Checklist of C Course Requirements
Alphabetical list of Handouts & Guides

Words of Wisdom

The only cure for writer's block is writer's cramp.

— Inigo DeLeon

This checklist is meant to guide in the preparation of the proposal for a C course. The C Course option was passed by the Faculty Senate in April of 2008.  A C course must meet the following criteria:

  • Is not included in the Core Curriculum Communications requirements.
  • Requires writing and public speaking 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 C course is integral to and prepared specifically for the major. Writing or speaking 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 the quality of formative feedback.
  • Ensures all aides, graduate and undergraduate, are appropriately monitored and supervised.
  • Requires that students must pass the writing and public speaking 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 and speaking. This student, if she passed, would get credit for a graduation requirement in communication without actually writing or doing public speaking.)
  • Bases a significant percentage of the final course grade on written products or public speaking performances. "Writing" does not include essay examinations unless they are take-home and students have time to draft and revise. Oral presentation slides, handouts, scripts, web sites, and posters which accompany an oral presentation count as writing. "Public speaking" may be done in person or electronically, for example in video or podcast formats. The percentages listed below should be based on finished, written products or speaking performances and represent the percentage of the final course grade. While drafts, outlines, and practice presentations/exercises are encouraged, they will not count as finished, graded products even if they are graded. These are minimum requirements.
    • 1-credit course: 70%
    • 2-credit course: 50%
    • 3-credit course: 33%
    • 4-credit course: 25%
    • 5-credit course: 20%
  • Assigns at least 1250 words (five pages, double-spaced) of graded, finished writing and 5 minutes of public speaking. Drafts, outlines, pre-writing exercises, or presentation practice/exercises cannot be counted.
  • Does not allow undergraduate aides to grade more than 10% of the writing or public speaking portion of the final grade.
  • Requires that collaborative writing projects constitute no more than 30% of the graded writing plus speaking; in other words, 70% must be written or presented orally and graded individually. Alternatively, if at least 33% of a 3-credit course is based on individual work and there are 2000+ words individually written or presented orally, the requirement is also met.
    • EXAMPLES: A 3-credit course has 70% of the grade based on writing and public speaking (not counting drafts, outlines, etc.). Student write and present a collaborative report of 3000 words and give a10-minute presentation worth 30% of the final grade. They also write an individually graded paper of 1000 words, write presentation slides of 250 words, and individually give a 5-minute presentation worth a total of 40%. This course meets the criteria because at least 1250 words are written individually and 5 minutes of speaking is done by each student, and 40% of the final grade (more than the required 33%) is based on work done by individual students.
    • A 3-credit course has 40% of the grade based on writing and public speaking. Students write a 3000-word collaborative report and give a 5-minute group presentation worth a total of 30% of the final grade. They write 3 individual reports of 1000 words each (total of 3000) that are worth 5% of the final grade each (total 15%). They give give one 5-minute presentation worth another 5%. This course does not meet the requirement of 70% of the final grade (not more than 30%) being individual writing and speaking, because 70% of 40% is 28%.(The total is 20%, 15% writing and 5% speaking.) It also does not meet the alternative requirement that at least 33% of the grade be based on individual writing or speaking, even though it surpasses the minimum word requirement of 1250 words and meets the 5-minutes of speaking requirement.
  • Includes some instruction in writing and in public speaking, not just the assignment of writing or public speaking with comments on finished products. Instruction can be defined as, but is not limited to, providing opportunities for practice, providing feedback, 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 required formative feedback, preferably on major projects in progress, including both writing and speaking.. Formative feedback should be structured so that students use it to revise final drafts or performances. It gives them the experience of getting and incorporating feedback as they write a paper or presentation. Feedback on rough or nearly completed drafts given before a grade is assigned is formative. Peer review that is used to improve a draft or performance before the final grade is assigned is also formative. Comments on papers that have been graded or a presentation delivery that is being judged for a grade is not formative but summative. If there are five or more papers of the same type or genre are assigned, and if these are graded and returned so that comments can be used from one to write subsequent papers, then summative feedback is an acceptable alternative to meet this criterion. For more detail, read Formative Feedback.
  • Distributes assignments so as to allow feedback before a final draft or performance is due and students have some indication by mid-term of the quality of their work, even if on drafts or practice performances.
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