Stage 2

About the Students and Instructor

Student Characteristics:

The students we see in English 103 are the students less confident in their writing ability and past writing experiences. CI is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) with a large population of first generation college students. Because our Composition Courses are required for all disciplines, we see this diversity in our composition classrooms. Most of our students struggle with the “hidden curriculum” of college. They don’t yet know how to manage their time or balance work and family responsibilities with school. Many of our students hold jobs and are commuters which interfere with their ability to complete required drafts and attend class regularly. Another issue is that our students do not have much experience with managing long-term research projects with end-of-the-semester assessment like our portfolio.

Photo by Joshua Earle @

Another important issue I am trying to address with the course redesign is our student retention. Many students who fail the course fail because of attendance, lack of work, or too many missing assignments. They do not complete enough work over the course of the semester to be eligible to turn in a portfolio and therefore cannot pass the class. With this Course Redesign, we are hoping to engage students more fully.

Advice I Gave My Students to be Successful:

  • Please consider yourself a member of a learning community. As a community, we are all working together towards our shared objective of successfully completing the goals of this course.
  • Please log in and participate regularly in our online, collaborative activities and discussions. The success of this course depends on the active, engaged participation and distinctive contributions of every community member. If you don’t participate regularly,you will find that the course moves forward without you and will likely find it difficult to become re-engaged.
  • Sharing our thoughts and ideas online requires trust of our fellow community members. Please treat the contributions of others with respect.
  • The technologies we will work with in this class are amazing tools but can also present frustrations from time time. Please maintain a sense of humor and patience when working with these tools. Learning to deal gracefully with the unexpected is a valuable skill you can gain in this course.
  • Everyone in this class, including the instructor, is expected to maintain the attitude of a lifelong learner. Please keep an open mind when introduced to new ideas that may challenge your previously held notions or perceptions.
  • Always ask for help when you need it, and please assist others when possible. You will be amazed by what you can learn when you help teach someone else.
  • Please understand that communications shared through text have a higher likelihood of being misinterpreted than words that are spoken. When you type a thought or a comment, read it carefully before you submit it. If you question the way it is worded, read it out loud to yourself. If you still question the way it’s phrased, re-write it. Remember that you can’t unring a bell.

Impact of Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives (SLOs) on Course Redesign

  • Critical Thinking Students will achieve the following:
    an ability to analyze written work
    an ability to frame conclusions from a range of information
    an ability to predict outcomes based on known information
  • Communication Skills Students will achieve the following:
    an ability to more clearly and more effectively write academic papers
    an ability to effectively and convincingly verbalize their ideas
    an ability to work collaboratively in group processes
    an ability to write effectively for a variety of audiences
    an ability to make appropriate rhetorical choices of genre, diction and style
  • Research Skills Students will gain the following:
    a familiarity with CI library resources
    a proficiency with basic computing skills
    an ability to discern valid conclusions in research
    a familiarity with major databases
    an ability to design, conduct and evaluate a research project
  • Self Development Students will develop
    an ability to reflect cogently on the way learning contributes to personal and intellectual growth

Alignment of SLOs with Course Redesign

The Course Redesign will be using tools and technology that help with all aspects of our Learning Outcomes. It will help students reflect, it will give them various options for developing their communication skills in multi-modal formats, it will enhance their critical thinking skills by asking for further, more in-depth communication, and aid their research skills by giving them various resources online.

Assessments Used to Measure Students’ Achievement of SLOs

We use a final portfolio assessment that is worth 60% of the students’ grade. Their success in their written communication and reflection is assessed by a team of Composition instructors using a common rubric.
Course activities I will measure will be the students’ engagement in online collaborative tools such as VoiceThread peer review and discussions, Google Docs writing collaboration, and attendance at Zoom conferences with the professor and classmates.

Accessibility, Affordability, and Diversity Considerations


The Course Redesign in and of itself is highly accessible. By moving my syllabus online via, I’m able to use an accessible template. By moving all of my course information to a WordPress site through CIKeys, I cam able to use an accessible template.
The Course Redesign has given me funding to caption my videos I create for the class explaining the portfolio and portfolio scoring.
Our online tools, such as VoiceThread, have easy options for captioning, zooming in and out, and various changes that students with accomodations need. These online tools are making my class more accessible for students with varying learning needs.


By moving all of our readings to an online, open-source textbook or pdf articles, the students have zero cost for textbooks.
The online tools I am using – Voicethread, Google Docs, Zoom – are licensed across our campus and built into our Learning Management System, making them free for all students.
My course is now a zero cost course. Students do not need to even print materials for peer review, portfolios, or assignment turn-in because it all takes place online.


The Course Redesign focuses on engaging students and allowing them online spaces and tools to voice their ideas and opinions. This leaves room for students who would normally be uncomfortable speaking in class to participate and share their ideas and experiences. Certain students — because of their various backgrounds — have a harder time particpating in and/or having their voices heard in a face-to-face class, so giving them a blended, online option to participate helps with their engagement.

About the Instructor: Rachael Jordan


I am a product of the CSU system. I got my B.A. in English at CSU Channel Islands and my M.A. in English from CSU Northridge. Because of the incredible experience I’ve had in the CSU, I am fortunate to be back as a full-time lecturer in English Composition. My research deals with using technology to foster engagement, particularly among first-generation college students.

You can find a link to my CV here.