ENGL 298 B: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:00am - 11:20am
* *
Profile photo
James (Rush) Daniel

Syllabus Description:

English 298 A

Instructor: James Daniel

Email: daniej9@uw.edu

Office: A-16 Padelford Hall (PDL)

Office hours: Tuesday 8:30-9:30 / Thursday 10:00-11:00



Course Overview


English 298 A is a writing seminar linked with Matt McGarrity’s COM 200. While a freestanding course, you will complete assignments addressing texts, lectures, methods, and concepts from the lecture. You might think of this seminar and the lecture course as an organic, ten-credit class. As a writing seminar, ENG 298 emphasizes discussion and analysis of lectures and texts, and includes collaboration with instructors and peers regarding the planning, drafting, and revising of essays. You will complete four major papers/projects and several weekly reflections and discussions.


The course will be asynchronous, meaning that there will be no scheduled class meetings during the quarter. Every week, a new module will unlock on Canvas. Each module will include a set of tasks (such as reading reflections and discussion sections) and readings to be completed by the end of the week. I will also be posting a lecture on Panopto each Monday to orient our work each week and to emphasize key concepts. Please the syllabus and course materials carefully and email me with any questions.


Learning Outcomes


  • Mastering the basics of college writing including outlining, drafting, revising, and editing
  • Bolstering your critical reading skills to better approach and critique texts
  • Enhancing your ability to engage in collaborative writing and editing
  • Improving your ability to approach academic discourse
  • Enhancing your knowledge of and ability to apply concepts from the field of communication



The grades for this course will be tabulated as follows:


Essay 1: 10%

Essay 2: 10%

Essay 3: 20%

Essay 4: 30%

Reading Reflections: 15%

Canvas Discussions: 15%


I will be using the following grade conversion scale:


≥ 95% = 4.0   88 = 3.3 81 = 2.6   74 = 1.9   67 = 1.2

94 = 3.9   87 = 3.2   80 = 2.5   73 = 1.8   66 = 1.1

93 = 3.8   86 = 3.1   79 = 2.4 72 = 1.7   65 = 1.0

92 = 3.7   85 = 3.0   78 = 2.3 71 = 1.6   64 = .9

91 = 3.6   84 = 2.9   77 = 2.2 70 = 1.5   63 = .8

90 = 3.5   83 = 2.8   76 = 2.1 69 = 1.4   62 = .7

89 = 3.4   82 = 2.7   75 = 2.0 68 = 1.3


The IWP & Anti-Racist Pedagogy: The Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) is committed to engaging with anti-racist pedagogies. These pedagogies may take various forms, such as curricular attention to voices, communities, and perspectives that have been historically marginalized inside and beyond academic disciplines; inclusive classroom practices; discussions of racism; and consideration of other forms of prejudice and exclusion. We believe that countering the cultures and practices of racism in an academic institution is fundamental to developing a vibrant intellectual community. The IWP is happy to talk with you about your questions as well as to support student-led initiatives around anti-racist work, and we invite you to contact IWP faculty member James Daniel at daniej9@uw.edu or IWP Program Director Megan Callow at http://mcallow@uw.edu. If you’re interested in how teachers of English as a professional community have taken up anti-racist work, check out the National Council of Teachers of English Statement on Anti-Racism to Support Teaching and Learning at http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/antiracisminteaching


Policies and Administrative Details


Plagiarism:  All work for this course must be your own and written exclusively for this course.  The use of sources (including ideas, quotations or paraphrases) must be properly documented. Talk to me if you have any questions regarding what constitutes plagiarism. When in doubt, document!


Attendance: Because the course is remote, attendance is not required. However, there will be several individual meetings with the instructor scheduled throughout the quarter. You will be expected to attend all meetings you sign up for or to provide email notice of any conflicts as far in advance as possible.


Written work: All written work must be typed and double-spaced in Times New Roman font with one-inch margins and 12-point font.


Late or Missed Work: It is important that you complete your assigned work on time since it affects both your progress and the progress of others in the course. If you are not able to finish an assignment on time, please notify me in advance with a compelling reason. Otherwise, late essays will be marked down .3 points for each day late. Missed peer critiques and/ or workshops or written responses to the readings cannot be made up.


Office Hours: I will be holding office hours on Zoom on Tuesdays from 8:30-9:30 and on Thursdays from 10:00-11:00. URLs for these meetings will be posted every week. If these times don’t work for you let me know and we can make an appointment to meet at another time.

