Stage 1: About the Course Redesign

Background on the Redesign

Why Redesign Your Course?

Course Characteristics:

  • With the redesign, we are looking to enhance student engagement and self-efficacy and to foster increased student commitment to the recursive and multi-staged writing process (drafting, researching, revising, editing, peer review, document design).

The Learning Problem:

  • Although student writing in our composition courses is not evaluated until the final portfolio at the end of the semester, students cannot submit a portfolio unless they attend class regularly and meet all draft deadlines and expectations throughout the semester. Our redesign is intended to help students prioritize the various stages of the writing process throughout the term, both inside and outside of class, so that they can fulfill the learning goals of the course and complete the lower division writing requirement successfully.

Course History/Background

  • ENGL 105 is a GE course that fulfills the requirement for English Writing (A2). In CI’s “New GE,” ENGL 105 is aligned with Outcome 4.1, “Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.”
  • ENGL 105, ENGL 103, or its equivalent, is a prerequisite for all subsequent English courses.
  • Students who score below a 147 on the English Placement Test must complete the lower division writing requirement in their first year through ENGL 105 or ENGL 103 (the second half of our of Stretch Composition sequence).
  • Our innovative practices described in the abstract (Directed Self Placement, Stretch Composition, and Holistic Team Scoring of student portfolios) have been in place since CI welcomed its initial class of first year students in 2003. These practices have made our composition program extremely successful. Nearly 92% of students complete the lower division writing requirement successfully in spite of English Placement Test predictions that only 61% of incoming students are ready for college writing.

High Demand/Low Success Issues

  • Although the course we are redesigning does not face the high demand/low success issues typical of other CRT courses, it can serve as a bellwether for student retention and success. Students who do not pass ENGL 105 in their first attempt can face difficulty receiving financial aid and enrolling in subsequent semesters. Time to degree is also slowed for students who do retake the class. Sometimes students do not retake the class until they are juniors or seniors, defeating the purpose of a class intended to set up first year students for subsequent writing tasks. In short, reducing the number of repeatable grades in ENGL 105 will increase student retention and success at the University as a whole.