ENGL 131 J: Composition: Exposition

ENGL 131 J: Composition: Exposition

ENGLISH 131, SECTION J:  Composition and Exposition: “Interrogating Borders and Boundaries"

FALL 2013



MGH 288 T 11:30-1:20, MGH 082 TH 11:30-1:20

INSTRUCTOR: Meagan Loftin


OFFICE HOURS: TTH 1:30-2:30 or by appointment

EMAIL: mloftin@uw.edu



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In this section of English 131, we will explore composition and exposition through reading, discussion, and analysis of borders and boundaries.  The first half of the course will be an interrogation of different types of borders or boundaries, what defines them and how they affect us.  We will look not only at physical borders but also the boundaries that distinguish genres, as well as economic, racial, and social border-crossers.  In the second half of the quarter you will complete a research sequence on an aspect of our theme that you find interesting and will produce a research paper on a cultural artifact of your choice.  This however is not a class in which you will be assessed on your knowledge of borders and boundaries.  This is a class on inquiry--on reading, thinking and writing critically, and thus your work will be assessed not on the claims you make but how you make them.  The texts we will be analyzing and the theme under which we will be working serve as a gateway to developing and implementing a process of critical analysis.  

By the end of this quarter you will:

  • Recognize good academic writing and be able to produce it.
  • Be able to recognize the choices an author makes and the tools one uses to communicate with specific audiences for specific purposes.
  • Know how to analyze and enter into a dialogue with (to talk about and respond to) one or more texts, how texts are in a dialogue with each other and how to communicate that dialogue to your audience.
  • Know how to do research and use resources effectively to produce clear, complex and meaningful arguments.
  • Have the skills to revise your work in a substantial way (not just editing) and understand that revision is an ongoing process of analysis and reflection.  

Most importantly, you will be able to use what you have learned here across disciplines.

In the course of this class you will produce four short assignments (under 5 pages each) and two long assignments (5-7 pages each).  In addition, toward the end of the quarter you will create a portfolio with selected works that you feel best represent the outcomes of this course (Outcomes.pdf) and a reflection essay explaining how your portfolio exemplifies the outcomes. Throughout the course, you will be expected to come to class on time and prepared, to participate in discussion and workshops, and to have open ears and an open mind to what your classmates have to say. 

As part of the English Department’s Computer Integrated Classroom (CIC) program, we will have access to technologies not available in the traditional classroom. Half of our class periods will be held in Mary Gates 082, a networked computer lab. You will be using the computers to conduct research, participate in online discussions, complete group exercises, draft and share work, comment on your peers' essays, and keep a record (in your individual folder) of your written work. With these opportunities come a few additional requirements. You will need to provide some of your work in electronic form, and this may require you to convert your files into Word format. You will also need to put in effort early in the quarter to become comfortable with the computer skills needed for success in this class.


REQUIRED:     Hobmeier, Amanda, Wachter-Grene, Kirin, et al.. Contexts for Inquiry: A Guide to Reading, Research, and Writing at the

   University of Washington. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013.

                       CIC Student Guide (http://depts.washington.edu/engl/cic/sgonline)

                       Reliable method(s) of file transfer (USB device, email attachment, FTP; cloud storage)

                       UW NetID and Password


RECOMMENDED: Lunsford, Andrea. The Everyday Writer. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. OR

                           Four Year Access Card Writers Help


In this course, you will complete two assignment sequences, each of which is designed to help you fulfill the course outcomes. Each assignment sequence requires you to complete two shorter papers leading up to a major paper. These shorter papers will target one or more of the course outcomes at a time, help you practice these outcomes, and allow you to build toward a major paper at the end of each sequence.

Assignments are due online by 11:30AM on the day indicated on the syllabus.

NOTE: 2 pages means 2 COMPLETE pages, not 1 page and the first four lines of the next.

Papers should be formatted as follows:

  • It should have your name in the upper left of the first page and a title above the text.
  • It should be double-spaced, with 1 in margins.
  • It should be in either Times New Roman or Calibri font (12 pt).
  • It should be proofread for typos, grammar, and spelling.
  • It should use correct MLA citation if any text is used.
  • It should include a separate Works Cited Page in MLA format if any text is used.


