Proposing or Revising a W Course

Please note that there are a specific set of criteria and requirements that must be met when submitting a Course Action Request (CAR) for Writing (W) courses. Failure to address all of these criteria and requirements in the form and syllabus will result in the proposal being held up while revisions are requested.

W Criteria:

Courses (and their equivalents) appropriate for a W designation should:

1. Require that students write a minimum of 15 pages or a minimum of 4500 words, excluding references/works cited pages, that have been revised for conceptual clarity and development of ideas, edited for expression, and proofread for grammatical and mechanical correctness;

2. Address writing in process, require revision, and provide substantial supervision of  student writing. (The structure of revision and supervision may vary, including in-class writing workshops, individual consultation, substantial formative commentary on drafts, and so on.);

3. Have an enrollment cap of nineteen students per section;

4. Make explicit the relation between writing and learning in the course;

5. Articulate the structure of supervision of student writing;

6. Explain the place and function of revision in the course;

7. Detail how the page or word requirement will be met;

8. Require that students must pass the writing component in order to pass the course;

9. Include at least one assessable Student Learning Objectives (SLO) related to writing within the discipline.

NOTE: All of the criteria above (with the exception of #3) should be clearly detailed in the course syllabus for students. Regarding criteria #8 (i.e. the “F Clause”), the following standard wording should be inserted directly into the syllabus: “Students must pass the ‘W’ component of the course in order to pass the course.”

In keeping with university efforts to prioritize assessment initiatives, all Writing (W) courses are recommended to include at least one Student Learning Objective (SLO) related to writing. This SLO should be clearly stated in the course syllabus along with other course-specific SLOs.

Please also note that all sections of the same course should have the same SLOs, although how these objectives are achieved may differ from section to section. That is, faculty may use different course materials and assessments so long as they achieve the same SLOs.

Suggested Student Learning Objectives (SLO) for W courses:

Learning objectives (also referred to as learning outcomes) describe what students will be able to do upon completion of the course. Below are some suggested examples for writing-intensive (W) courses. Please feel free to adjust as needed for your particular course, being mindful of these best practices in constructing Student Learning Objectives (SLO).

  • Compose work that demonstrates proficiency in writing conventions within their field of study
  • Use content knowledge from the field of study to create written work for the purpose of evaluation, critique, analysis, or interpretation
  • Practice writing-as-a-process by drafting and revising based on feedback provided by the instructor and peers
  • Compose written work that clearly and concisely conveys information to the appropriate audience