DSP information for online placement / Macromedia Breeze



Slide 1

On behalf of my colleagues, welcome to the Writing Program at Daniel Webster College!  My name is Professor Alexandria Peary, and I am the Writing Program Director at Daniel Webster College.  If you ever need help on writing during your four years at the college, please do not hesitate to contact me either in my office or in the Writing Center.  If you haven’t already taken the Grammar Diagnostic, please do so now.  Your score on the Grammar Diagnostic is integral to this presentation.


Slide 2

Let’s get started.  You have some exciting decisions to make about your first year at college, and in the next few minutes, I will walk you through one of the most important decisions.  Your choice of a writing course can help set the right course for your entire college career, so chose wisely and mindfully!  If, however, by the end of this presentation you are still unsure about which writing course best suits you, you can arrange a one-on-one appointment with me during New Student Orientation.  Contact information is provided at the end of this presentation.



Slide 3

As you know from talking with your friends who are at other colleges and universities, almost every school has a first-year writing requirement.  Students are sometimes placed by their SAT Verbal scores or by a timed essay exam given during orientation.  However, at Daniel Webster College (and many others across the nation who are involved in education) we believe that those two methods are not good indicators of student writing ability.  Instead, we allow students to self-place (with guidance from us) into the right writing course for them in the curriculum.  The following discussion is intended to guide you toward making the right decision.



Slide 4

In the next few minutes, I will first explain the different writing courses and the criteria by which you should evaluate yourself in order to place yourself in one of those courses.  Just so you know, the decision you make now is not set in stone.  In the first week of class, faculty will carefully observe every student’s writing and promptly inform any potentially misplaced students.  Those students then have the option of moving to the other course.  After I explain the courses and criteria, I will tell you how to actually register for your first choice of writing course.




Slide 5

You will be selecting your course from two options: EN 100 and EN 101.  En 100 is a three-part course.  It teaches grammar, the writing process, and the fundamentals of college-level academic writing.  Cumulatively, the course helps boost student confidence in their writing ability, and it helps ease the transition into the next course, EN 101.  EN 100 is a Pass/Fail course, so there is more room to experiment than in a traditionally graded course.


EN 100 has a reputation for what we call “Rowdy Grammar”: we play grammar games. It’s one of the best ways to learn and permanently remember grammar rules.  Our philosophy is to keep grammar fun and interesting. The games seem to work because students become highly involved in learning grammar.  For example, students have been known to use profanity when a team mate answers a grammar question incorrectly.  Students then apply their knowledge of grammar gained from the games to their writing.  At the end of the semester, students take a grammar final to assess their learning.


In addition to grammar, students in EN 100 learn basic aspects of academic writing such as paragraph and thesis development.  Students also discuss the writing process in order to better understand and manage writer’s blocks and revision.  Instead of full-length papers, the majority of the assignments are short exercises. Students compose one academic essay at the end of the course.


Many of the tutors employed in the Writing Center were former EN 100 students; this indicates how much the course helps students gain confidence and skill with writing. 




Slide 6

EN 101 is a more vigorous course, and it is required to graduate.  In essence, students are expected to dive right into college-level writing.  In this course, assignments move from personal essays to argument, and students complete about seven essays during the semester.  Students are expected to be familiar with paragraph development, thesis/topic sentence constructions, and revision, as well as have a college-level vocabulary and understanding of grammar.  A student must earn a C in EN 101 in order to pass the course.




Slide 7

If you would like to see some sample papers from EN 101, they are available at the New Student Orientation website in the folder marked “Sample Student Papers from EN 101.”  Look carefully at those examples of A, A minus, and B papers to see how your own writing matches up.  Can you identify which organizational and language elements make an A paper at Daniel Webster College?  An A minus paper?  How does your own writing compare?





Slide 8

Here are some additional general guidelines to help you make your decision.  How many of the following statements are true of you as a writer? 


In high school, I wrote several essays per year.

In the past year, I have read books for my own enjoyment.

My high school GPA placed me in the top third of my class.

I have used computers for drafting and revising essays.

My SAT Verbal score was above 520.

I consider myself a good reader and writer.


If the majority of these statements are accurate representations of you, then EN 101 is probably a good course for you this fall.  If not, you may want to consider EN 100.




Slide 9

Another factor in helping you make your decision is how you scored on the Grammar Diagnostic.  While grammar is not the only factor which should help you decide between EN 100 and EN 101, it is an important one.  A general guideline would be that if you correctly answered 15 or more questions, your grammar ability appears sufficient for EN 101.  If you correctly answered fewer than 10 questions, you should strongly consider enrolling in EN 100. 



Slide 10

Note that weakness in grammar is not the sole reason for taking EN 100.  While the course is certainly helpful in learning grammar, students can also take EN 101 as their first course but regularly and reliably seek tutoring at the Writing Center.  You will want to consider the description of the two courses provided earlier in this presentation as well as sample graded A and B papers from EN 101, available in Blackboard to obtain an idea of the course expectations.



Slide 11

Historically, about 40% of students select this course sequence:


EN 100: Developmental Writing

EN 101: College Writing

EN 102: College Writing & Research


Slide 12

Sixty percent of students typically select this course sequence:

EN 101: College Writing

EN 102: College Writing & Research



Slide 13

You are probably much more ready now after this presentation to make your choice.  You still have one more important decision to make.  Do you want to take a writing course which involves Service Learning? 


Service-Learning is a method of experiential education in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs of non-profit organizations to broaden their appreciation of their discipline, further understand course content and enhance their sense of civic responsibility.  Students in EN 100 and EN 101 who engage in Service Learning typically help other people off-campus learn grammar or parts of the writing process.  From my own experience, I can tell you that stepping off campus can really provide a fresh outlook during one’s intense first year at college.


You can find more information about Service Learning at:




Slide 13


One last point: You can ask questions of other students and the SOLS about the writing courses by going to “Topical Discussions” and selecting “Writing Program Self-Placement.” 




Slide 13


Here’s how you now register for your course.  (These steps are also available on the New Student Orientation website.)  Once you’ve decided--remember that it’s not set in stone and that you can change your mind up until the first four classes of the semester--you will want to do the following:


1.                  Email

2.                  In the SUBJECT LINE of the email, write one of the following:

a.       Place me in EN 100

b.      Place me in EN 101

c.       Place me in EN 101 with Service Learning.


Note that these emails will not be opened and that you will be placed by the material in the Subject Line of the email.


In order to ensure your seat in the course you desire, you will want to select your first writing course by July 1, 2006.




Slide 14

Good luck with the entirety of your first year at Daniel Webster College.  You have made a first step toward an excellent semester by selecting your writing course.




Slide 15

Here is some additional contact information in case you have further questions.  If you do need a one-on-one appointment to discuss your writing placement, email me by August 15 to request a meeting.