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Wits Writing Programme

The Wits Writing Programme (WWP) currently includes over 40 Writing Intensive (WI) courses across all faculties. These are existing, discipline-specific courses which use writing to deliver the content and critical thinking aims required by each course.

Writing in WI courses is understood not as the packaging of thought, not as an afterthought to thinking, but rather as the process of thinking itself.

This idea of writing includes reading, conversation, informal writing activities, as well as formal writing activities. Writing in WI courses is employed cognitively and rhetorically. Writing to learn activities help students to generate and expand ideas through informal writing; learning to write activities help students to act within the discipline by learning to writing discipline-specific texts.

WI courses require a practitioner who is reflective and interested in surfacing, making explicit, and finding ways to help the students learn and practice the thinking desired by the particular discipline. The first task in adapting a course to make it WI is to consider the key critical thinking aims which the course seeks to achieve, and then to consider ways to thread back activities to develop that thinking.

Steps to make a course WI
  1. Book an orientation workshop focussed on adapting an existing course to make it WI. Crucial background material and teaching resources will be provided before the workshop.

The workshop includes,

    • implications of writing as thinking,
    • an overview of the Wits Writing Programme,
    • sample writing to learn strategies, as well as sample learning to write strategies,
    • the 10 criteria for WI courses,
    • aims of WI teaching and learning,
    • how to thread-back critical thinking aims for a particular course through developmental activities.
  1. Submit a WI proposal (by completing the proposal form provided at the orientation) and include relevant supporting documents, for example your course description and schedule, sample WI assignments and activities.

  2. The proposal will considered by the Writing Board of the Faculties. If members of the WBF judge that the course proposal fits the WWP criteria for WI courses, the course will be recognised as WI and funding for Writing Fellow (WF) support for this course can be allocated.

  3. The lecturer may choose WFs or ask for recommendations.

  4. Selected WFs must book an orientation workshop before working as a WF. This WF orientation includes resource material and the WF Dos and Don’ts document which is designed to protect the WF role.

  5. If a Writing Fellow Anchor (WFA) has been allocated to help with payment submissions and data collection, ensure that the WFA books a WFA orientation meeting.

  6. Liaise with the WWP administrator to ensure that all WFs complete their sign-on documents and have their timesheet for claims, know how many hours they can claim and for which activities.

  7. As the WI course runs, be sure to have regular meetings with the WFs to discuss the unfolding of the course. Many lecturers and WFs report that this activity is one of the highlights of WI teaching and learning, as it allows immediate, collective, and frequently innovative teaching response.

  8. At the end of the course, be sure that you and your WFs complete the reflection forms. The WF reflections will be made available to the lecturer of the course; they are usually rich and extremely helpful for planning the next iteration of a course.

  9. If the course will run again the next year, a request for continued funding must be submitted.

Contact Professor Pamela Nichols,, for further information and for booking of orientations to adapt a course WI or for the WF orientations. Contact for WFA orientations and the WF sign-on forms, claim sheets and payment submissions. See the WWP Ulwazi site for the current calendar of workshops and WBF meetings, for proposal forms and where to find the links to the reflection forms, sample WI courses, and other resource material.

For discussion of a Writing Plan for your department or for a particular degree, contact to discuss how to coordinate 2-3 WI or writing-rich courses as part of a Writing Enhanced Degree learning path.

Writing Indaba 2019

Writing Fellows, Ms Zoe Neocosmos and Ms Lerato Mlahleki

Writing Fellows, Ms Zoe Neocosmos and Ms Lerato Mlahleki

Professor Pam Nichols and Mr Kgaogelo LekotaProf. Pam Nichols and Mr Kgaogelo Lekota