Writing Intensive is the signature approach to writing instruction at Otterbein, one that emphasizes both intensive, seminar-style composition instruction, and writing in the disciplines.

Writing Intensive General Education Program

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.

Information for Faculty

Resources for faculty teaching in the Writing Intensive program can be found in the General Education Resources LibGuide.

How do I complete the Writing Intensive Program?


All Otterbein students are required to take three Writing Intensive courses in order to graduate:

  • Integrative Studies 1500: the first-year composition and literature course already required of all students during the freshman year. All IS 1500 sections are designated WI. They are typically taught by members of the English department.
  • A disciplinary course in the student’s major that carries the WI designation.
  • A third WI course that might come from several sources: a second WI course in the student’s major; a WI course from the student’s double major; a WI course from the student’s minor; an INST course designated as WI; an elective WI course.

What should I expect from Writing Intensive courses?

Course Goals

Courses in the Writing Intensive Program 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.

How will the Writing Intensive Program help me as a learner?

Program Outcomes

After completing the Writing Intensive Program 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.
Closeup of a student writing by hand