ENGL 298 D: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Meeting Time: 
TTh 10:00am - 11:20am
THO 231
Photo of Natalie with sunflowers
Natalie Vaughan-Wynn

Syllabus Description:

(PDF version available here: ENG 298 D Syllabus FINAL.pdf)

English 298 D

Winter 2022 Syllabus

(updated 01/02/2022)


Basic Course Information 


Instructor:                               Natalie Vaughan-Wynn (she/her)

Meeting Time:                         Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00-11:20 a.m. 

Meeting Room:                       Thomson Hall 231(THO) 

Office hours:                           Tuesdays 11:30-12:30 (in-person)

                                                 Thursdays 11:30-12:30 (virtual)

Course/Office Hours link:      https://washington.zoom.us/s/7054417378

Contact:                                  nvwynn@uw.edu and via Canvas 


About This Course

Welcome! I am so happy that you are part of this course (in fact, with 21 of us, you are approximately 4.5% of this course)! One of the unique things about this course is its small size, so, your contribution to our learning community—by way of your participation and your perspective—matters.

Whether you were born programming with C or are exploring digital geographies for the first time, English 298 D will engage you with popular discourse and media within this field (i.e. Wired magazine, TikTok, etc.) giving you an opportunity to think and write critically about what it means to live in a digitally-mediated world. Over the quarter, you will develop technical writing skills, practice peer review, and produce texts that both prepare you for professional life and deepen your understanding of the fascinating intersections between space, society, and digitality. 

We will both deepen your learning through writing and your learning of writing. Therefore, you should expect frequent reading and writing assignments. Additionally, classroom expectations include a high level of engagement and collaboration, as well as a willingness to converse respectfully across difference. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this course and the fact that you as a class bring the perspectives from many different majors and your own experience, we will head into this quarter as co-learners.


With the above in mind, here are our broad learning goals for this course:

  • Begin to see writing as a social and iterative process through participation in our learning community;
  • Gain the ability to recognize and critically assess the societal implications of digital geographies through discussion, reading, and writing;
  • Grow your competence with giving and receiving critical feedback through the peer-review process;
  • Engage in a variety of interdisciplinary writing styles, practices, and modes.

Course Structure

This is a hybrid course, meaning that we will meet both in-person and remotely: Tuesdays will be in-person (in THO 231) and Thursdays will be remote (over Zoom), where we will blend synchronous videoconferencing with asynchronous activities. The rationale for this hybrid format is both thematic and practical. In terms of theme, we are in the unique position of operating within a digital context while examining digital geographies! We will provide space throughout the quarter so that you may reflect on ways in which your life is digitally mediated, including those ways related to your learning. In terms of practicality, the bulk of assignments, readings, discussion boards, and activities will be accessible through Canvas, which gives you practice navigating a hybrid environment (increasingly more common in work settings) and provides some flexibility given the broader context around the pandemic.  

Required Course Materials

  • You will need a computer with internet access
  • An active UW Net ID, which should be tied to your university email account, G Suite, and checked each school day.
  • Though no textbook required, we will be frequently reading articles from the New York Times and Wired Magazine. A student subscription to each is a good idea for the duration of the quarter. All other materials will be posted in Canvas.
  • Recommended: Canvas app for your phone


30% Major Papers (2)

20% Weekly Writing

20% Participation

15% Short Assignments (3)

10% Conferencing

5% Collaborative Notes


Important Dates

*Please note that this schedule is subject to change

Week 1:           Introductions & Overview- VIRTUAL                    January 4 & 6

Week 2:           Short Assignment 1                                                 January 13

Week 3:           Short Assignment 2                                                   January 20

Week 4:           Paper 1 - First Draft                                                January 27

Week 5:           Conference Week                                                    February 3

Week 6:           Paper 1 – Final Draft                                                 February 10

Week 7:           Short Assignment 3                                                    February 17

Week 8*:         Paper 2 – First Draft                                                February 24

Week 9:           Conference Week                                                      March 3

Week 10:         Last week of class meetings                                   March 10

Week 11:         Finals Week                                                             March 15-19

Week 11:         Paper 2 – Final Draft                                               March 18

Finals:               Final Deadline for any work                                   March 19