You will sign up for 1 of 7 grammar presentations throughout the quarter.  For these presentations you will be working in a group of 3 or 4 people.  Your group must prepare a 450-500 word discussion post on your grammar topic and post it on the class Discussion page by 10:00AM the day of your presentation.  In class, your group will give a presentation on the grammar topic for 3-5 minutes.  Everyone in the group must talk during the presentation.      



Toward the end of the course, having completed the two sequences, you will be asked to compile and submit a portfolio of your work along with reflective writing. The portfolio will include:

  • One revised major paper
  • Three revised short papers
  • A critical reflection explaining how the portfolio demonstrates the course outcomes.

In addition, the portfolio will include all of the papers you do not revise. A portfolio that does not include all the above will be considered "Incomplete" and will earn a grade of 0.0-0.9. The grade for complete portfolios will be based on the extent to which the pieces you select demonstrate the course outcomes. The portfolio will be worth 70% of your final grade.

Because you will not be turning in your portfolio until the end of the quarter, you will not be graded on any of your assignments until that time. The great benefit of this portfolio system is that you are able to develop new skills and techniques before being assessed. Therefore, your grade will be based on how well you address the course outcomes at the end of the quarter rather than the beginning.

Your portfolio will be due Sunday, December 8th by Midnight.


The rest of your grade will be determined by your participation in and out of class. Your participation grade consists of these components:

  • Attendance: If you are not present in class, you cannot participate; therefore regular attendance is key to your participation grade.
  • In-Class Discussions: Contributions to class in the form of responding to questions, engaging in group work, and providing feedback in peer review. I expect you to be consistently prepared with readings and active in all discussions.
  • Revision Plans: You will be required to complete revision plans for your first five papers. These will be submitted in the comment section of the correlating paper.  These will all be due by Midnight November 22nd.
  • Discussions: You will be required to complete 5 graded postings on the Discussion board throughout the quarter.  These should be submitted by 10:00AM on the day indicated on the syllabus.
  • Research Journals: Your will be required to submit 3 250 word research journals over the course of this class.  They should be submitted by 10:00AM on the day indicated on the syllabus to the Canvas Site.
  • Grammar Presentations: Everyone will sign up for one of seven grammar presentations throughout the quarter.  This includes a 450-500 word post submitted to the class discussion page and a 3-5 minute presentation in class.
  • Conferences: You will have two conferences with me over the course of the semester. Attendance for both prepared will earn full points.

Because the exchange of ideas is so important to this class, it is necessary for everyone to be respectful of one another. It is normal and even expected that, in our class discussions, we will disagree. Differences can and should be discussed, but these discussions should maintain the academic spirit of respect. Derogatory or discourteous language/behavior will not be tolerated in our classroom.

Please turn off all cell phones and any other electronic gadgets that make noise before coming to class. If you feel the need to answer a call or send a text, you will be asked to leave class.


Throughout the quarter, your papers will receive feedback to help you identify what you are doing well and what you need to improve. The following evaluation rubric will be used as part of my feedback:

  • Outstanding: Offers a very highly proficient, even memorable demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), including some appropriate risk-taking and/or creativity.
  • Strong: Offers a proficient demonstration of the trait(s) associated with the course outcome(s), which could be further enhanced with revision.
  • Good: Effectively demonstrates the trait(s) associate with the course outcome(s), but less proficiently; could use revision to demonstrate more skillful and nuanced command of trait(s).
  • Acceptable: Minimally meets the basic outcome(s) requirement, but the demonstrated trait(s) are not fully realized or well-controlled and would benefit from significant revision.
  • Inadequate: Does not meet the outcome(s) requirement; the trait(s) are not adequately demonstrated and require substantial revision on multiple levels.



You are expected to be an active participant in class, so come prepared to contribute to the discussion and participate in activities. When you miss a class, you miss the opportunity to be a member of the class community and your participation grade will suffer if you are not in class to participate. If you are absent, ask a member of your class for notes and make up missed work in a timely manner (see “Late Work” below). If you come in after class has started, even by only a few minutes, you will be considered late.  If you need to leave early, please come and talk to me BEFORE class starts.


