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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jane Wong
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

rhetoric (noun) 1. (in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast. 2. the art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse, including the figures of speech. 3. the study of the effective use of language. 4. the ability to use language effectively. 5. the art of prose in general as opposed to verse.

What in the world does this word mean? What is rhetoric exactly? Perhaps it is more helpful if we ask what isn’t rhetoric. On Monday morning, you throw on your jeans and Huskies sweatshirt and walk out the door to class. You bump into your roommate who says “Good morning.” You can say: “Good morning” or “Is it a good morning?” or “No, it’s a great morning” or “It’s way too early,” etc. We use rhetoric everyday to engage with each other. We challenge, we listen, we disagree, we suggest, we question, we complicate, we argue, etc. This fall, we will be exploring how to use the power of rhetoric both everyday and in the academic classroom. We will be writing a lot in this course! You will be expected to contribute 6 short writing assignments and 2 major papers. You will create a final portfolio that includes selections of your work and reflections on how your writing exemplifies our course outcomes.

Through our close readings and discussions, some of the questions we will wrestle with throughout the quarter include: What is this author arguing and why? What are the stakes? Who is the author trying to convince? What is working in the text and what is not? How can we enter the conversation and engage with this writer? English 131 will challenge and enhance your skills as a reader, writer, speaker, and critical thinker. We will focus on rhetorical strategies that create effective communication, sturdy positions, and complex arguments. We will dig beneath the surface of texts and ask why and how. Through this class, you will better develop the ability to communicate persuasively and thoughtfully about issues you feel passionately about. These skills are not only necessary for a successful college student at UW, but also for an active (and curious!) world citizen.

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 Jane Wong
Date: 09/21/2012