Winter ENGL 131D Expository Writing Course Description and Syllabus
Theme: Exploring Systemic Obstacles That Prevent Equal Access
to Critical Resources for Success
Instructor: Carol Robertson
Synchronous Zoom Class time: Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30-2:20 p.m.
Zoom classroom invitation link: https://washington.zoom.us/j/93890337097?pwd=Nk93MUtlK3FXWEs4cVpFWWE0RjlRdz09. Zoom password: Comp131
Virtual office hours: Wednesdays after class (drop-in) and by appointment
Class website: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses
Email: Email through course inbox on https://canvas.uw.edu/courses
The shared goal of Expository Writing courses is to launch you into a successful academic experience at UW by sharpening your skills as a critical thinker and writer. Our class will pursue this goal as we explore those systemic obstacles within our society that prevent equal opportunities for success—barriers such as equal access to educational opportunities, housing, and career advancement.
Since reading critically leads to better writing, in the first of two major course sequences, we will sharpen our understanding of audience and rhetorical strategies by writing a rhetorical analysis of a text that serves as an exemplary modern model of effective writing—Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. In the second sequence, you will select a topic and pursue your own research, practicing the formation of your own critical and persuasive arguments. Expect to participate in a collaborative, interactive virtual environment, which gives you an opportunity to incorporate feedback on your writing both from your peers and your instructor. (Note: While our class, as a whole, intends to explore systemic obstacles impacting one’s success, the second sequence will allow you, upon instructor approval, to research the topic that interests you most.)
We will meet synchronously, twice weekly, for the first four weeks in order to establish a foundation in the principles of good writing; thereafter, we will meet synchronously once a week on most weeks. This course, which includes five short assignments and two major papers, will culminate in a final week of virtual all-class research presentations. Finally, you will submit a portfolio with an essay defending your growth as a writer and including, as evidence, three significantly revised writing pieces.