We will be in computer lab once a week.  While in the lab you should observe the following rules.  Not complying by these rules will result first in a warning.  If I see the same behavior a second time, you will be asked to leave class and you will not receive participation credit for that day.

  • No sitting on desks
  • No food or drinks
  • No downloading of software (games, instant messengers, etc.)
  • No surfing, typing, chatting, while others are talking
  • No cell-phone or personal electronic device use unless I have given you explicit directions otherwise
  • All files used during class should be saved to your file folder in course drive
  • Log-off computers at the end of class

In addition, this room can be very noisy so please speak up while in lab so that others can hear you.


You are required to meet with me two times during the quarter in conferences to discuss your work. These conferences give you the opportunity to get feedback about your papers/projects and to express any concerns, questions, or suggestions you might have about the course or the assignments. Conferences are mandatory and, if missed, will affect your participation grade. I will provide you with a sign-up sheet for these conferences and detailed instructions about how to prepare for them.


All written assignments are due before class on the due date (11:30AM) in the Class Website unless otherwise specified. Unless you have worked out a different arrangement with me (I have approved an extension), I will not give written feedback on any assignments that are turned in late. That said, I am always available during office hours to discuss late assignments. You will still need to complete late work, as your portfolio must include all assignments in order for it to receive a passing grade. Consistently turning in late work will make successful completion of the portfolio nearly impossible. Note that all participation assignments (journals, discussion posts, revision plans, etc.) are not eligible for extension.  Late participation assignments will be graded as incomplete (0 points).


Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else’s ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people’s thoughts and writing, as long as you cite them.

If you are in a position where you’re tempted to plagiarize, it probably means there’s something else going on. Perhaps you’re having trouble understanding what the assignment is asking you to do, or you’re struggling to manage the multiple obligations of being a college student. These are totally understandable dilemmas, so please come talk to me about the source of the problem (so we can work on solving it) instead of creating a more serious problem for yourself by plagiarizing.

As a matter of policy, any student found plagiarizing any piece of writing in this class will be reported to the College of Arts and Sciences for review. For more information, refer to UW’s Student Conduct Code at:



I encourage you to take advantage of the following writing resources available to you at no charge. If you attend a writing conference, write me a one-page, double-spaced summary of who you worked with, what paper you focused on, and what you learned and I will add a point to your participation grade.

  • The CLUE Writing Center in Mary Gates Hall is open Sunday to Thursday from 7pm to midnight. The graduate tutors can help you with your claims, organization, and grammar. You do not need to make an appointment, so arrive early and be prepared to wait.
  • The Odegaard Writing and Research Center is open Sunday to Thursday from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This writing center provides a research-integrated approach to writing instruction. Make an appointment on the website: www.depts.washington.edu/owrc.


If you need accommodation of any sort, please don’t hesitate to talk to me about it so that I can work with the UW Disability Services Office (DSO) to provide what you require. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials. More information about accommodation may be found at http://www.washington.edu/admin/dso/.


Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. If you're concerned, tell someone.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up online at www.washington.edu/alert

For more information visit the SafeCampus website: www.washington.edu/safecampus.


If you have any concerns about the course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the following Expository Writing staff in Padelford A-11:

or Assistant Director:

  • ·         Taylor Boulware, 206.543.9126
  • ·         Kirin Wachter-Grene, 206.543.9126
  • ·         Mandy Hobmeier, 206.543.9126

If, after speaking with the Director or Assistant Directors of the EWP, you are still not satisfied with the response you receive, you may contact English Department Chair Gary Handwerk, (206) 543-2690.


Attached below is an calendar for the class, including your reading and writing assignments, which is, of course, subject to change. You should consider it to be accurate unless I inform you otherwise. Note that additional homework may be assigned in class that is not detailed on the syllabus. It is your responsibility to ask a member of the class about missed assignments if you are absent.



Course Summary:

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