Features of a Writing Intensive Course

This section provides an overview of required “W” course features. You can increase your students’ ability to meet your expectations by explaining writing-intensive goals in your syllabus, by designing assignments that guide students from thinking about new ideas to honing writing techniques, and by commenting on drafts in ways that encourage effective revision.


  • A maximum enrollment of 25


  • Explains how writing is used in the course; helps students see the difference between a “W” course and a regular course with lots of writing


  • Writing used to help students learn course content
  • Writing used to help students learn ways of writing in the discipline
  • Assignment sheets—formal, graded writing assignments communicated in writing


  • Writing seen as processes that develop through iterations
  • Writing in the course includes a combination of formal and informal assignments


  • Response comes from instructor, though additional responses from other sources (classmates, tutors, teaching assistants) are encouraged


  • Grades come from instructor (evaluation of writing must not be “hired out”)
  • Students know evaluation criteria
  • At least 25% of course grade is based on writing (additional ungraded writing is expected)

For more information, email Karen Moroski.

The English Department’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric.