Composition II

*This course description is subject to change. Please contact me at if you have questions.

ENG 200, Section 001: Composition II (NI, WI)
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Spring 2019 Semester

Class Time & Location: MWF 9:30-10:20, Classroom TBD
Instructor: Nicole Kurashige (please just call me by my first name, “Nicole”)
Office Location: KUY 321
E-mail (preferred mode of contact)
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesday, 12:30 to 1:30 PM

Catalog Description
ENG 200 Composition II (3 credits)
“Further study of rhetorical, conceptual, and stylistic demands of writing; instruction develops the writing and research skills covered in Composition I. PreFW.”

Note: If you are unsure whether you have been cleared for English 200, you should go to the General Education office in Bilger 104, e-mail them at, or call them at (808) 956-6660. The English Department does not handle ENG class placements.

Expanded Course Description

The goal of ENG 200 is to help develop your skills as a writer by building on the critical thinking and composing techniques you learned in ENG 100 and to provide you with additional rhetorical strategies for composing across a variety of textual mediums. In this writing intensive course, we will examine comics and graphic novels from a rhetorical perspective to gain a better understanding of how this hybridized visual-textual medium can be mobilized to effectively communicate ideas about the world around us.

All it takes is a simple Google search and you’ll find that there’s a comic book, manga, or graphic novel for almost every topic imaginable. For example, XKCD is written and illustrated by a physicist and many of the jokes and gags included in the series speak to issues pertaining to math, science, and technology. Hark, A Vagrant!  is written and illustrated by a part-time historian and covers a range of historical events and classic literature. There’s manga about sports (oh, so many sports manga) that discuss basic kinesiology terminology and game strategy. The popularity of this visual medium in communicating to a mass audience of both informed and uninformed readers is astounding and is a subject worthy of study. Although I don’t expect you to become “pro” comics artists or diehard Comic Con fans by the end of this course, I do hope that you are able to develop a deeper sense of appreciation for such multimodal forms of communication and that you can see the value in paying closer attention to the visual rhetoric embedded in such texts.

Through a series of informal blog posts, in-class discussions, and three formal written assignments, you will be challenged to apply what you know and what you will soon learn about comics media and visual rhetoric and its potential to generate rhetorical velocity to your writing to create not only entertaining, but also engaging pieces for an appropriate target audience. During this course, you will conduct research on the topics that interest you the most in order to support your ideas/claims with concrete evidence.

Learning to be critical of the visual media you encounter on a daily basis and learning to compose writing using various multimodal platforms are skills that will benefit you beyond the English classroom, and will be useful in your everyday lives. Writing is a process, and I, therefore, encourage you all to explore and experiment as we progress through the semester. Ultimately, the activities, discussions, and assignments completed in this course should push you to become more critical, self-aware, and reflective writers.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Improve their ability to ask questions of and to read, analyze, and interpret complex literary and rhetorical texts, using relevant literary and rhetorical terminology critically and creatively.
  • Improve their ability to express ideas by organizing and developing and supporting a description, analysis, or argument in written formats, within the conventions of academic writing.
  • Produce a significant amount of writing such as the course fulfills the requirements of its mandatory W Focus designation (i.e., 4,000 words).


This course draws inspiration from a similar ENG 200 course taught by Kari Clements at the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu. While some of the main assignments are similar in nature, they have been modified/adapted accordingly to fit the needs of our class and the academic structure at UH Mānoa. Thank you, Kari for your generosity in sharing reading materials and lesson ideas and for helping me develop more college-level visual rhetoric (a.k.a. comics) composition courses!

Access to Technology

You will be required to have access to reliable and regular Internet/Wi-Fi sources and technological tools/devices (e.g. laptops, desktops, tablets, etc.) to successfully complete your work for this class. These devices should only be used for course related purposes. Unless otherwise noted, cell phone usage is prohibitedIf I see you using your cell phone for activities unrelated to class, you will be asked to leave and will receive an absence for the day. Please turn off or silence all mobile devices before the start of class.

There are two main computer labs on campus (Sinclair Library & Hamilton Library) with over 115 computers that are free to access for all UHM students. Please see this link for more information on where to find these labs and their hours of operation.

You are also responsible for regularly checking your UHM e-mail and our WordPress site for any and all updates. You are responsible for downloading and/or printing out any materials posted to our WordPress site for that day’s class. Please note that parts of our WordPress site are password protected for privacy. The URL and password for our class website will be given out during the first dayDO NOT share this password or any of the course materials posted on our website with anyone outside of our ENG 200 course.

Finally, if you haven’t done so already, I also strongly suggest that you download Microsoft Word to complete your assignments, as I will only accept Word.doc or Word.docx files. A free student version of Microsoft Office, which also includes Word, is offered to all UH students ( or If you’re having trouble with downloading Microsoft Word, please contact the UHM ITS Department for more information (808-956-8883 or you cannot acquire Microsoft Word, you may also use Google Docs to complete your work, but please download your document to your desktop as a Microsoft Word.doc/Word.docx file and e-mail it to me (see this YouTube tutorial for more information). DO NOT SHARE YOUR GOOGLE DOC WITH ME.

Required Texts 

Reading materials will be posted to our WordPress site in the form of short PDF excerpts or online links. You are, therefore, responsible for checking our WordPress site to access, download, and/or print/watch the required readings and videos.

***Note: Should I feel that the class, as a collective, is not keeping up with the readings and videos, I will begin giving pop quizzes, which will then be factored into your final grades.

Course Assignments:

To pass the course, you must complete ALL of the following assignments:

10% – Attendance, Active Class Participation, Homework Posts, & Reading Pop Quizzes

20% – x8 Blog Posts (250 to 300 words each, 2.5% per post)

30% –  Major Writing Assignments (roughly 2,400+ words total spread across two separate assignments)

  • Visual Rhetorical Analysis of a Comic Strip (1,000-1,250 words of polished academic prose + 250 word Writing Process Metacommentary = 1,250-1,500 words total, 15%)
  • Statement of Purpose + Résumé (900-950 words of polished prose + 250 word Metacommentary = 1,150-1,200 words total, 15%)

40% – Final Project (roughly 1,600+ words total broken into three separate parts written parts and one formal presentation)

  • Author Biography (100 words polished prose, 5%)
  • Presentation (3-5 minutes, 5%)
  • Cover Letter (250 words, 5%)
  • Critique of Institutional Document  (1,000-1,250 words of polished academic prose + 250 word Writing Process Metacommentary = 1,250-1,500 words total, 25%)

All formal written work, with the exception of the semi-formal Blog Posts, must be saved as Word.doc/Word.docx files, follow MLA guidelines, and include a Works Cited page when necessary. Attendance is mandatory and will be a vital part of your grade.