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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christopher M Featherman
ENGL 281
Seattle Campus

Intermediate Expository Writing

Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.

Class description

In this course students will develop their existing composition skills by writing in various genres and modes for diverse audiences while exploring the course theme, participatory culture. According to media scholar Henry Jenkins, participatory culture is a culture in which the public are not only consumers, but also producers of cultural content, a possibility not limited to but clearly facilitated by current affordances of the web. Websites such as Flickr and Vimeo, for instance, have made it easier to share creative expressions while wikis, discussion forums, and consumer reviews have facilitated collaborative knowledge sharing and blogs and online forums have arguably increased possibilities for civic engagement. Rich in participatory potential, these cultural forms also bear ethical challenges that are worth examining as a means of developing new media literacies and critical thinking skills. Viewing these circulations, collaborations, and expressions as scenes of writing also grants us interesting opportunities to develop our understanding of rhetoric and genre and thereby grow as expository writers.

With these aims in mind, students in this course will explore and investigate the web, collecting and critically examining participatory media forms and completing writing projects about them. Supporting this work will be course readings by Henry Jenkins, Laurence Lessig, Marshall Poe, Michel Foucault, Andrew Sullivan, Jurgen Habermas, and others. Students will also be supported by in-class and online discussion as well as peer and instructor feedback throughout the writing process. Please note that, while this course has no formal prerequisite, it is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Also, while we will pay close attention to the web, this is not a web writing course, although some interestóbut not necessarily any expertiseóin the web and new media will be assumed.

Student learning goals

To produce complex written, or and/or multimedia work that responds to the contexts and conventions of specific genres.

To read, analyzed, and synthesized sources from various genres and purposely incorporate appropriate evidence to generate and support communication.

To develop flexible strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading writing.

General method of instruction

This is a primarily a seminar-style, discussion-based class in which students are expected to actively participate and lead class discussion. Students will also frequently collaborate with peers and have ample opportunity to practice skills in and out of the classroom.

Recommended preparation

While this course has no formal prerequisite, it is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs, and essays.

Class assignments and grading

Three writing projects as well as shorter weekly assignments, including reading responses and discussion board posts. Daily reading assignments and preparation for class discussion.


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Christopher M Featherman
Date: 02/08/2011