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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christopher M Featherman
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

In this course, we will engage in the processes of critical writing, reading, and thinking in order to challenge, develop, and enhance your present academic writing skills. Guiding our exploration will be a framework of questions, including: How do we go about reading the work of other writers? How do writers go about saying what they say? How do these strategies influence audience? What kinds of language do we use? In addressing these and other questions, we will develop an awareness of our writing habits and create academic writing that is clear and well-supported, compelling and complex, a skill that will serve you in multiple disciplines, for various purposes, throughout your academic careers. To support and situate your writing, we will read and examine a variety of texts -- from essays and public documents to songs and images -- evaluating the contexts they inhabit along with the evidence and the language used to produce and sustain them. In doing so, we will analyze writers' strategies, consider how they support their goals, and reflect on how we can adopt or adapt them for our own writing purposes. Through readings on language, media, and identity, we will also examine and reflect on our personal beliefs, assumptions, and experiences, trying to better understand the forces that shape us as well as the environments that we inhabit. How we accomplish all this, how we connect the texts you read, the writing you produce, and your own experiences will largely depend on you. What work you do, what questions, reactions, and observations you contribute to class discussions, and what level of commitment you bring to developing your writing skills in collaboration with your classmates will determine not only how well you perform in the class, but also the success of the class as a whole.

Student learning goals

To demonstrate an awareness of the strategies that writers use in different writing contexts.

To read, analyze, and synthesize complex texts and incorporate multiple kinds of evidence purposefully in order to generate and support writing.

To produce complex, analytic, persuasive arguments that matter in academic contexts.

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

General method of instruction

While there will occasionally be lectures, the classroom will predominantly be student-centered, and students should expect to engage in and lead class discussions in pairs, small groups, and as a class in a way that supports and enhances class readings as well as our writing goals. There will also be opportunities throughout the quarter for hands-on practice of individual writing skills and revision techniques.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

There will be two sequences of writing assignments. In each, there will three short papers (2-3 pgs.) that build towards and culminate in an argumentative, source-based major paper (5-7 pages). At the end of the quarter, you will select and revise 4-6 of your short papers and 1 major paper to compile in a portfolio.

The basis of grading is how well you meet the course outcomes. 70% of your final grade is based on a final portfolio, which you build from selected written work from throughout the quarter. The remaining 30% of your grade is based on participation. This includes posting to the class discussion board, atttending conferences and peer reviews, coming to class prepared, and engaging in daily class discussions.


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 Christopher M Featherman
Date: 03/30/2010