Download the PDF version of the course policies and syllabus.

Return to home.


Writing Challenges/Short Papers (40%): The majority of the writing you will do for this class is in the form of short, critical, and well-conceived papers. Each week you will be given a "writing challenge," a particular writing task to accomplish in 1 to 4 pages. Writing challenges focus on specific skills, forms, genres, and ideas to work out particular writing muscles and habits. These short papers will be graded on clarity, coherence, analysis, concision, and how well they satisfy the assignment. Writing Challenges are due weekly, but you need only complete a minimum of 7; some challenges are required.

Writing Challenge #1: Personal Statement
Writing Challenge #2: Expository Foray
Writing Challenge #3: Poet-Try
Writing Challenge #4: Short Short Story
Writing Challenge #5: Research Proposal
Writing Challenge #5.1: Annotated Bibliography
Writing Challenge #6: Food for Words
Writing Challenge #7: Sporting Chance
Writing Challenge #8: Interview
Writing Challenge #9: Definition
Writing Challenge #10: Editorial
Writing Challenge #11: A Lot to Cover Letter

Major Paper (20%): You will select a topic, problem, or question to write about in an extended, evidenced 6 to 8 page extended exposition or research paper. To get you started, Week 5's Writing Challenge will be a research proposal where you identify and outline your major paper's topic and goals. The major paper asks you to think critically about the goals of the class, to research and make connections, and to put all of the quarter’s skills into actual practice.

Extra Credit: Peer Review/Workshop

Final Portfolio (10%): The capstone of your writing boot camp will be your final portfolio. The final portfolio will include: all of your graded Writing Challenges, a table of contents, three revised short papers, your Major Paper, and a cover letter that explains how the portfolio demonstrates the goals and outcomes for the course. The cover letter, in fact, is the final week’s Writing Challenge. Your portfolio will be graded on completeness, organization, revision, and presentation. A portfolio that does not include all the above will be considered incomplete.
Return to home.Go to top.

Information Sheets

The following are handouts, informational sheets, and readings that will be assigned or used over the course of the quarter. Each student will recieve a copy of each as a handout in class during the appropriate week. If you miss a sheet, feel free to print out a new copy.

ENGL281 Student Info Sheet & Release Form

Ed's Top Ten List of "Ways to Survive University"

Ed's Top Ten Rules of Writing

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

MLA Citation and Bibliographic Format

Sample Research Proposals

Sample Annotated Bibliography

Introductions & Conclusions

Sports Illustrated Introductions

16 Tactics of Definition


All of the short readings for class are available via the Course Reader (for sale at Ave Copy, 4141 Univ. Way @ 42nd), or through the university’s online course reserves (, or directly from the web. There are two other required texts and 2 recommended texts, which are available at the UW Bookstore (or through any reputable bookstore, many of which can be found at used bookstores). Consult the course syllabus for the week each reading will be covered in class. The following is a full bibliographical list of the class readings:

Alexie, Sherman. "The Joys of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me." Eds. McQuade, Donald and Robert Atwan. The Writer's Presence. Boston: Bedford/St. martin, 2003. 61-64.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

Bartholomae, David. "Inventing the University." Ed. Rolf Nargaard. Composing Knowledge. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007. 208-213.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

Berkes, Howard. "The 'Unreadable' Thing: John McPhee on the Craft of Writing." SEJ Publications. The Society of Environmental Journalists. 15 Nov. 2006. 25 Aug. 2009.

Bradbury, Ray. "2026: There Will Come Soft Rains." The Martian Chronicles. New York: Bantam Books, 1950. 166-172.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

Jackson, Shelley. "My Body." 2007. 25 Aug. 2009.

Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." 2005. 27 Sep. 2009.

Greene, Gael. "New York Magazine Articles." Insatiable Critic. 2009. 27 Sep. 2009.

Hughes, Langston. "Theme for English B." Eds. Comley, Hamilton, Klaus, Scholes, and Sommers. Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2001. 108-109.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

McPhee, John. A Sense of Where You Are. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.

McPhee, John. Giving Good Weight. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979.

Olmert, Michael. Milton's Teeth and Ovid's Umbrella: Curiouser and Curiouser Adventures in History. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Pollan, Michael. "Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch." New York Times. 2 Aug. 2009. 12 Aug. 2009.

Proulx, Annie. “Brokeback Mountain.” Close Range: Wyoming Stories. New York: Scribner, 1999: 255-285.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

Sirc, Geoffrey. "Writing Classroom as Factory." Composition Studies. 36:1 (2008): 29-38.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

Smith, Patricia. "Skinhead." AGNI 56. 2007. 25 Aug. 2009.

Tan, Amy. "Mother Tongue." Eds. Comley, Hamilton, Klaus, Scholes, and Sommers. Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2001. 77-82.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).

Vipond, Douglas and Russell A. Hunt. "The Strange Case of the Queen-Post Truss: John McPhee on Writing and Reading." College Composition and Communication 42:2 (May 1991): 200-210.      (Also available via UW e-reserve).
Return to home.Go to top.

© 2007-11 Edmond Chang. All original material. All rights reserved. Email the webmaster of this site. These pages are best viewed with Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer. Open your browser to the largest viewable area. These pages are hosted by the University of Washington Computing & Communications system.