The goal of the WI course is simple: to foster the development of critical thinking and thinking skills. The student who is fully engaged with her coursework as a result of WI curricula enjoys a lasting benefit that her colleagues in the dorms may not: as a result of her coursework, she understands the material and what can be said and thought about it in ways that students in a traditional lecture course cannot.
Subsidiary goals include the following:
- To heighten the academic experience for both professor and student
- To strengthen existing writing skills
- To heighten student understanding of discipline-specific conventions
- To provide students with the tools to help themselves: critical thinking, speaking, writing, and reading
Writing assignments in the WI course should play many roles. Some roles overlap with others, some focus on a specific objective, and some writing assignments play all these parts. To give students variety and focused attention on specific elements, vary your writing assignments so that they're not all trying to do everything.
A writing-to-learn pedagogy adopts the following objectives for students:
- to ensure that students read carefully
- to help students make sense of the material
- to teach students think critically about the subject matter (especially through analysis and synthesis)
- to assist students in organizing their thoughts and presenting them in a comprehensible format
- to help students master the text conventions of the discipline (e.g., formats, documentation styles, assumptions, acceptable evidence)
- to reinforce the skills learned in the Foundation Writing course, ENGL 101 Writing and Rhetoric