Checklist of W Course Requirements

Words of Wisdom

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.

— Robert Benchley

This checklist is meant to guide in the preparation of the proposal for a W course.

  • Is not included in the Core Curriculum Communications requirement

  • Is worth at least one credit
  • Requires writing significant to and essential for the major. (As a guideline, the name of the major appears in the course title, the course figures into the GPR for the major, or the course is part of a College Core Curriculum.) The W course is integral to and prepared specifically for the major. Assignment writing is of the type students will encounter in their academic careers or in the workplace.
  • Has a reasonable instructor-to-student ratio (no greater than 1:25) to ensure course quality. The ratio is determined by including the instructor/s plus any aides, graduate or undergraduate as instructors. If a higher ratio is proposed, the committee will require compelling evidence that it will not adversely affect course quality.
  • Ensures all aides, graduate and undergraduate, are appropriately monitored and supervised.

  • Requires that students pass the writing components and specifies so on the syllabus. (The W & C Course Advisory Committee wants to prevent the case where a student might get credit for a graduation requirement in writing without actually writing.)‚Äč 
  • Bases a substantial percentage of the final course grade on written products. Resumes and related materials can be included only if they are specific to the major. Essay examinations can be included only if they are take-home with time to draft and revise. Presentation slides cannot be included. Percentages should be based on finished, written products or on drafts of those products. Although drafts are encouraged, they need not be graded; if they are graded, they can count for up to 50% of any assignment. The percentages listed below represent the minimum required percentage of the final course grade.
    • 1-credit course: 70%
    • 2-credit course: 50%
    • 3-credit course: 33%
    • 4-credit course: 25%
    • 5-credit course: 20%
  • Does not allow undergraduate aides to grade more than 10% of the writing portion contributing to the final grade.
  • Assigns at least 2000 words (eight pages, double-spaced) of graded, finished writing. Drafts cannot be counted in this total. All work counted in this total must be individually written and assessed.
  • Includes some instruction in writing. Instruction can be defined as, but is not limited to, providing opportunities for practice, providing and discussing models, conducting workshop classes, and lecturing on rhetorical forms or principles. Some instruction may occur outside of class as homework, but in-class is instruction recommended.
  • Provides some formative feedback, preferably on major projects in progress. Formative feedback gives students an opportunity to improve and is structured so that students may use it to revise final drafts. It is not simply comments on finished and graded papers.
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