General Education

What you should know about teaching an IWRT course

What are your obligations as an instructor of a writing-intensive (IWRT) course?  What freedom do you have in redesigning an existing IWRT course?  The following guidelines will help answer these questions.  If you would like more information or assistance, contact Dr. Mark Holland, at 423.439.6681 or .

Writing, Revision and Grading in IWRT Courses
Preparing the Forms for a IWRT Course


Your IWRT course should . . .

  • require each student to write a total of at least 15 pages over the course of a semester.

    In a writing-intensive course, writing activities will be integral to students' learning of the course material and students will use writing in a variety of ways, with opportunities for feedback, response, and revision.  (Note: For the purposes of these guidelines, one "page" equals approximately 250 words, which is the average length of a traditional type-written, double- spaced page.  Page lengths are to be understood as targets, with the further understanding that the amount of writing produced in a course will vary from student to student.)

  • spread writing assignments throughout the semester, with at least 10 pages of writing due before the last week of class (in a 15-week semester).

  • require students to review and revise a portion of their writing.

    The recommended amount of revision is at least 5 pages.  This may include revision in response to instructor comments and/or in response to peer review.  It may also include a sequence of related writing, with feedback.

  • give writing assignments and activities that vary in regard to factors such as content, audience, and/or format.

  • base a substantial portion of the final course grade on student writing--that is, on written assignments and/or essay exams.

    Generally, the writing committee recommends that 50% or more of the final grade be based on written materials, unless there are mitigating factors such as accreditation requirements or semester projects.

  • normally enroll no more than 25 students.

    Larger enrollments must be justified by other factors related to the instructor's overall teaching responsibility, such as course-load reductions or teaching assistants.