Criteria for W courses

Analysis in summer 2009 of existing writing intensive course syllabi showed these seven common qualities.

  • Students work on writing in stages, i.e., writing is a process.
  • Students share the stages of their writing using peer review.
  • Students construct arguments more than simply reflect on experiences.
  • Students support their arguments with field-specific research.
  • Students document their research using conventions of the discipline (e.g., APA, MLA).
  • Students write to different audiences (e.g., instructors, themselves, legislators).
  • Students use writing conventions based on different genres (e.g., letters, posters, annotated bibliographies, formal researched arguments).

Discussion among committee members during fall 2009 resulted in the addition of an eighth criterion: that the majority of the assessments in W courses be done through writing. In October, 2009, the GEAUAP Committee passed these as the four criteria required for W courses in the current gen ed program.

  • Students work on writing in stages, i.e., writing is a process.
  • The majority of the work in the course will be assessed via writing.
  • Students support their arguments with field-specific research.
  • Students document their research using conventions of the discipline (e.g., APA, MLA).