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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David T Holmberg
ENGL 281
Seattle Campus

Intermediate Expository Writing

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

Class description

"Disciplinary Discourse: A Case Study in English"

In this class we will be considering how disciplines produce and construct knowledge. In order to improve skills necessary to “communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression” we will be considering how writing is always a product of specific writing situations. To work on these skills we will first take the English discipline as our subject as we read and write essays that might be traditionally thought of as "English essays," and then we will analyze how the discipline constructs knowledge. After that, you will choose several examples of writing from your own field or discipline in order to consider how writing works to produce knowledge in your field and in disciplines more generally.

The goal of this class will be to develop and hone skills necessary for writing academic papers, skills you will undoubtedly need both in your remaining years (or months, or days) at the University of Washington, as well as to consider how these skills can be applied to other contexts that are useful for your own discipline or profession. Although the papers that you write for different classes at the university will have varying expectations and require different methodologies, this class will help you to recognize these differences and provide you with skills for achieving success across the disciplines and beyond. In other words, while this class will be explicitly an “English” course and firmly situated in the English discipline, we will be thinking through issues of disciplinarity and how these skills transfer to other writing situations.

In order to achieve these specific goals, you will be writing approximately three to four pages per week in addition to reading works of literature, critical essays, and other texts from a variety of sources. I expect you to come to class every day having read closely and carefully and to be ready to discuss these texts. In class we will be having class discussions, engaging in group work, and utilizing weekly writer’s workshops.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this 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, paragraph and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory writing course before enrolling in English 281.

Class assignments and grading

Students are expected to write frequently, both in and out of class. The minimum writing requirement for "C" (composition) classes is 7,500 words submitted. Consequently, over the course of the quarter you should thus expect to be turning in an average of 3-4 pages each week. In addition, we will be reading works of literature, secondary criticism, and writing manuals, so we will be packing a lot into our ten weeks.


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 David T Holmberg
Date: 02/21/2012