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Checklist for writing-intensive syllabi

What makes a Writing Intensive (W-I) course different from any other course for which you design a syllabus? To meet the CLE requirements, you need to describe on the syllabus how writing serves the goals of the course; show that the amount of formal writing is at least 10-15 pages apart from informal writing and in-class exams; specify the types of writing instruction that you will provide; include at least one assignment requiring instructor response and student revision; and explain how the course grade will be tied to the quality of student writing.

  • Place a prominent statement indicating that it is a Writing-Intensive (W-I) course. Students will need to be reminded of this because they need to keep track of how they are progressing in meeting their W-I requirement.
  • Describe the course, its goals and content, and the role writing will play in it.  Also, consider including information about the ways that writing is used in both professional and advanced academic applications of the course’s subject matter.
  • Indicate the kinds of writing instruction that you will provide (opportunities to revise with comments; peer writing workshops; models of particular disciplinary forms, etc.).
  • List all formal writing assignments with a brief description, indication of length, and explain what percentage of the final grade it will comprise.
  • List all informal writing assignments (journals; essays; in-class writings) with description, indication of length, and percentage of grade.
  • Specify your grading policy, particularly the general criteria by which you will evaluate formal and informal writing, and other supportive activities, such as work on peer workshops or rough draft deadlines.
  • Include a course calendar with due dates for writing assignments. For those involving revision, you might indicate when the assignment is to begin; when first drafts will be due; when any peer workshops will be held; and when final drafts will be due.
  • Indicate any special policies related to writing, such as your policy on late papers, allowing further revision, or plagiarism.
  • List resources that may be useful to your students.  In addition to listing your office hours and specific handbooks or print/online resources, you may want to list the Center for Writing’s Student Writing Support program.

Additional syllabi resources: