Planning Your Writing Intensive Course


This video begins with Troy Hicks summarizing the objectives of a WI course. CMU faculty members then discuss two goals of writing activities and discussions: to help students master some of the universal characteristics of good writing and to introduce moves in academic writing that characterize a field of study. When planning a WI course, instructors design readings and activities that clearly convey what authors in the discipline value in writing. Finally, faculty discuss the importance of modeling good writing in their syllabi, assignments, and supporting materials, thereby encouraging students to set high standards for their work. 

Navigate to resources for Module 2.​

Writing Intensive Course Goals and Requirements

The revised General Education Program requires students to take four WI courses.  Preferably, entering freshmen will take two WI courses in the University Program (during their first two years) and two in their major.

There are different WI requirements for University Program (UP) courses and courses in the majors (see Appendix C of the Curriculum Authority Document, Central Michigan University, 2015). However, both types of courses must include at least 18 pages of writing OR must base 70% of the course grade on an evaluation of student writing. In addition, students must receive feedback from the instructor on some of these pages before revising and resubmitting their work (3 to 5 pages for UP courses and 10 pages for courses in the majors). For all WI courses, students should demonstrate their ability to:

  • Use writing as a tool for learning course content.
  • Engage in a process of drafting, revising, and editing assignments that integrates feedback into a graded final product.
  • Select, analyze, and evaluate information/data from sources.
  • Draw valid conclusions from information.

In addition to the above, for WI classes in the majors students will demonstrate the ability to: 

  • Analyze, evaluate, and develop arguable and/or researchable theses. 
  • Use writing to engage in the inquiry methods appropriate to a discipline or profession.
  • Use the discourse conventions of a discipline or profession (e.g., lines of argument, genre features, writing style, citation format, stance and tone).
  • Produce finished products that communicate effectively within disciplinary contexts including additional media elements such as pictures, diagrams, tables, or charts.

What "counts" as good writing varies by discipline. As students progress through their WI courses, the enriched experiences that they have with faculty will help them grow as readers, writers, and thinkers . The attitudes and skills that we want to teach our writers have been summarized in the Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing (Council of Writing Program Administrators, 2011), a tool that can be useful for talking with students about their writing.  While the additional work of teaching a WI course may feel overwhelming at first, many faculty who teach these sections report better relationships with their students as well as increased student engagement in course material. 


List of Existing WI Courses (See pages 2 & 3 in PDF)

Guidelines for Writing Intensive MCS Submissions

Master Course Syllabi Repository​​

Introduction to Course Syllabus Design

Syllabus cover page 1
Syllabus cover page 2
Syllabus cover page 3
Syllabus cover page 4


Central Michigan University. (2015). Central Michigan University curriculum authority document.  (Authorized CMU users only)

​Council of Writing Program Administrators. (2011). The framew​ork for success in post-secondary writing. Retrieved from