What is an Intensive Writing course?
Intensive Writing (IW) courses emphasize writing across and within the disciplines at all levels of the undergraduate curriculum—from first-year seminars to senior capstones. One of the eleven high-impact practices identified by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, IW courses have been shown to produce significant outcomes for all students, and particularly those students who have been traditionally underserved by higher education. Students in IW courses engage in significant and meaningful writing projects that integrate the writing process—including brainstorming, drafting, peer review, and substantial feedback from instructors. These writing projects can take such traditional forms as essays, research papers, and lab reports, but also such genres as multimedia projects, podcasts, reflective essays, and observational essays.
What is the purpose of an Intensive Writing course?
IW courses promote critical thinking and meaningful engagement with course material. While students generally write a lot during these courses, their growth as thinkers and writers through the writing process and through feedback from instructors and peers matters much more than word counts. Likewise, while students often improve their writing skills at the sentence-level, the primary aim of an IW course is not to improve students’ grammar but to develop their ability to generate ideas and to support those ideas with well-organized evidence. In learning how to more effectively generate and support their own ideas, students improve their ability to give and receive feedback.
How do the CWP and WTS support IW courses at IUB?
We provide comprehensive support for IW courses—from new proposals for IW courses to strategies for helping instructors manage feedback and grading. We regularly provide consultations and workshops for instructors on the following topics related to IW courses:
- Proposing an IW course
- Teaching strategies for an IW course
- Managing the paper load
- Writing to engage
- Writing to learn
- Integrating peer review
- Teaching writing in the disciplines
Through Writing Tutorial Services (WTS), we meet one-on-one with students to provide them with peer feedback as they meet the demands of IW courses. Through our course-specific tutoring program, we work closely with instructors to ensure that our tutors are aware of the specific requirements and expectations of IW courses.