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The initials WI stand for Writing Intensive. This is also a code which is attached to a course title built into Banner as each semesters course schedule is created. This code is entered onto each college or divisions course schedule by the appropriate staff member in each academic unit, usually the College or Division Secretary.

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Writing Intensive is also a graduation requirement which is described in the current UH-Hilo catalog. The College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Economics, and the College of Hawaiian Language require students to complete the same number of WI classes in order to graduate. Students who enrolled at UHH as freshmen in AY 1995 – 1996 must complete two WI courses regardless of the number of credits. At least one of the required WI courses must be from a 300-level or higher class. Students who enrolled at UHH as freshmen beginning in AY must complete three WI courses regardless of the number of credits. Additionally, at least one of the required WI courses must be from a 300-level or higher class. Students who transferred to UHH in AY have fewer courses required depending on class standing. Transfer students who were classified as freshmen and sophomores need to complete two WI courses. Junior transfer students require one WI course. Senior transfer students are not required to complete any WI courses. (Note the upper-division WI requirement is a critical element with transfers who are classified as Jrs. or Srs.) Students who transferred to UHH beginning in AY follow a different requirement. Transfer students who were classified as freshmen and sophomores must complete three WI courses. Junior transfer students must complete two WI courses. Senior transfer students must complete one WI course. The upper-division minimum applies to all transfer students.

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The WI code has to be manually entered onto the course schedule every semester. This makes it a workload issue for the division and college office personnel. Additionally, once a student has registered for a class and the semester begins, there is a workload issue for the Records Office personnel. This is why the WI code cannot be added to the course title after the fact once the semester begins. It also cannot be entered on to the course title after the semester ends.

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By agreement throughout the UH System, the WI designation cannot be a permanent designation. Rather, each instructor (part-time and full-time) decides whether to apply for the WI on any course during any semester. Discussions about what courses might be more appropriate for a WI designation, how often WI courses should be offered, etc should regularly occur within each department.

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To first time students, the term typically means lots of writing in the class. First time WI faculty often attach a similar meaning to the term.

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The following statements are from Professor Tom Hilgers, former Director of the UH-Manoa Writing Program and General Education office where the UH System WI Committee is academically housed. What is a writing intensive course? They are classes which use writing as frequently as possible to help students to learn the content of the course. In a conventional class, students are often asked to read, think, discuss, and then write or take an exam, pretty much in that order. In a writing-intensive class, professors ask students to write, read, write as they read, write as they think, write before they discuss, write after they discuss, and then read and discuss even more in order to write again. The Chair of the UH Standing Committee on Written Communication and a representative from each of the 10 UH campuses annually review each campus WI program. The number of WI classes students need to graduate varies among campuses, but each campus WI program works within the framework of this system committee.

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Whats an example of a WI class? In a writing-intensive math class, for example, students may be asked to write out proofs in conventional English. (Professors who have had their students do this, by the way, tell me that written proofs are far better indicators of students' understanding of concepts than are the same proofs in mathematical notation.) Students in a music class will write reviews of a performance along with analyses, sometimes in technical language, of their responses. Students in a clinical nursing class keep a "problem-solving log" in which they note the rationales behind the decisions implicit in their clinical write-ups.

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The hallmarks of a WI class are similar on each campus. These hallmarks are: The class uses writing to promote learning the course material, content, and skill(s) The instructor provides students with opportunities to discuss their writing using various activities such as peer to peer feedback, instructor comments, small discussion groups, and other appropriate activities that engage students in thinking about the writing and the course content The students have an opportunity to use different forms of writing throughout the semester. The writing activities and assignments can be formal and informal. Ideally, students should not be asked to simply write a 20-page research paper The students have some opportunities to revise some of their writing assignments. The students will complete at least 16 pages of finished text The writing submitted for evaluation will contribute significantly to the final course grade (at least 40%) The course enrollment will not be higher than 20 students

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The answer to this question is as varied as the number of faculty and courses. The answer should be tailored to your students, your content or skill emphasis, and your willingness to try approaches that may occasionally be outside of your teaching comfort zone.

