315 http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/wordpress/





College can be a period of high stress. If you encounter psychological problems that interfere with your life as a student, services are available to you at Hall Health at 206.583.1551 during business hours or 206.731.2500 after hours, http://depts.washington.edu/hhpccweb/




If you have difficulty accessing sufficient food or lack a safe and stable place to live, and if you believe this need may affect your academic achievement, you are urged to contact the Office of Student Life at http://www.washington.edu/studentlife/. Please also be aware that there are resources available to help address food insecurity in the UW community. http://www.washington.edu/anyhungryhusky/home/get-food/



This is a rough outline of the quarter which contains some of the key dates to remember (holidays, major assignments, etc.) This calendar is, of course, subject to change, but you should consider it to be accurate unless I inform you otherwise. Note that additional homework will be assigned in class that is not detailed on the syllabus. Remember, it is your responsibility to ask me or another member of the class about missed assignments if you are absent.            



Activities/assignments Due



Thurs 10/1


Stuart McMillan Billboard Example

First Day of Instruction!

What is Multimodality?

Persuasive Multimodal Composition

Saturday 10/3


Preliminary Composition






Tues 10/6


    Samples of “Persuasive Multimodal    

    Composition” Due (share in class)

Reading A - on Canvas-

Don’t forget Discussion Posts!

Thurs 10/8


SA 1 Due - Persuasive Multimodal Composition (Always upload to Canvas and be ready to share your work in class)

Multimodal Analysis (Groups)

Reading B - on Canvas

Don’t forget Discussion Posts!





Tues 10/13


SA1 Composer’s Memo

Samples of “Multimodal Analysis” Due

Reading C – on Canvas

Don’t forget Discussion Posts!

Thurs 10/15


SA 2 Due -Multimodal Analysis (Groups)

(Always upload to Canvas and be ready to share your work in class)


Sequential Art

Reading D – on Canvas

Don’t forget Discussion Posts!





Tues 10/20


SA2 Composer’s Memo

Samples of “Sequential Art Due

Reading E – on Canvas

Don’t forget Discussion Posts!

Thurs 10/22


SA 3 Due -Sequential Art



Reading F – on Canvas





Tues 10/27


   SA3 Composer’s Memo

   Samples of “Mashups

Reading G – on Canvas

Thurs 10/29


   SA 4 Due - Mashups

   (Optional) Conferences

Reading H – on Canvas







Tues 11/3


If you can…VOTE!

   SA4 Composer’s Memo

   Samples of “Podcasts”

   (Optional) Conferences

Discuss Portfolios

Mid-Term Review

Thurs 11/5


   SA 5 Due - Podcasts



Reading I – on Canvas





Tues 11/10


   SA5 Composer’s Memo

   Samples of “Blogs/Vlogs”


Thurs 11/12


   SA 6 Due - Blogs/Vlogs


Reading J – on Canvas

-Final Group Project-



-Project Story Board (Groups)-


Tues 11/17


   SA6 Composer’s Memo


Thurs 11/19



   Project Stage Due Story Board/Pitch












-Project “Rough Cut” (Groups)


Tues 11/24


Project Stage Due Rough Cut/Workshop

Project Progress Memo



Thurs 11/26



Holiday-No Class

Enjoy the break!



-Project Presentations- (Groups) wrap up second sequence


Tues 12/1


Project Stage Due- Project Presentations


Thurs 12/3


Project Stage Due-Project Presentations





Select work for your portfolioCours

Compose your Final Reflection

Tues 12/8



Portfolio Conferences



Thurs 12/10



Portfolio Conferences

Course Evaluations


Finals Week



Tuesday 12/15


Portfolios Due


Thurs 12/17


Enjoy your break!



Portfolios Due On Canvas:

Tuesday, December 15th, by midnight.


Holidays:  Veteran’s Day, November 11th, Thanksgiving, November 26

Last Scheduled Day of Class:  Thursday, December 10th

Finals Week Begins:  Saturday, December 12th






Catalog Description: 
Strategies for composing effective multimodal texts for print, digital physical delivery, with focus on affordances of various modes--words, images, sound, design, and gesture--and genres to address specific rhetorical situations both within and beyond the academy. Although the course has no prerequisites, instructors assume knowledge of academic writing.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
September 29, 2020 - 11:00pm