First-Year Writing Courses (W1s)

Our first-year writing courses are small, writing-intensive courses taught by faculty across the curriculum.  These courses are designed to introduce students to the rigorous culture of writing at Colby and to provide practice with expository writing, careful reading, and critical analysis. Designated W1 in the catalogue, these courses fulfill the first-year writing requirement and introduce students to the processes and tools they will need as writers throughout their college careers.

Faculty and Students:
You can search for W1, W2, and W3 courses in
Curriculum Search
using the “W1/ Writing-Intensive” drop-down menu.

To that end, W1 courses share several features:

  • strong emphasis on drafting, argument development, and revision;
  • frequent writing in a variety of forms;
  • rich professor and peer feedback;
  • sustained exploration of ethical, critical, and formal expectations for college-level writing

See the W1 student learning outcomes and W1 Common Understandings (shared faculty guidelines).

Upper-Level, Writing-Intensive Courses (W2s & W3s)

Upper-level, writing-intensive courses introduce students to field-specific writing and research practices and use writing to investigate issues in the disciplines. In these courses, writing and research practices appropriate to the major field(s) of study are taught, not simply assigned. For pedagogical reasons, the recommended course cap for W2s and W3s is 18 students.

See the W2/W3 Common Understandings (shared faculty guidelines).

W2 courses are intermediate, 200- or 300-level courses that introduce students to the methods, key questions, and common forms of writing in the discipline or interdisciplinary area for their major(s).

W3 experiences are 300- or 400-level courses or approved projects that provide practice in advanced writing and research and build on the goals and understandings for W1 and W2 courses.

Even across departments and majors, W2s and W3s share several common goals. At a minimum, students in these courses will:

  • learn the purposes, forms, and conventions of writing in the field;
  • write regularly throughout the semester;
  • discuss their writing in class and with peers; and
  • revise in response to feedback from professors and peers.

Colby Writing Program Courses

Writing Program faculty include professors Stacey Sheriff, Paula Harrington, Bess Stokes, Elizabeth Ketner, and James Barrett. These faculty members teach a variety of writing-intensive courses in the Writing Program and the Department of English.

Writing Program Courses (WP course prefix)

WP 111 Expository Writing Workshop: For first-year students who are non-native speakers of English to advance their skills in academic writing in English, especially their fluency in grammar, syntax, idiom, and the conventions of the American college-level essay. Prepares students for first-year writing (W1) and other writing-intensive courses, with intensive practice in composing essays and revising prose. Nongraded. Previously listed as English 111. Three credit hours. HARRINGTON

WP 112 Individual Writer’s Workshop: For any student who wants extra work in writing. Taken in conjunction with a W1 or with a writing-intensive course at any level. Meets as an individual tutorial in the Farnham Writers’ Center. Each student must meet with the tutor for at least 10 sessions during the semester. The goal is for students to improve their writing, and the expected outcome is that they will complete the course with improved skills in grammar and essay writing. Nongraded. Previously listed as English 112. One credit hour. TEAM

WP 115 First-Year Writing: We offer 3-4 WP115 courses each year. Please select “W1” in the Writing Intensive drop-down menu on curriculum search to see specific course descriptions for each section of WP115. Previously listed as English 115. Four credit hours. W1. SHERIFF, BARRETT, KETNER, STOKES

WP 120 Language, Thought, and Writing: Literary Conversations: Individual works of literature take part in a larger literary conversation that transcends time and space. Writers join the conversation by replicating existing literary forms and conventions. They also respond to perennial themes that have sparked writers’ imaginations. Literary scholars also engage in on-going conversations about the purpose and meaning of literary texts. We will enter these conversations by reading, writing about, and discussing literary texts. Previously listed as English 120. Four credit hours. W1. KETNER

WP 151 Reading and Writing About Literature: Gothic Literature: We will trace the origins of the Gothic in literature and explore the human appetite for the sublime and the supernatural, reading poetry, short stories, and novel-length works. Previously listed as English 151. Four credit hours. W1. STOKES

English Courses (EN course prefix)

EN 214: Tutoring Writing in Theory and Practice (4 credits, required for writing tutors)

EN 397: Advanced Writing and Rhetoric (W2 and 4 credits)

EN 491/492: Independent Study in Rhetoric & Composition (1 to 4 credits).

Please consult the college catalogue for current descriptions and schedules.

Are you a faculty member interested in proposing a new W1, W2, or W3 course? Please go to “W Course Designations” for more information.