Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Utah State University Logo

Criteria for Communications Intensive Courses

Click here for example syllabi


The primary purpose of Communications Intensive courses is to help students meet communication literacy goals by achieving competency in both written and oral communication. Communications intensive courses are designed such that students can enhance their written and oral communication in a manner that is appropriate to their major discipline.

Communication Literacy (CL) goals are met by taking English 1010 and English 2010 (CL courses) and at least two courses of Communications Intensive (CI) courses. Communications Intensive courses are designed to follow, and build upon, English 1010 and English 2010. Therefore all Communication Intensive courses should list English 2010 as a prerequisite.

Communications Intensive Courses help meet the following Communication Literacy Goals:

  1. Become competent users of English*.
  2. Engage productively, responsibly, and thoughtfully in oral communication.
  3. Use a range of artistic and technological forms of communication to present ideas.

All CI courses must help students reach the communication literacy goals of competency in both written and oral communication using a variety of artistic and technological forms of communication. CI courses are intended to be discipline specific. This permits students to reach the communication literacy goals while learning communication forms most appropriate to their discipline. Although CI courses must meet specific criteria, there are many possibilities in how those criteria are achieved.

* It is recognized that foreign language courses will require the use of the language being taught.

Communications Intensive Course Criteria

All Communication Intensive courses should meet the following criteria:

  1. Upperdivision course
  2. Significant amount of communication (written and oral)
  3. Individual writing component
  4. Collaborative communication/learning component
  5. Opportunity for revision, and/or multiple assignments allowing for continued improvement
  6. Opportunity for feedback
  7. Range of artistic and technological forms of communication to present ideas

Highly Recommended:

  1. Individual oral components (class discussions do not meet this criterion). It is noted that this criterion may not be feasible for certain courses such as on-line courses.

Communications Intensive Implementation Ideas

To help think about ways to meet the Communications Intensive requirements listed above, we list some key terms below and suggest a variety of ways to implement them.


  1. Students may write multiple drafts of a single paper, with the opportunity to implement feedback and suggestions in the final paper.
  2. The instructor may assign several papers of the same type. Constructive feedback is provided on the early assignments so students can apply this information to succeeding assignments.
  3. The student may be offered the opportunity to revise a paper after it has been graded.


  1. Feedback is response to student writing in the form of constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.
  2. Feedback can come from peers, the instructor, or Rhetoric Associates.
  3. Feedback may be oral or written.


  1. Collaboration includes any occasion in which students talk to/work with each other, a client outside the classroom, or an instructor to produce something.
  2. Collaboration can include occasions in which students provide feedback on each other's work.

Oral Communication:

Students may perform orally in a wide variety of formats. Some examples include the following:

  1. Make a formal presentation to a class.
  2. Participate orally in a small group presentation to a class.
  3. Present something orally to a small group in a class.
  4. Present something orally one-on-one to the instructor (as in foreign language oral exams)
  5. Tutor someone.
  6. Perform in a dramatic presentation or other oral reading.