English 131: Writing Technologies
English 131: Writing Technologies
English 131: Writing Technologies
English 131: Writing Technologies
English 131: Writing Technologies
English 131: Writing Technologies

English 131: Writing Technologies

Autumn 2006 (22 Students)

Course Site No Longer Live

The Syllabus


Writing Intensive Course (designed and taught with approval from the University of Washington English department)

Full Course Title: “Composition: Exposition (Writing Technologies: Technophobia, Technophilia)”

Course Description

English 131 is not a grammar or literature course.  It is about writing as a process through which you engage and interact with the world.  You already have writing skills.  In English 131, you will develop and enhance them.  Designed to prepare you for making, examining, and refining arguments at the college level, English 131 makes your writing matter in various contexts and gives you confidence as a college writer.

English 131 is not geared specifically toward the English major.  Rather, English 131 helps you establish your own, distinct voice.  Together, we will investigate the subtle differences between disciplines; why genre, audience, and context are integral to writing; and, perhaps most importantly, how you can transfer the writing skills and habits learned in English 131 to the major you ultimately choose.

We will explore a variety of media – from popular culture to theory, short fiction to film, social spaces to everyday objects, blogs to images – through exciting, diverse, and creative ways.  You will not be asked to “master” the course material.  Instead, you will be asked to write often, at least four pages per week.  Through your writing you will be actively involved in a quarter-long inquiry that might include some nervousness and frustration, but also some really good questions, some convincing and sophisticated analyses, and some fun times.

The theme of the course is “Writing Technologies: Technophobia, Technophilia.” The course activities will all address, in some fashion, how people connect with their environment and how writing networks you with your surroundings.  Through the lenses of the reservations about and enthusiasm for such connections, we will ask the following questions:

How do audience and everyday practices influence writing?

How do social contexts impact how people feel about or interact with their environment?

Why is context fundamental to writing choices?

Writing, but for whom and for what purposes?

The course is not framed around computer programming or computer science or informatics or MS-DOS.  It does not require previous knowledge about what is and what is not “technology.” Don’t fret.  The course is also not concerned with what technology, technophobia, or technophilia “means.” The terms are merely vehicles for English 131, tools through which you can focus your writing and consider how writing functions. Consequently, you will have the opportunity to explore “Technophobia, Technophilia” in various ways of “writing,” from blogging to poetry, from video essays to letters, from autobiography to academic essays.

Learning Outcomes for the Course

Students should:

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

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

Produce complex, analytic, persuasive arguments that matter in academic contexts.

Develop flexible strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading writing.

What I Learned

This course was the first English course I taught. That said, I spent most of my quarter receiving feedback (from students, colleagues, staff, and faculty) on my pedagogy, designing new workshops and exercises on composition and revision, learning to establish identifiable conventions in prompts, developing lesson plans with concrete learning goals, and constructing a teaching persona. Since this course (which I thoroughly enjoyed), I have focused a significant portion of my career on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Course Evaluations

Available upon request.

(All images on the left are screen shots of the course site, which I designed.)