W Courses aim for quality

Abby EpsteinNews Writer

Students can now say goodbye to the 5,000- word requirement in W Courses. Southern has implemented a Pilot Program that focuses on the quality of writing instead of the quantity of words.

“We wanted to emphasize [that] W courses should really teach writing,” said history professor Marie McDaniels, “Instead of the emphasis on X number of words let’s focus on the practice of teaching.”

Every student at Southern is required to take up to nine credits of a W course. In the new W program professors have more freedom to teach the course how they want too.

“Part of the W program is to encourage faculty who teach the W courses to think about is, these are the goals I want to teach and was my teaching effective,” said McDaniels.

Human performance major Nickolas Linn, a junior said he thought the W courses were helpful with his writing skills.

“I thought they were really neat, and I learned a lot about writing through them. At least for the W courses I took, the professors were really nice and we had freedom in our writing which you don’t really have in normal courses”, said Linn.

Students said they have found them to be beneficial.

“A lot of students who come into college — either their high school didn’t implement a lot of writing or they might not have cared in high school to write like an actual adult, so I believe it’s important to take them,” said marketing major Meghan Delaney, a senior.

Within W courses students are able to revise their writing assignments in order to improve their grade.

Revision is one part of the old W course requirement that did not change.

The Pilot Program was approved in 2018 but did not take effect until spring semester of 2019. The university, at this time, has only implemented the program for one semester. According to Daniels, the classes being taught seem to be going well.

“I don’t think it has changed. Many people to be like ‘I should do something totally different in my class’, but it gives a little bit more ownership to what people are doing in their class,” said McDaniels.

The courses are determined by the course rotation of who teaches which classes, in addition to the department chair asking the faculty who wants to teach the W courses. The faculty is allowed to decide whether they want to teach a W course or not.

The dean’s office determines how many W courses will be needed based on the number students and how many W sections would fulfill that need.

“I definitely work with the departments to offer more sophomore level classes,” said McDaniels. “Because at the sophomore level you teach all sorts of majors, so it’s a different style of writing.”


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