Writing Instruction at Mason and the Role of the WI Course
The WI course should provide support for learners through explicit instruction in the genres and practices of the discipline, both instructor and peer feedback, and additional instructional materials that specifically engage the practices of writing (e.g., model texts, textbooks, handouts, websites). The major writing assignments in WI courses should be closely tied to the content of the course, the goals of the program, and the activity of professionals in the field; these assignments should not be generic research papers assigned solely to meet the WI requirements.
For more information about writing instruction and the role of the WI course, please visit our description of Mason’s writing curriculum.
Goals of the WI Course
- To facilitate students learning professional ways of writing, which are integrally connected with professional ways of knowing and ways of doing;
- To increase student engagement around learning (since teaching writing across the curriculum is recognized as a high-impact teaching practice);
- To make explicit the tacit communication practices expected of professionals in a particular discipline, profession, or field of study.
Learning Outcomes of the WI Course
WI courses should engage both writing-to-learn and writing-to-communicate and teach writing as a process (not just a product) by addressing the following foundational learning outcomes. All WI courses should explicitly meet the writing as a process outcome and at least one outcome from each of the other categories (writing to learn and writing to communicate).
Writing to learn: using writing as a form of inquiry, invention, and reflection
- Students will use writing to explore and respond to texts or other content in ways that deepen their awareness of the field of study and its subject matter.
- Students will write in response to primary or secondary sources in their field of study in order to better understand, analyze, and synthesize key questions and conversations reflected in those sources and field of study.
- Students will use writing to reflect on the strategies, processes, genres, purposes, and audiences that they, their peers, or professionals in their field of study engage as writers as students continue to build on and adapt their prior experiences to new and changing contexts for writing.
Writing to communicate: using writing as a form of participation in a discipline, profession, or field of study
- Students will gain familiarity with one or more academic, public, or professional genres specific to their field of study and be able to explain some of the major conventions for composing the genre(s), including (but not limited to) purpose, audience, structure, content, language use, and citation practices.
- Students will demonstrate through writing assignments a rhetorical awareness of the decisions they make related to purpose, audience, and the context in which they write, including writing conventions that are specific to their discipline, profession, or field of study.
Writing as a process
- Students will develop strategies appropriate to the discipline and genre for revising, reorganizing, and proofreading writing based upon feedback they receive as they engage in a recursive writing process.
WI Course Criteria
In addition to satisfying these learning outcomes, courses must also satisfy all WI criteria in order to achieve and maintain the WI designation.