Advanced Writing Best Practices Recommendations for Faculty

Recommendations and Resources

Syllabus Statement

All courses being taught as AW should include a statement in the syllabus indicating it is an AW course. To see what AW courses look like, instructors can explore examples of AW courses. Instructors should also be sure that the course fulfills the basic AW requirements:

This course meets [or is part of a sequence of courses that meet] the Global Miami Plan Advanced Writing requirement. Thus, in this course you can expect to write frequently, with feedback, and with required and/or optional opportunities to revise and put the feedback into practice. You will write at least X number of words over a variety of assignments and tasks, including both formal [for example, articles, lab reports, syntheses, problem statements, scripts, etc.] and informal writing [for example, lab notebooks, class notes, outlines, problem sets, reading responses, peer response, etc.]. Not only will you write in this class, but you will also receive writing instruction on the kinds of writing that we will be doing this semester. The importance of writing is reflected by the fact that writing constitutes X amount of the final grade.

Group Assignments

  1. Faculty should not assume that group writing assignments are easier for students; in fact, writing in groups is difficult and takes additional instruction and support. Working and writing in teams requires careful oversight and training.
  2. Even in group projects, each student in an AW course needs to receive feedback and engage in revision. If students are being assigned to write in groups, each group member must still write the required number of words to satisfy advanced writing, receive individual feedback, and revise.
  3. Group writing projects make more pedagogical sense in some disciplines than others—for example, if students need to be prepared to do this kind of writing in other courses or in their professions. Group writing should not be assigned simply to save time for the instructor.

Basic Requirements for Advanced Writing Courses

(from the “Proposal for a Revised Plan for Liberal Education,” April 2014, approved by Senate):

Advanced Writing Course (3 credits)

Advanced writing courses (200 or 300 level) are offered by instructors in disciplines, departments, and programs across the university. These courses focus on writing instruction. Some possible courses include but are not limited to: Writing and Diversity; Technical Communication; Advanced Writing and Critical Reading; Professional Communication for Business; Scientific Communication; Writing for Teachers and Administrators; Writing in Social Sciences; and Writing and the Arts. At least one of the Advanced Writing courses offered to students university-wide should focus on intercultural communication.

Advanced Writing Course Criteria

Advanced writing courses feature:

  • Student writing as the central focus (with the majority of class time dedicated to instruction on and activities about writing)
  • Frequent opportunities to write with ongoing instructor feedback on multiple drafts of major projects
  • Multiple, substantial writing projects (at least 7500 words over the course of the term).

These courses are ideally capped at 20 students to facilitate instructor feedback.

Courses that meet divisional writing requirements may also count for this requirement if they adhere to the advanced writing course criteria (listed above). Scaffolded courses developed to meet divisional writing requirements might also count if they collectively amount to 3-credits worth of curricula adhering to the criteria listed above.