Writing Resources for
Departments, Teachers, & Students

Writing-Integrated Course Design

The Writing-Integrated Course Design resource pages offer strategies for integrating writing more effectively into your course. See our guide on scalability for ways to gradually start integrating writing today.

Designing a Writing-Integrated Course

Simple Strategies to Integrate Writing

Handling the Paper Load

Teaching Writing in a Multilingual University

Further Reading

What are Writing-Integrated Courses?

Writing-integrated courses...recognize that sophisticated college-level writing requires disciplinary defined critical thinking skills, as well as a good grasp of style and grammar.

A writing-integrated course “integrates” into its design a variety of writing exercises to increase student learning while at the same time preparing students to write better term papers or exams. Writing assignments in traditional classes are often assigned as supplements to the course—a paper or project completed outside class that in one way or another extends students’ classroom learning. Such projects can be effective for some students, particularly in advanced classes, but in many courses students may not yet know enough about the disciplines or content they are studying to complete these assignments well. Writing-integrated courses, by contrast, recognize that sophisticated college-level writing requires disciplinarily-defined critical thinking skills, as well as a good grasp of style and grammar. Writing-integrated courses often use informal or low-stakes writing exercises, in-class discussions of criteria for writing exercises, like peer review, and other resources and techniques to give students practice with underlying concepts before asking them to take on more formal written work.

CAS Writing Program Director John Webster, "Doing Writing Differently"

In this video, John Webster introduces the basics of writing-integrated course design to UW's School of Social Work.

Table of Contents

  • (0:02:45) Part I: Common Challenges in Designing Writing Assignments discusses problems that can emerge out of the most ubiquitous university writing assignment, the end-of-term research paper.
  • (0:41:17) Part II: Writing-Integrated Course Design introduces how course-central assignments, low-stakes writing, and grading criteria can enhance student learning and confidence.
  • (0:35:53) Part III: Managing the Paper Load offers strategies for grading and validating student papers without increasing instructor workload.
  • (0:50:42) Part IV: Question and Answer. In the conclusion to the presentation, John answers questions on discipline-specific writing, peer review, and creating grading criteria.
  • Guides for Creating Writing-Integrated Courses and Assignments

    Four Basic Writing-Integrated Course Structures

    Pragmatics: Scalability in Going Writing-Integrated

    Low Stakes Writing

    Five Steps Toward Better Writing on High-Stakes Assignments

    Peer Review and Peer Norming

    Responding to Student Writing

    Three Courses Redesigned with Writing-Integrated Elements