{Checklist of W Course Requirements}

Words of Wisdom

Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon.

— William Zinsser

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. Writing assignments are of the type students will encounter in their academic careers or in the workplace.
  • Has a reasonable instructor-to-student ratio (1:25) to ensure course quality. The ratio is determined by including the instructor/s plus any aides, graduate or undergraduate, on the instructor side. In cases where a higher ratio may be proposed, the committee will ask for compelling evidence that it will not adversely affect course quality.
  • Ensures all aides, graduate and undergraduate, are appropriately monitored and supervised.

  • Requires that students must 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 receive an A in 67% of the course but neglect the 33% that requires writing. This student, if she passed, would get credit for a graduation requirement in writing without actually writing.)‚Äč 
  • Bases a significant percentage of the final course grade on writing. "Writing" does not include presentation slides. Resumes and related materials must be specific to the major. Essay examinations must be take-home with time to draft and revise. These percentages should be based on finished, written products or drafts of those products. While drafts are encouraged, they do not have to be graded; if they are graded, they can be counted 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%
  • While collaborative work is encouraged, requirements for writing must be met by each individual student.
  • Does not allow undergraduate aides to grade more than 10% of the writing portion of the final grade.
  • Assigns at least 2000 words (eight pages, double-spaced) of graded, finished writing. Drafts cannot be counted in this total.
  • Includes some instruction in writing, not just the assignment of writing with comments on finished products. Instruction is defined as, but is not limited to, providing opportunities for practice, providing and discussing models, conducting peer response or 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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