WI Course Criteria

All Writing-Intensive Courses Will Meet the Following Criteria

Please note: All WI course syllabi should have a statement that describes WI courses and their criteria; for examples, please click here.

An faculty member offering feedback to a student
Students benefit from having opportunities to revise based on meaningful feedback from their teachers, that is, feedback that teaches and provides direction rather than focusing solely on error.
  • Section size is limited to 35.
    • However, the WAC Committee strongly encourages departments to set enrollments at 25 or lower. Lower student enrollments enable both instructors and students to meet WI goals successfully.
  • WI Courses must be offered and taken in the major.
    • Departments are encouraged to develop WI Courses within the major as part of the core curriculum offered. In rare circumstances, a new and/or developing program may need to seek a temporary arrangement with a different department or unit to provide WI course credit to students. In this case, please contact the Director of the WAC program to discuss the application and approval process.
  • WI Courses must carry 3-credits.
    • Departments may meet this requirement via a single course or a series of courses or according to the degree plan. In some instances this requirement will be waived. (Departments seeking to waive this requirement must demonstrate how students are asked to meet all other requirements of a WI course and speak to issues of faculty workload.)
  • Faculty will devote significant time to instruction on writing in the course and on how to complete assignments successfully.
    • Detailed written assignments with explicit learning goals and evaluative criteria are strongly encouraged as part of this instruction. Expectations should be communicated for all types of writing, including writing in digital spaces, as appropriate to the assignment. For example, expectations for a blog or discussion post may vary depending on the purpose for the assignment and the discipline, and these distinctions and expectations should be made explicit.
  • Students are required to revise at least one substantive assignment in the course based on instructor feedback.
    • In courses in which students complete multiple short assignments of a similar nature, e.g., mathematical proofs, revision need not be required. However, instructor feedback should still be given so that students have the opportunity to improve.  If the only assignment in the course is not due until the end of the course, it should be divided into sequenced sections that receive feedback and can be revised.
  • Students will receive instructor feedback on their writing.
    • Feedback should focus on how meaning is made in the discipline, including organizational strategies, written forms and conventions, appropriate evidence and source use, etc. The types of writing and the grade value assigned to them will vary according to the discipline and the assignment. Note: While peer feedback can also be a valuable part of the process, it does not replace instructor expertise.
  • All of the writing assignments in the course should count substantially toward students’ final grades in the course.  To this end, students should be asked to write a minimum of 3500 words, divided among two or more assignments.
    • Writing that specifically addresses and is graded on how well students address the content, intended audience, and rhetorical purposes can count towards the minimum word requirement.
    • Statement on collaborative assignments: There may be instances in some disciplinary contexts where collaborative writing is appropriate. In such cases, students should be expected to produce at least 3000 words of individual writing in addition to other writing produced collaboratively in the class. Additionally, if collaborative writing assignments are incorporated into the course, they should be designed so that the instructor sees clear evidence of individual work such as preliminary drafts and editing/annotations from each collaborator.

WI Course Learning Outcomes

In addition to satisfying these criteria, courses must also satisfy the WI course learning outcomes in order to achieve and maintain the WI designation.

More Information