*Week 8 will be fully asynchronous

Weekly Writing

In addition to short assignments and major papers, each week you will practice writing in the following ways:

  • Course Discussion Board: Each week you are expected to contribute to our shared Canvas discussion board. This is an opportunity for you to practice writing for an audience (the instructor and your peers, in this case!) and digest the material through writing. You will also begin to engage in the art of critical peer review as you will be responding to your peer’s ideas. Here is how it will work:

    1. Spend time with all the assigned course materials presented that week.
    2. Pose 3-4 questions that directly reference at least 2 of the materials assigned to that week’s module. Aim to create questions that are open-ended and generative to discussion.
    3. Respond to 2 questions posed by another classmate. The goal is not to provide an answer, but to synthesize, critique, or add to the material that they reference, their thoughts on it, and your thoughts.


  • Reflections: Your reflective writing will serve several purposes depending on where we are in the course. You will reflect on your goals and progress, put your ideas about assignments to paper (or screen), and this practice will also serve as a general check-in. Reflections will be submitted as assignments (private) rather than as public discussion posts.

Course Discussion Board posts and Reflections will be graded for completion. Completion criteria will be posted along with the Reflection prompt and on the Discussion Board. Both of these writing exercises are intended to help you “learn to write” and “write to learn.” Your Reflections will typically be between 250-350 words in length. Course Discussion Board posts and Reflections will be due each Thursday before midnight, except during Conference Weeks in which no Weekly Writing will be due. Update: Responses to Discussion Board questions will be due each Sunday before midnight. 

A note about the format: I know we are doing so much on the screen these days. If you would rather record your reflections in a journal, on printer paper, or in any other way, I would encourage you to do that! You can then simply upload a photo of your non-digital reflection in all of its glory.



Participation is 20% of your overall grade. This is because of the course’s approach, which is that writing is a social and iterative process. As such, scheduled class meetings are an important part of the learning where interaction between students and with the instructor typically pushes the development of ideas.

Points accumulated toward your participation grade are earned throughout the quarter in several ways, given the hybrid format of this course. Every student will start with a cushion of .4 GPA points. Then, for every scheduled class meeting—whether it is in-person or remote—in which you deem yourself a full participant you will earn .2 GPA points. You are responsible for gauging and tracking your own participation. I will share a google spreadsheet template that allows you to easily do this upon request. The last week’s Canvas module (March 7th) will contain an assignment where you will submit a paragraph that outlines your justification for your chosen participation grade.

If you are unable to participate in class meetings, below are some options to gain participation points. Please note that this point system is skewed to incentivize participation during scheduled class meetings and any of the undertaken participation activities should be documented to help with your end-of-quarter self-assessment.

  • Come to scheduled office hours (.05 GPA points)
  • Utilize the CLUE tutoring center: https://academicsupport.uw.edu/clue/ (.1 GPA points for 1 hour)
  • Create an extra post on our Canvas Discussion Board responding to materials for that week (.05 GPA points)
  • Sign up to do extra collaborative note taking (more than the 2 that are counted toward your grade)
  • Attend an extra-curricular event related to this course (approved by instructor first; points TBD)
  • Your own idea (approved by instructor first; points TBD)

I don’t anticipate any discrepancies between my interpretation of your participation and your own assessment, but if there is one, I will be in touch with you directly. Please be in touch sooner than later with any questions about this process. Thank you for taking the time to reflect honestly about your effort in this class!

Major Papers and Short Assignments

Details for major papers will be posted to Canvas at least two weeks in advance of the final due date. Both major papers will be peer-reviewed before the final drafts are submitted. Details for short assignments will be posted to Canvas at least one week in advance of the due date. Short Assignments are intended to move your Major Papers forward, what those in the pedagogical world call a “scaffolded” approach. We will also use some class time in the form of group work, conversation, and peer review to work toward the completion of these assignments.


Twice during the quarter, we will hold small group (3-4 people in each group) conferences in which you will give and receive feedback on your major papers. Leading up to conference weeks, we will practice giving critical feedback and you will receive more detailed instruction on the process. Note that no Weekly Writing is due during these weeks.