CLUE writing center, open 7 pm until midnight, Sunday through Thursday in Mary Gates 141.  CLUE is a first-come, first-served drop-in writing center located in Mary Gates Hall. CLUE also offers study sessions and other academic support. http://depts.washington.edu/aspuw/clue/home/

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers students, staff, and faculty at UW Seattle free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for any writing or research project, as well as for personal projects such as applications or cover letters and resumes. OWRC tutors and librarians are trained to collaborate at any stage of the writing and research process, from brainstorming and identifying sources to making final revisions and tying up loose ends. For more information, or to schedule an appointment (more than 500 available per week!), visit (https://depts.washington.edu/owrc) or to OWRC in person on the first floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

On Accommodations: Please let me know if you need accommodations of any sort. I am happy to work with the UW Disability Service Office (DSO) to provide what you require, and I am very willing to take suggestions specific to this class to meet your needs.  More information on support at UW may be found on the DSO web site at http://www.washington.edu/admin/dso/


Religious Accommodations: Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at: https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/


Questions or Concerns: If you have questions or concerns about this course, please do come talk with me during office hours or email me. If you are not comfortable discussing your concerns with me, you may wish to contact Interdisciplinary Writing Program Director Megan Callow at mcallow@uw.edu or Chair of English Anis Bawarshi at bawarshi@uw.edu.


Course Calendar


As you will note from the following course calendar, our class will be divided into weeks rather than specific classes. That is because we will never be gathering online simultaneously as a class but, rather, you will have a set of tasks to accomplish each week by a set time.


Week 1 (September 30th to October 2nd)


Assignments Due


Class Introductions (Discussion Board post) (by 5pm October 2nd)


Week 2 (October 5th to October 9th)


Reading Due


“Embracing the Chaotic Side of Zoom” by Naomi Fry (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/04/27/embracing-the-chaotic-side-of-zoom)


“Quoting, Paraphrasing, Summarizing” handout (on Canvas) and “Writing Verbs) handout (on Canvas)


Assignments Due


Canvas Discussion (by 5pm October 9th)


Reading Reflection (by 5pm October 9th)


Week 3 (October 12th to October 16th)


Reading Due


“The Needs of Students and Educators Should Guide Our Use of New Classroom Technologies” by Velislava Hillman and Nick Couldry (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/09/big-tech-education-online-learning-covid-19)


“Writing a Thesis Statement” handout (on Canvas)


Assignments Due


Essay #1 (by 5pm October 16th)


Canvas Discussion (by 5pm October 16th)


Week 4 (October 19th to October 23rd)

Reading Due

"The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg's Climate Change-Rhetoric" by Sam Knight (https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-uncanny-power-of-greta-thunbergs-climate-change-rhetoric)

"Transcript: Transcript: Greta Thunberg's Speech At The U.N. Climate Action Summit" (https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit)


Assignments Due


Canvas Discussion (by 8pm October 23rd)


Reading Reflection (by 8pm October 23rd)


Week 5 (October 26th to October 30th)


Assignments Due


Essay #2 Rough Draft (by 5pm October 27th)


Individual Conferences (TBA)


Week 6 (November 2nd to November 6th)


Reading Due



Assignments Due


Essay #2 Final Draft (by 8pm November 6th)


Canvas Discussion (by 8pm November 6th)


Week 7 (November 9th to November 13th)


Reading Due



Assignments Due


Reading Reflection (by 8pm November 13th)


Canvas Discussion (by 8pm November 13th)


Week 8 (November 16th to November 20th)


Reading Due



Assignments Due


Canvas Discussion (by 8pm November 20th)


Essay #3 (by 8pm November 20th)


Week 9 (November 23rd to November 25th)


Reading Due



Assignments Due


Reading Reflection (by 8pm November 13th)


Canvas Discussion (by 8pm November 25th)


Week 10 (November 30th to December 4th)


Assignments Due


Essay #4 Rough Draft (by 8pm December 1st)


Individual Conferences (TBA)


Week 11 (December 7th to December 11th)


Assignments Due


Essay #4 Final Draft (by 8pm December 11th)


Canvas Discussion (by 8pm December 11th)



Canvas Discussion Guidelines


            The class will hold an online discussion on the reading nearly every week. These will count for a substantial percentage of the course grade (15%) and should be treated as seriously as a writing assignment.

            Every Monday morning of a week in which we are holding a Canvas discussion, I will be putting up a new discussion thread under the “Discussions” tab. The discussion prompt will do a bit of framing of the readings and include both a set of questions and a list of instructions. Please read these carefully as the details will change from week to week. Typically, though, I will be asking for you to answer one or more of the questions in a post of at least 250 words. I will typically also be asking you to reply to other posts at least twice totaling at least 250 words total. This means that you will need to be an active participant on the discussion board—you can’t just put up your post on a Friday afternoon and be done. Rather, posting on the discussion board is something that you should be doing on most days and starting as early in the week as possible. Ideally, you would be putting up your own post by Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning and then starting to post your replies on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. This will give you able time to gather your thoughts and to be thoughtful in your responses.

