Stage 1

Background on the Redesign

Why Redesign Your Course?

  • Course Characteristics: This course is the second semester of our Stretch Program, which replaces “remedial” writing courses. In English 102, students earned elective credits and English 103 counts for the GE Writing Requirement. Because of the increased workload and more complex writing tasks, students can sometimes struggle in this second-semester course. Not passing 103 in their first year can cause many retention and future success issues. Students who do not pass have difficulty in receiving financial aid and enrolling in other courses. Time to degree is slowed and retaking the course later in their college career defeats the purpose of a first-year writing cohort.
  • The Learning Problem: As part of our Directed Self Placement Program, in which students choose which level of Composition (a one-semester or two-semester stretch course) they are ready for, 73% of students opt for the Stretch 102-103 Composition sequence. This high percentage shows that students do not feel prepared to immediately begin college-level, research essays and instead stretch their learning over the year. The largest issue that this redesign will address is helping students be more successful in turning in their required drafts, engaging with the course in a meaningful and consistent way, and helping them with their revision process. Many students have not thought of writing as a “process” before our courses and have only seen writing as the paper “end product.” Through technological redesign, we can explode the way that students view writing and their own writing process.

Course History/Background

  • From the beginning of our Composition Program, we have been dedicated to Directed Self Placement and Holistic Team Scoring. We have objective assessment built into our program through our Holistic Team Scoring of Student Portfolios. In this blind assessment, where faculty do not assess their own students’ portfolios, our Composition Team determines whether or not a student passes the course and fulfills the writing requirement. We will be able to easily compare the success of students in the redesigned sections versus the non-redesigned sections through our Team Scoring.

High Demand/Low Success Issues

  • Our students participate in Directed Self Placement rather than the English Placement Test sorting them into courses, participate in the Stretch Program rather than remedial writing courses, and are assessed based on a portfolio that is holistically scored by our Composition Team. All of these aspects of our program are designed to limit repeatable grades.


English 103