Welcome to ENG 181


Welcome to ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie. The short video above introduces students to the class theme and key terms while explaining two major projects.

You can explore the course more with the following links:

Course Description & Syllabus

Conference Presentation Project

Students enter into their roles as knowledge producers in an academic community.

Digital Storytelling Project

Mirroring the fairy tale and romance convention of the hero returning home, students will develop videos like the one above targeting a non-academic audience.

Story Time Project

Partnering with either a local childcare or early education center on or near campus, we will facilitate an event where students can read their stories to their target audience: young children.

CFDE Proposal: Story Time


For my ENG 181 course, Journeying through Faerie, I am requesting $300 to facilitate a fairy tale reading project. With a young audience in mind, students will write short stories according to fairy tale conventions that they have studied during the term. After drafting and revising the stories, students will add creative commons or public domain images and then I will have each story printed in color and bound through Emory’s document services. Partnering with either a local childcare or early education center on or near campus, we will facilitate an event where students can read their stories to their target audience: young children. Before printing, students will need to revise their stories according to feedback from childcare or school staff. This will both ensure that the content is appropriate for the age level and give students practice in publishing through a gatekeeper.

Students will write a reflection after the event wherein they articulate and examine the response of their target audience. With feedback from their audience and educational staff, they will consider how well their story and image use promotes their rhetorical purpose and reaches their audience. Students will then turn in a revision of their story based on this experience along with their reflection.

ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie Syllabus


While in ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie, students will develop their audience awareness and understanding of genres while reading and writing fairy tales. Throughout the term, they will continually update their own definition of a fairy tale as they write and revise a genre analysis paper. Once they have a personal definition of the genre, they will write their own fairy tale according to it. Students will then work together to expand their understanding of the genre through a shared research question. After this process of slowly revising and rethinking their understanding of the genre of fairy tales, they will compose two texts that convey similar information for different audiences. The first will be a short conference paper that answers the same question they explored in small groups. The second will be a multimodal digital storytelling project (podcast or vlog) that presents their research to a larger, non-academic audience.

The first year composition students will be assisted in their mutual learning by Everyone’s an Author. I’ve chosen this particular rhetoric because it includes chapters on research, source usage, and how to select a genre and write within its conventions, including a section on narrative genres. The rhetoric will be supplemented by short fairy tale readings, including scholarship by Tolkien, Lewis, and Auden. The fairy tales themselves will offer examples of the genre that students will use in crafting their own definition. For the short critical works, Auden is the linchpin as he quotes and engages Tolkien and Lewis. I will use his essay as an example of integration of sources and entering into a conversation with a discourse community.

As students engage with these texts and develop their definition of the genre, they will be given strategic moments to pause and reflect on their writing. Many class sessions will begin with freewriting prompts that prepare students to think on a new project or to revision it for another purpose. At the end of each major project, a written reflection will be assigned. Each reflection asks students to consider their own rhetorical choices, from the purpose of their text (such as a fairy tale) to their specific audience with its unique needs.


ENG 181: Digital Storytelling Assignment


In the final act of ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie, students will design a multimodal assignment based on their previous research on a specific text in the course. By this point they will have reflected on their prior experience with fairy tales through freewriting, read multiple versions of fairy tales and romances, written in the genre themselves, and composed a short conference paper on a specific fairy tale. Throughout the course, they will have read chapters from Everyone’s an Author with specific focus on rhetorical situations, genre, audience, research, and design and delivery.

Like the scaffolded work students will do with genre, this assignment is influenced by James Britton’s research on writing development. I want to give more chances for students to express their analytical thought through different modes and persuasive styles than a formal academic paper. I’m also trying to model transferable skills for the students through emphasizing the importance of audience awareness for every single rhetorical context.

