While both W and C courses include writing, a distinguishing feature of C courses is that writing is the core focus and subject of the course. As such, the “C” designation is not simply about how much writing you do. Treating writing as the core focus and subject of the course means the following:
The core subject matter and aim of a C course is to help students develop writing and/or rhetorical knowledge, skills, techniques, dispositions, and habits of mind and practice. While there may be a balance of writing with other kinds of subject knowledge taught in a C course, the emphasis must be on writing and/or rhetoric. In short, although "C" courses can and should engage many different kinds of texts, questions, and methodologies, these must be used to support student writing as the primary outcome.
C courses should create an intellectual community around writing. Student writing itself should be a primary text of the class; it is the central part of class content, over which students give and receive feedback.
C courses are designed to help students write and communicate in various situations within and beyond the university. Transferable knowledge might include rhetorical awareness, revision strategies, working with feedback, research, and genre awareness. A C course should explicitly provide students with a vocabulary for discussing and opportunities for practicing these transferrable habits of mind.