Developing a WAC Class

Whether you completed the WAC seminar six years ago or last semester, we hope you continue to revise more of your courses so they may be officially designated as WAC.

Your WAC binder is your best resource as you undergo this process. In case the prospect of wading through all that material seems overwhelming, here is a brief outline in order to get you started as you "WAC" a new course.

As you will recall, everything you learned in the WAC seminar is condensed in Chris Anson's Instructional Design Model. What follows expands on this model. (We hope you have posted your copy of the IDM in a prominent spot!)

Finally, remember that there are three types of WAC courses. In the end, your course will need to meet the appropriate parameters:

  • Writing to Learn (WTL): Your course includes mostly low- and medium-stakes assignments, with no or very little revised writing. WTL courses occur throughout the curriculum.
  • Writing Intensive (WI): Your course includes revised, high-stakes assignments and is in the core curriculum (or an elective course taken by a variety of majors). Your department may have certain courses designated as meeting the WI requirement.
  • Writing in the Disciplines (WID): Your course includes revised, high-stakes assignments and is aimed at majors, with a learning goal of teaching them the genres of writing in your academic discipline. Your department will designate one or more courses to meet the WID requirement for majors.
  1. A key principal of WAC is course alignment, ensuring that the "spine" of your course is strong and straight. This process begins by identifying your course learning goals.
  2. After looking to see how your course goals connect to larger goals, the next step is to think about how students will meet the course goals.
  3. Once you have isolated where writing assignments will cover course goals, it’s time to determine the scale of these assignments, keeping in mind that it is usually best to go with the smallest-scale assignment that will do the job.

Important WAC principle: To maximize learning--and minimize student perceptions of “busy work”-- always actively use¬†low- and medium-stakes assignments in class.

              - Low stakes
              - Medium stakes
              - High stakes
    4.  Develop evaluation rubrics for your assignments
              - Low- and Medium-Stakes Rubrics
              - High-Stakes Rubrics

    5. Take advantage of the various forms of support offered as you create and refine your WAC
              - One-hour WAC workshops (with free lunch!)
              - Consultations with your WAC colleagues 
              - Individual consultations with WAC Director, Dr. Erika Scheurer