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A classic example of informal writing is a focused journal entry, often read by the instructor without comment or grade. Other forms of informal writing in a WI class include focused writing activities such as learning logs, in-class micro-themes within a specific time frame on a 3 x 5 index card, one-minute summarizations, or closure statements at the end of the class.

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The traditional assignment is a multi-page paper requiring use of multiple sources and formal discipline citations. (Again, please do not consider this your only assignment option.) Follow this link to the Manoa Writing Program website to examine information about how you might approach assigning such a task to students. researchassign2004fall.pdf

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From a 300-level Math class: …guides students through a sequence of assignments requiring increasingly complex composition tasks. A first set of assignments emphasizes increasing student awareness and comprehension of mathematical concepts. Students are required to rephrase definitions and mathematical symbols in terms that are more understandable to them. Students are also asked to take an idea that has been presented using English prose and restate it using as much mathematical symbolism as possible. A second series of assignments requires students to translate theorems and proofs into everyday language. The resulting documents must explain each step separately, showing an understanding both of its common sense meaning and of how it fits into the sequence of the theorem or proof. A third and final set of assignments asks students to write their own proofs, once again using everyday language that relies upon a combination of English and formal mathematical symbolism. Earlier assignments provide practice in the skills students need in completing later assignments. Most of the problems have a computational component but all require English language answers rather than extensive computational or symbolic manipulation. … tries to present problems that are just beyond the boundaries of what students already know, thus encouraging students to make the jump to understanding the next level on their own.

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From a 300-level Poetry class: Students are required to write three essays, each increasingly more difficult than the prior essay and all based on analytical skills learned through the semester. The first three-page essay is an explication of a poem each student selects from among three possibilities. Students determine the central situation of the poem, the audience, and the poetic techniques employed by the author. These three objectives are derived from a heuristic the instructor uses for the reading of a poem and introduced early in the semester. The second essay is a five-page analysis of the metrical and sound patterns of a poem selected by the student from the course text, an anthology. The third essay is a seven-page summary and evaluation of a critical article on a specific poem. Students prepare drafts of each essay, meet in peer review groups (see Related Activities below), and receive instructor feedback. Students are strongly encouraged to revise their essays before submitting a final copy. Essays 1 and 2 are worth up to five points each for the course grade; Essay 3 is worth up to ten points.Related Activities below PURPOSE: In each of the essays, students demonstrate their understanding and evaluation of a poem. Specifically, they apply strategies for reading poetry such as trying to determine a poem's context, imagery, language, musical devices, metrical patterns, and poetic form. The essays, a more formal analysis compared to the weekly peer letters, are an evaluative tool to determine if students are really learning the course content. The essay becomes the mode for more detailed discussions of a poem's sense and methods.

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From a 200-level Dance Class: …uses the in-class and shorter out-of-class writing as building blocks for longer formal assignments. So, for example, she first requires a one-page live performance report that begins with "a one-paragraph factual statement identifying what you saw; the remainder describing your personal reaction to what you saw." A second live performance report must be two pages long, include the same information as the first but also relate what was seen to the concepts discussed in class, that is, begin to show elements of a critical analysis. A third and final live performance report must be three pages long and explore the same areas as paper two but display greater detail and critical depth. Another technique … uses asks students to write a sequence of nine reports on films in the nine major geographical areas of dance that the course explores. Each of these papers is only one page in length but includes a bibliographic citation, a personal response, a brief summary and a discussion of the "relationship between what you saw and what has been covered in class." Though the length and content requirements remain unchanged, … expects students to show increasing critical skills as they practice in this format. She thus counts each paper more than the one before. She assigns two points for the first report, one for content and one for form. For each subsequent report, the number of points in each category increases by one, so that the last report is worth 18 points.

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A writing intensive class can be almost anything you envision it to be. You are not limited only to traditional assignments. There will be future WI workshops that will introduce interested faculty to various assignments, rubrics, and suggestions on how to carry out evaluation of writing, etc. I hope you and others will come to these future workshops!

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