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Writing Intensive Course Requirements

This document outlines the requirements for a Writing Intensive course proposal.

The following items define the characteristics of a Writing Intensive-designated course. They do not exhaust the possibilities for writing in a course, nor are they a mere checklist against which a proposal will be measured. They are intended to assist you as you consider how you want to incorporate writing into your course.

The Writing Intensive Advisory Committee recommends that these items be included in the draft syllabus for the course you propose to run as WI.

The WI designation is important because students need to complete three WI courses for graduation.

  • The syllabus should explicitly state that the course is Writing Intensive, and should explain the meaning of this designation for your course in a writing intensive statement explaining the writing component of the course (early in the syllabus) of roughly 100-250 words.
  • In addition, one writing-focused learning objective, course objective, or course goal should be included in the syllabus indicating the way in which you intend for the students to develop their writing skills in the course's discipline.
    • Please note that these requirements replace the previous requirement of a separate written one-page statement on the writing assignments in the course.
    • Here's an example of a customized Writing Intensive statement for an upper-level course:

"This is an upper-level Writing Intensive (WI) course. This satisfies a college-wide requirement, in tandem with two lower-level WI courses. This course builds on the writing skills you’ve developed throughout your college career, and pushes you to write in the specific genre of sociolinguistic analysis. Writing assignments in this class include blog posts, production of a Commons resource site, two 1000-word academic essays, and one 2000-word academic research paper based on the analysis of language data that you will collect. The formal essays and paper will be reviewed by peers and the instructor, and revised in multiple drafts. Developing your ability to write in this course will exercise your ability to shift between academic genres and audiences, and will make you a stronger writer overall."

Here's an example of a writing-related learning objective for an upper-level course:

"When you finish this course, you should be able to: Write analyses of literature or natural language data in different academic genres using appropriate citation practices and terminology."

  • The proposed course (if lower-level) should have English 125 as either a co-requisite or pre-requisite. It is suggested that upper-division WI courses have English 126 as a prerequisite, or are otherwise limited to non-first-year students.
  • The proposed course should include a minimum of 10-12 pages of formal written work with drafts and revision or practice. This requirement can be met in various ways; for many WI courses, especially those in the lower division, several shorter assignments are preferable to one longer assignment.
    • Assignments in WI courses build on learning in foundational courses, make specific reference to the writing process, and encourage students to engage this process in their work. Elements of this process may include low- and middle-stakes writing-to-learn exercises, in-class attention to writing issues, initial drafts, a process for revision, and feedback on student work.
  • In the proposed course, a significant portion of the final grade should be based on students’ written work. A minimum of 40% is suggested, with the general guideline being that a student should not be able to pass the course without completing the writing component.