Writing Intensive Course Guidelines

Courses designated as Writing Intensive follow three guidelines:

A restated version of the below WI Guidlelines is available in PDF

WI Guideline 1. Students in the course should do substantial writing that enhances learningand demonstrates knowledge of the subject or the discipline. Writing should be an integralpart of the course and should account for a significant part (approximately 50% or more) of the final grade.

Learning in any course includes learning the appropriate ways of reading, writing and thinkingfor that subject or discipline. Traditional writing assignments, such as senior theses, seminarpapers, take-home and in-class essay exams, case studies, laboratory notebooks or reports,proposals, literature reviews, and field research should be considered as possible sources forsatisfying the writing requirement. There is no single or universal formula for satisfying the WIrequirement as courses naturally differ according to their level, form, and function. For example,General Education courses may emphasize writing-to-learn strategies, while major courses mayincorporate an additional focus on discipline-specific writing.  

WI Guideline 2. Writing should be assigned in such a manner as to require students towrite regularly throughout the course. Major assignments should integrate the process ofwriting (prewriting, drafting, revision, editing). Students should be able to receiveconstructive feedback of some kind (peer response, workshop, professor, TA, etc.) duringthe drafting/revising process to help improve their writing.

The quantity of the writing required is less important than how the writing is integrated into thecourse. For example, frequent short writing assignments (2-5 pages) for which the studentreceives comments and an opportunity to revise can sometimes be more effective than longresearch papers submitted at the end of the course which receive comment and evaluation onlyafter the course is over. Longer assignments can be broken up into stages or components withfeedback at critical points to allow for a more effective writing/researching process and,ultimately, a more satisfying product.

WI Guideline 3. The course should include both formal (graded) and informal (heuristic)writing.  There should be papers written outside of class which are handed in for formalevaluation as well as informal assignments designed to promote learning, such as inventionactivities, in-class essays, reaction papers, journals, reading summaries, or other appropriate exercises.

Assigning work in a variety of genres for a variety of audiences can help students synthesize andapply disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge effectively. It is important that evaluation ofwriting be conducted by people trained in the conventions of the genre being used and beappropriate to the nature of the assignment. New writing and assessment strategies, such asportfolio and student self-assessment, are encouraged.(The preceding text is excerpted from the University Writing Requirement.)