            Here’s the thing—because we are not holding classes in real time, the discussion board is where our class is going to actually “happen.” This is all the more reason for you to approach them as the central work of the course. Yes, the papers are important too, but these discussions are arguably going to be where the real work of the course happens. That said, I’d encourage you to think about how your posts are contributing to the culture of the course. I’d like to see you engage thoughtfully and kindly with one another and to try to make this class a welcoming place for the next few weeks.

            When you are engaging in the discussion, two things I want you to be constantly thinking about are 1) argument, and 2) evidence.

            Let’s say I pose a question for discussions that asks, “How does X characterize Y?”

A good post would, first, make a concrete argument that clearly responds to the questions. To be clear, I’m not saying how I “feel” about the text. Rather, I’m talking about what the text does. Because of this, bringing up concrete examples would will be extremely helpful for grounding your points. Rather than just speak in vague terms about the text, point to specifically sections.

            All in all, think of each post like a short, informal essay that contains an argument, evidence, and a discussion.

            A less effective post, on the other hand, will offer an opinion or stance that can’t really be supported or can’t be agreed or disagreed with. For instance, “This book is pointless” or “I hated the narrator” aren’t going to be effective.

            Responses to posts can be far shorter and don’t need to be as structured. Nevertheless, they should contain the core elements of argument and evidence. As you will know from social media, responses can take a variety of different shapes. In this case, you can agree with the person by suggesting that their comment is correct. But, in this case, it is also important to say why. If you say, “I think you’re absolutely right, Claire,” this wouldn’t be quite enough. You might talk about why the post has the right take on the text or, even better, add one or more additional examples from the text to further support the writer’s position.

            You might go with the “yes, but” tactic in which you praise something about a post but then seek to reframe it or disagree with an aspect of it. For example, you might write, “I think you’re correct about X but I think there are some additional implications to what Y is saying that you haven’t considered.” Or you might say, “I think you’re argument is solid, but you haven’t named the most glaring example of this…” Either of these have some nominal disagreement but then take the text in another direction.

            You can also just flatly disagree with someone, but you must do this without being rude or attacking the other person. The best way to do this is to, first, restate the person’s argument. You could begin by saying, “Claire, if I’m reading you correctly, you’re arguing that social media is…” Then, clearly state your opposition to the argument rather than to the writer herself: “I don’t think this is entirely right because there are a number of other instances where social media has…” Here, you are articulating your argument and doing so by providing evidence that counters the person’s claim. This then offers a way for you to offer some additional examples from the text or from another source that provides evidence to your counterclaim.

            While your contributions to canvas will be graded, the grade will be based solely on labor rather than content. What this means is that I will be checking to see that you hit the posted minimums here—at least 250 words in your initial post, at least two replies and at least 250 words across your total replies (this, again, will vary from week to week), and that this is all done by 5 pm on Friday. Also, and this hopefully goes without saying, these comments cannot contain any attacks on students or any disparaging or harmful language. If you hit these marks, you will receive full credit for the week.


Reading Reflections


            Like our Canvas discussions, reading reflections will be a core component of the course. On the weeks in which this is assigned, I’ll be putting up the assignment on Monday morning, asking you to collect your thoughts on the reading in an unstructured 500-word statement. While the Canvas discussions will be focused around a set of specific questions designed to generate a productive discussion, the reading reflections are designed to be much more personal. These reflections will allow you to consider what you thought of the texts, what you liked or disliked about them, what you found most salient about them, what you found confusing about them, or what they made you consider in terms of your own beliefs, values, or experiences. In other words, these are your opportunity to get your thoughts together about the texts before you begin writing about them in more high stakes assignments. These are also an opportunity for me to get a sense of how texts are landing and what people are getting out of them.

            Like with the Canvas discussions, you will be able to complete your reading reflections at any point before the 5pm, Friday deadline. However, I strongly suggest that you complete the reading reflections first, before you start tackling the discussion board. This is because the reading reflection will give you the opportunity to really work through the text and your own reactions before you get into the more focused discussion of the group discussion. Please note that however you choose to do it, your reading reflections and your writing on the discussion should be different. Please, no cutting and pasting. Do your best to respond to the specific questions of each.

            Like the Canvas discussion, the grading on the reading reflections will be only based on labor. This means that as long as your post is original, contains complete sentences, and hits the 500-word minimum, you will get full credit. This means that you should feel free to take the reflection in whatever direction you wish.





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: 
June 28, 2020 - 11:00pm