Collaborative Note-Taking

In this course you will have the opportunity to practice collaborative note-taking. Each of us takes in and processes information differently based on our own understandings, interpretations, and beliefs/assumptions. For this reason, co-creating an archive of what happens during each (synchronous) class meeting is helpful for students who were unable to attend a class to get sense, from multiple perspectives, on what took place. This exercise also gives you experience summarizing and conveying vital information, a valuable skill in any professional or educational setting. A sign-up sheet will be circulated during the first class meeting.

Course Policies


I check email and Canvas notifications on workdays (non-holiday weekdays) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and will do my best to respond within 1 workday. This means that if you send an email on a Friday evening before a Monday holiday, you could expect a response on the following Tuesday. I cannot accept assignment submissions via email unless we have previously discussed it. If you or someone you live with becomes ill, please email me as you are able, regardless of when you expect a response.



Unless otherwise noted in the syllabus, course meeting times are synchronous—in-person on Tuesdays and 
virtual on Thursdays. Though you will not be graded on attendance (as per university policy), you are 
expected to be available for the agreed-upon course meeting times in order to fully participate, barring illness 
or an emergency. However, given the season and the pandemic the course is built with a “free week” that can 
be redeemed at any point. Your “free week” allows you to skip that week’s Weekly Writing and Participation 
activities without penalty. Additionally, you will be able to access our Collaborative Note-taking Repository in 
order to review notes for the week’s in-class meetings. If your situation is such that you will miss more than 
one week, please be in touch with me as soon as possible so that we can come up with a plan.

Late Work & Free Week

Engaging in peer review is one of this course’s central objectives. Given this, it is vital—out of consideration for your peers and your own learning—that you make every effort to submit your work on time. However, I understand that our lives continue to be uniquely impacted by the pandemic so some flexibility is built into the course: you are each given a free week in which you may skip that week’s Reflection and Discussion Board Posts. Please note that this does not excuse due dates corresponding to major papers and other assignments. If you are having difficulties meeting a hard deadline, please be in touch with me as soon as possible. I will consider requests for greater flexibility when extenuating circumstances apply, otherwise, late work will not receive peer or instructor feedback and 10% of the grade will be deducted for each day past the deadline.

Grading Scale

97% or higher: 4.0

95-96: 3.9

93-94: 3.8

92: 3.7

91: 3.6

90: 3.5

89: 3.4

88: 3.3

87: 3.2

86: 3.1

85: 3.0

84: 2.9

83: 2.8

82: 2.7

81: 2.6

80: 2.5

79: 2.4

78: 2.3

77: 2.2

76: 2.1

75: 2.0

74: 1.9

73: 1.8

72: 1.7

71: 1.6

70: 1.5

69: 1.4

68: 1.3

67: 1.2

66: 1.1

65: 1.0

64 or lower: 0



Technology Policy

You are welcome to bring your laptops to take notes and access online materials. However, in our very distracted day and age, I ask that you please limit your computer use to our collective class activities. If something urgent arises, you can always excuse yourself so as not to distract the rest of the class. 

Relatedly, the Student Technology Loan Program allows students to borrow laptops, cameras, projectors, and other equipment for free. For more information please visit: https://stlp.uw.edu.

Classroom Conduct

For us to achieve the intellectual vibrancy diversity produces, we must be open to learning how others see and move through the world. We should also recognize that some people's ways of seeing and experiencing the world have been privileged, while others have been marginalized, disparaged, and sometimes met with outright violence. To say that we will create a “safe space” is, I believe, static, trite, and counter to intellectual growth. Rather, I hope that we will continually ask, “Safe space for whom?”  and seek to disentangle the power relationships inherent in any group.

COVID-19 Face Mask Policy

Students are required to follow the University’s COVID-19 Face Covering Policy at all times when on-site at the University, including any posted requirements in specific buildings or spaces. If a student refuses to comply with the policy, the student can be sent home (to an on or off-campus residence). Student Conduct offices are available for consultations on potential violations of student conduct if needed. University personnel who have concerns that a student or group of students are not complying with this policy should speak with their supervisor, a representative of the academic unit, or report it to the Environmental Health & Safety Department.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are serious violations of your contract as a student and will negatively impact your grades in this course. You are expected to know and follow the University’s policies regarding the student conduct code. I acknowledge that plagiarism can be understood differently in various contexts; however, we will be following the UW definition of academic dishonesty in this course. If ever in doubt if something is considered plagiarism or cheating, please ask. Students caught cheating or committing plagiarism on an assignment or exam will be given a reduced grade on the assignment the first time. The second offense will result in an automatic zero on the assignment and the third offense will result in a zero for the course. All incidents of plagiarism or cheating will be reported to administration. 



