Stage 2: About the Students & Instructors

Student Characteristics

  • Our first year composition courses serve all students from all majors except those who have already fulfilled the lower division writing requirement through Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit.
  • As part of our Directed Self Placement (DSP) process, incoming students are advised that they may be ready for ENGL 105 if they have experience with research-based writing and feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback with peers. According to English Placement Test (EPT) results, 61% of our first year students should be ready for ENGL 105. However, only about 27% of students choose our one-semester option, while 73% choose our two-semester Stretch Composition sequence (ENGL 102 and ENGL 103).
  • CI is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) with a large proportion of first generation college students, and these are the students who populate our composition courses. The students in ENGL 105 face the challenges associated with navigating the “hidden curriculum” of university life, time management, and balancing obligations to school, family, and the workplace. Most of our students hold jobs in addition to carrying full time course loads, and many are commuter students who are only on campus a limited number of days each week. These factors can interfere with their ability to complete required drafts and attend class meetings regularly.
  • For most of our composition students, even those in ENGL 105, the writing they were primarily asked to do before college consisted of five paragraph essays. Our courses challenge students to write more sophisticated, analytical or argumentative prose that effectively integrates multiple, diverse sources. Although students are given ample time to complete the various drafts expected of each assignment, they have little or no experience managing long term projects like our portfolio. Thus, it can be a challenge for students to prioritize the work in our class in light of other exams and assignments that come up in other courses and are graded immediately, rather than at the end of the semesters as is the case with our portfolio system.

Advice I Gave My Students to be Successful

About Writing

  • You will learn only as much, or little, as you choose to learn.
  • Each of you has a unique learning style, so not every assignment will appeal to everyone–but the variety should provide you with a chance to show what you’re capable of doing.
  • The more often you collaborate with your classmates–in discussion, in study groups, on papers–the richer the experience will be for you.
  • Writing, you will discover, is always a collaborative process.
  • You will teach yourself more than I teach you.
  • You will learn more from each other than you do from me.
  • All of you are capable of succeeding in this class; my job is to help you succeed.

About Technology

  • If you run into technical problems in this course, you should try the following:
  • Clear your browser’s cache.
  • Try a different browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome).
  • Close windows and restart your computer.
  • Contact the University Help Desk.

Online Etiquette

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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
    • 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 align completely with the SLOs of ENGL 105, integrating purposeful scaffolding and tools to enhance student engagement, self-efficacy, and accountability and thus facilitate student achievement of SLOs.

Assessments Used to Measure Students’ Achievement of SLOs

  • Student achievement of SLOs will be measured via Holistic Team Scoring of student portfolios at the end of the semester. Portfolios will be evaluated by composition faculty other than a student’s classroom teacher, providing an objective assessment. The portfolio will consist of two student essays that have been revised and edited over the course of the semester. Both papers must integrate multiple, substantial, credible sources. Portfolios will be assessed via the Scoring Criteria for the First Year Composition Program.

Accessibility, Affordability, and Diversity Considerations


  • Our approach to redesigning the course is mindful of issues related to accessibility. We will work with CI’s Teaching and Learning Innovations program to implement tools that serve students with various learning styles and abilities. Indeed, the redesign is intended to more effectively serve and support students who would benefit from extended time to work towards completing learning tasks, asynchronous approaches to class discussions and collaborations, and online access to course materials that are delivered in accessible formats.


  • Our redesign will continue to draw upon open source the open source course materials that we already implement in the Composition Program, including this peer reviewed collection of composition essays, Writing Spaces. The technologies we will integrate are freely available to students as members of the CI community. These include Blackboard, Google Docs (CI Docs), CI Keys, and Voicethread. Students who do not have a computer can use the various computer labs available on campus or check out a laptop from the library for up to one week at a time. The tools we will implement are also mobile-friendly.


  • Our redesign will continue to value and serve students of diverse backgrounds, attending particularly to the needs of first generation college students at a Hispanic Serving Institution. The redesign will be mindful of helping students learn how to learn, which is essential for all novice students. Course materials will respect the pluralism of our student body and our region as a whole, and students will be taught and expected to be aware of and sensitive to diverse audiences in their writing.

About the Instructors

Dr. Stacey Anderson

Stacey Anderson PhotoI hold a Ph.D. in English and have over 20 years of experience teaching college writing. I have taught English at CSU Channel Islands since 2005 and direct the Composition Program. I am passionate about innovative pedagogies, collaborative learning, and defying the myth that any student “can’t write.” I take pride in being a person who can bring laughter and levity to almost any situation.

Dr. Clifton Justice

I am a full-time lecturer in the English program at CI, and I’m in my ninth year teaching at the school. I have taught many writing classes and am a specialist in literacy activities. I like teaching CSU students because I was one. My B.A. and M.A. are both in English from CSU Northridge. I even went to a state school in Pennsylvania to earn my Ph.D. in Composition. I look forward to learning with you and from you.