The Writing Intensive (WI) Requirement at Otterbein seeks to build and sharpen the writing abilities of our undergraduate students. We believe that the teaching of writing is inseparable from the cultivation of critical thinking and the development of disciplinary expertise. We affirm that a liberal arts education is the ideal context for fostering students’ appreciation of good writing and for building the skills they need to craft clear and graceful prose for varied purposes.
In both Integrative Studies and departmental courses, we believe that students grapple more deeply and more imaginatively with course material when they are engaged in writing. We support the idea that the English department faculty has an integral role to play in the teaching of good writing. We believe, too, that it is the responsibility of every major and program to make writing—and writing instruction—an integral component of undergraduate students' experience. Good writing takes many forms, and can flourish in many contexts when it is nourished by intensive and carefully planned instruction.
At the heart of the Requirement's design is our commitment to writing and writing pedagogy; to faculty development and mentoring resources for those creating and teaching Writing Intensive courses; and to a strengthened relationship between participating courses and the student writing assistants in the Writing Center.
Goals and Outcomes
Courses participating in the requirement will:
- Devote ongoing and deliberate attention to the value and characteristics of good writing
- Define writing goals that are explicitly linked to the course's learning outcomes
- Guide students to understand writing as a process shaped and informed by instruction—with stages that include thinking, planning, drafting, peer and/or teacher feedback, revision, editing and proofreading
- Provide students with multiple forms of feedback on their writing. These forms can include peer review, individual conferences, small group workshops, written comments, and consultation with Writing Center writing assistants
- Contain three or more writing assignments, at least one of which includes feedback, revision, and/or the opportunity to use or apply feedback to a subsequent writing opportunity. These assignments may be components of one significant assignment, multiple shorter assignments, or some combination of the two. Assignments can include papers, posters, literature reviews, lab reports, artists’ statements, technical manuals or directions, interoffice memos, web pages, learning logs, and other forms and types of writing appropriate to the discipline
- Employ informal, ungraded writing assignments
- Teach students how to assess, credit, and cite source texts
- Be limited in enrollment, where possible, to 20-24 students. Courses in excess of this cap may have a graduate or undergraduate writing assistant(s) assigned to them who will play an active role in providing feedback on writing
After completing the WI requirement at Otterbein, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate command of foundational writing principles and competencies. These include: identifying and defining a thesis or central claim; articulating a credible and logical argument; presenting evidence, analysis, or reflective commentary with clarity and organization; and attending to style, mechanics, and grammar. Produce at least one essay that advances a central claim and supports it with evidence and analysis.
- Approach writing as a series of stages (such as brainstorming, drafting, instructor and peer feedback, revision, editing, and proofreading). Seek and use feedback, employing such stages to produce a finished piece of writing.
- Approach writing as a primary mode of learning, not just as a product for evaluating student performance. Use writing-to-learn strategies (for example, reading logs, mini-cases, double-entry journals, or teach-it assignments) to develop understanding of course content and to think critically about course content.
- Describe and demonstrate the norms, conventions, and audiences appropriate to communicating in their discipline. Produce at least one example of a discipline-specific writing artifact.
- Develop research and documentation skills. Learn to assess, credit, and cite source texts in accordance with the conventions of the discipline. Demonstrate accepted guidelines for academic honesty.
- Describe the processes that undergird their own writing and the way these processes developed over time.
INST 1500 Reading and Writing Goals
- To read and think closely, creatively, analytically, and innovatively.
- To articulate a clear, critical thesis in an introduction.
- To support a thesis with relevant and varied forms of evidence and sustained critical analysis.
- To substantially revise one's own writing using instructor comments and peer reviews.
- To craft sentences and paragraphs which demonstrate correct and effective mechanics, grammar, usage, and style.
- To begin to develop creative and novel ways of framing an argument, and to engage multiple points of view, distinct audiences, and interdisciplinary perspectives.