Guidelines for Writing Intensive Courses

Writing is not simply "assigned" in writing intensive courses.  Instead, the writing done in these courses helps students develop their analytical and persuasive powers. Additionally, in many courses, students are encouraged to use writing to learn.  Because learning, like writing, is a constant process of collecting, connecting, discarding and reorganizing, instructors may encourage students to think through new or difficult ideas and terminology in writing.

Instructors of writing intensive courses frequently employ both informal and formal writing assignments.  Informal writing might  be graded or ungraded and might  include journals, diaries, field notes, responses to discussion questions, and/or free writing.  Informal writing might be used as a way to begin a formal paper, as a means to generate good class discussion, or as an end in itself.  Formal writing assignments are usually graded, and might include critical, creative or researched papers, or might combine formal writing strategies, like outlining, with an oral presentation.  The formal writing done in these courses averages 20-25 pages, although the number of papers and the number of pages per paper vary.  In some courses, formal writing is submitted for assessment in a portfolio once or twice during the semester.