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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Edward Schaumberg
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

Welcome to English 131! As a writing course, this class will provide you with tools and guidelines to help you grow as a college-level writer. That growth, however, will be a different process for each of you. This class is about using those tools and guidelines to express your thoughts and ideas through writing, how to make the skills and strategies we discuss in this class remain effective for the writing you create in college and beyond. Of course, the best way to improve your writing is by writing a lot. As such, we will be writing a lot—two major papers of 5-7 pages, six short papers of 2-3 pages, along with plenty of free-writing and reflective exercises in class. We’re also going to read and analyze lots of writing in class discussions and papers. We’ll break it down, see how it works, and what it tries to do. This might seem like a lot of work, and it is. But while I am here to make sure you complete that work and meet the expectations the UW sets out for you, I am also here to help and encourage you along the way. If you’re willing to work hard and to personally invest yourself, you will succeed in this class. More importantly, the critical thinking, reading, and writing we do will be incredibly useful to you, regardless of your major.

Thematically, this critical analysis will focus on the way we see and imagine our physical environment. Now, this course will not only be about “finding an appreciation for nature” or “connecting to mother earth” or anything like that, though thinking about natural environments forms a large part of what we do. Rather, I want to think more broadly about the way the spaces we occupy, either built or natural, help us understand who we are and how we see the world. We will look at the way other writers see their surroundings, we will examine our own surroundings, and we will delve into larger cultural understandings of the physical world around us. This kind of critical analysis forces you to practice Metacognititon, or thinking about thinking. Metacognition forms the heart of this class because if you can think about the way you see the world, you can examine how you read, or why you make the writing choices you make. You can then consciously create your writing to fit a specific situation. This kind of situational awareness will help improve both your reading and your writing, and will make the work you do in this class translate to the rest of your time here at the University of Washington, and into the way you carefully examine the world around you.

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.
Last Update by Edward Schaumberg
Date: 02/22/2012