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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alissa S Bourbonnais
ENGL 131
Seattle Campus

Composition: Exposition

Study and practice of good writing: topics derived from a variety of personal, academic, and public subjects. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.

Class description

Nadine Gordimer famously said, "Writing is making sense of life." How does one "make sense of life," and what does that have to do with a writing course? Part of what you learn to do in college is make sense of the world around you, and, more importantly, make sense of yourself and how you fit into that world. Writing is communication. Writing is expression. Your writing and language form your identity, which informs how you interact with your world. English 131 will focus on critically dissecting diverse texts and the ways in which you relate to them in your own writing.

This is not a grammar class. While effective writing requires clear, grammatically coherent prose, a college writing course is more concerned with the quality of the ideas that you present in your writing and how you present them. Your goal for this course is not simply to earn a good grade and move on; rather, you will work to develop skills that you will take with you to any course, any job, and any social interaction you will encounter for the rest of your life. This is not a lecture class. You cannot memorize the correct answers. You will return to the same skills again and again, and the only way you will improve is by practicing. Good writers practice every day. The best writers are critical thinkers and critical readers first.

The goals of English 131 are to: Write for different audiences and different contexts; Synthesize complex texts and enter into an academic dialogue with those texts; Craft complex, analytic, persuasive arguments; and Develop a set of writing habits and strategies for revising your work.

These goals will be accomplished through a series of formal essays and other writing assignments, and a final portfolio of carefully selected and revised works prefaced by a critical reflective piece that demonstrates how your best work meets the course goals. Your success in this course depends not only on your writing, but also on your ability to actively participate as an intelligent, thoughtful, and caring member of our writing community in every single class.

Your final grade will be composed of the Portfolio (70%), and Participation (30%).

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course Website
Last Update by Alissa S Bourbonnais
Date: 12/19/2011