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 Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodation...). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).

Learning Accommodations

To request academic accommodations due to disabilities, contact Disability Resources for Students, 011 Mary Gates Hall, Box 352808, (206) 543-8925, uwdrs@uw.edu. If you would like to request an accommodation, whether or not you have a DRS letter, please let know as soon as possible so we can discuss how to best accommodate you in this class.

Student Resources


UW ASP-Online Learning: Academic Support Programs has created a one stop page with various resources and programs centered on online learning. These includes best practices, technology access, wellness, time management, and more. Click here for the resource page. 

Writing and Learning Support Resources: The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for undergraduate writers in all fields at the UW. They will work with writers on any writing or research project, as well as personal projects. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please see their website (https://depts.washington.edu/owrc). For Autumn Quarter, all appointments are online.

CLUE Writing Center: “If you are an undergraduate student at the UW Seattle campus, we are available to work with you. We can be of help during any stage in the writing process, including: Starting, Drafting, Revising, Researching, and Polishing. We will not proofread or edit a paper for you, but we will either teach or help you learn how to find and correct errors in punctuation, usage, and grammar. Whether you need help talking through ideas, honing an outline you've been working on, evaluating a draft mid-composition, or looking through a final draft—we're confident we can help you write more efficiently and effectively.” For more information please see the CLUE Website. For Autumn Quarter, all appointments are online.

English as an Additional Language: Please let me know if English is an additional language for you so that together we can figure out how to make the course as manageable as possible for you. Also please consult this helpful guide from the UW Center for Teaching and Learning for resources. 

Disability Resources: Your experience in this class is important. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations at your earliest convenience so I know 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), you are welcome to 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. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

UW Campus Food Pantry

The campus food pantry supplies UW students, staff, and faculty 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.

Counseling Center: The Counseling Center offers short-term, problem-focused counseling to UW students who may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of college, work, family, and relationships. Counselors are available to help students cope with stresses and personal issues that may interfere with their ability to perform in school. The service is provided confidentially and without additional charge to currently enrolled students. The Counseling Center is providing all services via secure Zoom. Please call 206-543-1240 during regular business hours to access services. Additional information can also be found by visiting https://www.washington.edu/counseling.

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

Husky Health and Well-Being: “UW Seattle offers a wide range of health and wellness services, from exceptional medical care and counseling services to recreation classes, safety resources, peer health advocacy, trainings and more. Most services on this site are limited to currently matriculated UW Seattle students, while others are open to faculty, staff and the general public.”

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 washington.edu/alert

For more information visit the SafeCampus website at http://www.washington.edu/safecampus/

Library Resources:

  • UW Libraries Search- find and get items from the UW Libraries and its SUMMIT partners.
  • Borrowing information - learn about loan periods, check out policies, and more.
  • UW GIS Resources- guide to geospatial data and GIS resources at UW
  • Audio & Video- guide to media resources within the collection.
  • Find It - guide to finding other types of information in the Libraries
  • Ask Us - get in touch with UW librarians by phone, email, or 24/7 chat.
  • Articles & Research Databases - browse a full list of UW Libraries databases by title.
  • E-Journals - search for UW Libraries e-journals by title, title keyword, or subject.
  • E-Newspapers - guide to electronic newspapers within the UW Libraries collection.
  • COVID-19 Outbreak Resources. For COVID-19 Outbreak resources, please see the COVID-19 Outbreak Resources document on the course Canvas page.


 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 Rush Daniel at daniej9@uw.edu or IWP Program Director Megan Callow at 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

A Final Note

I am looking forward to learning with you this quarter! Your questions and feedback are welcome and encouraged at any point. I hope you will not hesitate to approach me with any concerns or difficulties you are having with the course material or in navigating your way in university life. I am here to foster a supportive learning environment and to help you have a successful experience at UW.

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: 
November 30, 2021 - 12:23am