Policy: Written Communication

These criteria were adopted on 4/28/2000 by the University of Hawai‘i Systemwide Standing Committee on Written Communication.

Criteria for courses that satisfy the written component of the University of Hawai‘i General Education Written Communication/Communication Skills/English Communications Requirement

As of 4/28/00, approved courses include English 100 (all campuses), English as a Second Language 100 (UHH, UHM prior to F00, KapCC, and LCC), English 101 (UHM), English Language Institute 100 (UHM F00-present).
The introductory writing course focuses on preparing students for writing they will do both as college students and as citizens who make contributions to the larger public discourse. While in the introductory writing course, students learn–through recursive writing processes, teacher and peer response, reading, and research–to develop complex ideas in a variety of genres and for differing audiences. They synthesize personal experience and knowledge with ideas they encounter as they read and discover as they write. Instruction proceeds according to the assumptions, teaching practices, and learning goals described below.
The writing requirements vary for the campuses throughout the system. On all campuses, students must complete the written communication requirement during their first 24 credits or take appropriate prerequisite courses. Course titles1 and descriptions vary but the course content conforms to the guidelines below. All campuses also require writing-intensive (WI) courses to be completed in the subsequent year(s); instruction in these courses follows a single set of UH System guidelines.

Written Communications/Communication Skills/English Communications Guidelines

Teachers and students work from the following assumptions, which are embodied differently in the practices of different teachers.

  1. Writing is the work of individuals in communities, linking the past and present, the private and public. At the college level, communities are represented by academic disciplines, which use different kinds of writing to advance and codify their knowledge, to carry out their work, and to serve their members.
  2. Writing is intellectual work. Learning to write involves learning to develop complex ideas in various genres for various audiences.
  3. Writers integrate complex ideas from academic and serious public discourse with their own experiences and knowledge.
  4. Writing involves making decisions about audience, appropriate conventions, and language; students learn to make such decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions for their readers.
  5. Writing is both personal and social and adapts itself to individual contexts such as self-reflection and to social contexts such as collaborative projects.
  6. Writing is achieved through the processes of response and revision, in which peers and teacher give students reactions to their compositions; writers may use these responses for revision.
  7. Publishing or sharing writing deepens and improves student interest in writing.

Teaching Practices
Throughout the course, teachers

  1. Encourage students to think of themselves as writers who engage in reflection and self-assessment.
  2. Emphasize inventing, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading as recursive elements of writing processes.
  3. Help students understand the rhetorical concerns of writing situations, audience expectations, and appropriate writing strategies.
  4. Respond to student writing to facilitate revision at all stages of the writing process.
  5. Share with their students their own experiences as writers both in and out of academic settings.
  6. Provide opportunities for students to interact with one another and to work collaboratively.
  7. Communicate with students regarding progress, opinions, and questions using various forms such as journal responses and e-mail.
  8. Interact with students in conferences and in group and class discussions.
  9. Provide instruction in basic research activities.
  10. Help students find pleasure and satisfaction in the aesthetic, intellectual, and persuasive dimensions of writing, so they will understand writing’s worth for their personal and professional lives in college and beyond.
  11. Follow the assessment practices described in the CCCC’s "Writing Assessment: A Position Statement" (http://www.ncte.org/positions/assessment.html).

Learning Goals
As they complete the course, students

  1. Write well-reasoned compositions that reveal the complexity of the topic they have chosen to explore or argue.
  2. Read for main points, perspective, and purpose; evaluate the quality of evidence, negotiate conflicting positions, and analyze the effectiveness of a text’s approach, in order to integrate that knowledge into their writing.
  3. Choose language, style, and organization appropriate to particular purposes and audiences.
  4. Synthesize previous experience and knowledge with the ideas and information they encounter as they read and discover as they write.
  5. Use sources such as libraries and the Internet to enhance their understanding of the ideas they explore or argue in their writing; analyze and evaluate their research for reliability, bias, and relevance.
  6. Use readers’ responses as one source for revising writing.
  7. Use standard disciplinary conventions to integrate and document sources.
  8. Edit and proofread in the later stages of the writing process, especially when writing for public audiences. Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Basic Requirements
Students are expected to write a minimum of 5,000 words of finished prose. This total is generally divided into six to nine papers. As the guidelines suggest, the instructional emphasis is on the student’s writing; assigned reading serves the purpose of the assigned writing.