Writing Intensive Courses


Writing Intensive (WI) Courses are part of a University of Hawai‘i systemwide movement to incorporate more writing in courses from all disciplines. A WI course is a discipline-specific course in which writing plays a major integrated role. Students in course sections designated as a “WI” (preceding the course title in the Schedule of Classes) learn to understand course content through writing and to write in ways appropriate to that discipline.

English 100 is a prerequisite before students take the two required WI courses for the Associate in Arts degree. Students transferring to some bachelor’s degree campuses in the UH system may bring two or three WI courses with them to count for the bachelor’s degree. The hallmarks of a writing intensive course are:

W1. The class uses writing to promote the learning of course materials.

W2. The class provides interaction between the instructor and students while students do assigned writing.

W3. Written assignments contribute significantly to each student’s course grade.

W4. The class requires students to do a substantial amount of writing—a minimum of 4,000 words, or about 16 pages.

W5. To allow for meaningful professor-student interaction on each student’s writing, the class is restricted to 20 students.

Explanatory notes

  • W1. Instructors assign formal and informal writing, both in class and out, to increase students' understanding of course material as well as to improve writing skills. Writing is considered a process in which multiple drafts are encouraged.
  • W2. In effect, the instructor acts as an expert and the student as an apprentice in a community of writers. Types of interaction will vary. For example, a professor who requires the completion of one long essay may review sections of the essay, write comments on drafts, and be available for conferences. The professor who requires several short papers may demonstrate techniques for drafting and revising in the classroom, give guidance during the composition of the papers, and consult with students after they complete their papers. Individual conferences are mandatory for WI courses at Windward CC, and conferences must be included as mandatory in your syllabus.
  • W3. Writing assignments must make up at least 40% of each student’s course grade. Only students who satisfactorily complete the writing assignments should be allowed to pass the course with a "D" or better.
  • W4. The types of writing assigned will vary and may include formal and "informal" (writing that is not revised) writing. Depending on the course content, students may write analytic essays, critical reviews, journals, lab reports, research reports, reaction papers, etc. In-class exams and drafts are not counted toward the 4000-word minimum. On your syllabus, please list the minimum page or word count for each assignment.
  • W5. Professors who team teach may request that the enrollment be higher as long as a 20-1 student to faculty ratio is maintained.

Writing Resources

Information for Faculty