Conference Presentation Assignment

ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie

Conference Presentation

Description: Rather than a term paper, students will give short presentations patterned after the genre of a conference paper near the end of the second act (Week 10). This assignment sequence will give students a chance to practice revisions with a specific audience in mind. It will also highlight the importance of overlooked parts of student papers, such as titles, and the different organizational needs of a spoken as opposed to a written argument. Students will also be introduced to the concept of conference organization and the importance of sharing research.

Instructions: First students will collaboratively choose a theme in class and then discuss the kinds of topics that fit in their conference theme. Then they will pick a topic and a text to write about and submit a draft of a problem statement to me. Following my feedback, they will revise that draft and use it to begin drafting their conference paper. Since there won’t be enough time for everyone to deliver their papers individually, they will also participate in mock conference panel sessions, giving presentations on those panels in groups of four.

Feedback and/or resources: The first problem statement draft will receive detailed written feedback from me, and students will be directed to UVA’s online resources. The revised problem statement draft will be used in a peer review session the day it is due. The Title assignment will be part of a voting activity to show the importance of a title in a conference setting. The panel presentation will include peer questions and feedback. I will provide detailed written feedback on the conference paper.

Submission requirements

  • Problem Statement Draft: Earlier in the term, we will go over how to organize an introduction and do freewriting activities around the problem statement format.
  • Revised Problem Statement: Mirroring the abstract submission of a conference, students will turn in a revised problem statement draft.
  • Title: Submitted on Canvas the night before the last class period of Week 6.
  • Conference Paper: 4-page paper arguing a claim about a text from the syllabus with one secondary source as support. 10-minute group presentation answering shared research question.
  • Conference Participation Questions: One handwritten question for each presenter.

Grading criteria: Each submission will receive full credit for completion, except the conference paper, which will be given a letter grade based on paper grading criteria outlined in the syllabus. Successful conference papers will include a compelling thesis statement, logical transitions designed for a listening audience, and make use of evidence from one primary text and one scholarly article related to that text.

Reading Response: CFP Rhetorical Analysis

A misreading of the prompt can have far-reaching ramifications for student papers. Perhaps their claims will answer a different question or superficially address that question. Or they may invoke a different target audience than suggested by the prompt.

For my fairy tale course, I would like to prepare students to develop a conference paper as though delivering it in a professional setting. This will be a very new idea for many of them, so I will need to scaffold it on short writing assignments and introduce them to this new rhetorical context.

Along with looking at examples of conference papers on youtube, I want to do a short unit on the rhetoric of the call for papers. First we will look at a few CFPs as a genre in class and talk about how they are structured. Students will then choose one and write a short rhetorical analysis of it based on their previous work on genre analysis. In a page, they will describe the theme of the conference, the potential audience members (through looking at the organization’s website), and what kind of topics might be a good fit for the conference. At the end of the unit, the class as a whole will brainstorm and compose a CFP for our own mini-conference that we will hold for the end of the second act, keeping in mind the structure of a CFP that they have looked at so far. Since the generated the prompt for their conference papers collaboratively, they will begin drafting with a firm idea of what kind of work is being asked for.

ENG 181 Course Description

ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie

What does Adventure Time have to do with Chaucer? How did we get from Gawain and the Green Knight to Finn and Jake? What do we miss out on if the only Little Mermaid we know is an 80s movie? In this class, we will explore together the development of faerie and fantasy genres, and enter into it ourselves as writers. While reading faerie and fantasy running from medieval romance to Victorian revisioning of the fairy tale and beyond, we will describe and interpret patterns and breaks in the tradition, write the same literary genres that we read, and add our own voices to the scholarly conversation through writing and delivering short conference papers. Like any romance or hero’s journey, we will end by telling others what we have learned through composing educational pieces (such as blog posts, vlogs, and podcasts) for a general audience and making them available online. Instead of a term paper, your challenge will be to communicate your insights to a specific audience, whether in the context of a conference or serving an online community. The readings will include: Sir Orfeo, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, fairy tales by Andrew Lang and the Brothers Grimm, George MacDonald’s The Golden Key, Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” and critical work by Tolkien and Lewis (because they were amazing medievalists).