The Culture of Writing

W2. Process of Writing

W2 courses continue the development of rhetorical knowledge and critical thinking introduced in W1, while providing additional time and attention to the practice of all aspects of writing processes. While the content of W2 courses will vary depending on the departments in which they are offered, in all W2 courses students engage in the crucial aspects of writing processes that inform effective scholarship, including generating, composing, responding, revising, and editing. The W2 requirement must be completed by the end of the second year at Washington College or the completion of 60 credits. A W2 course may not also serve for or towards the W3 requirement of a department or program. 

Learning Goals (for Students)

  • Critical Thinking: the ability to raise questions and identify problems related to particular subjects or situations and to make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis, through writing, reading, and research;

  • Writing Process: the ability to use appropriate strategies for generating, developing, composing, and revising writing and research;
  • Rhetorical Knowledge: the ability to analyze and act on understandings of audiences, purposes, and disciplinary contexts in creating and comprehending texts;
  • Knowledge of Conventions: an awareness of the formal guidelines, ranging from matters of grammar and style to conventions of research and documentation that define what is considered to be correct and appropriate to writing in a particular discipline or context. 

Requirements (for Faculty)

All courses fulfilling the W2 experience share the following core requirements:

  1. Have at least three distinct, formal writing experiences spaced throughout the course. In addition to essays, these experiences might be forms or genres of writing specific to a discipline or research process. Since the practice of writing processes (including thoughtful revision) is a key element of the W2, essay responses on tests would not count for these experiences.
  2. Offer opportunities for response, review, and revision of writing, through conferencing with the instructor and/or peer review sessions organized with students, as well as formative feedback from the instructor.
  3. Have no more than 20 students enrolled in the course. Whenever possible, we highly recommend class sizes below 20.
  4. Include a brief indication of how these core requirements will be met on the course approval form submitted to the Curriculum Committee. When planning or revising a W2 course with these requirements in mind, faculty are encouraged to consult with the Director of Writing. Most courses serving the W2 will be 100- and 200-level courses; however, a department might offer an upper-level course that could meet these requirements and be effective in providing attention to aspects of writing processes. The determination of the appropriateness of the level of the course will be made by the Curriculum Committee in consultation with the Director of Writing.