DSP information for online placement / Macromedia Breeze
On behalf of my colleagues, welcome to the Writing Program
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Historically, about 40% of students select this course sequence:
EN 100: Developmental Writing
EN 101: College Writing
EN 102: College Writing & Research
Sixty percent of students typically select this course sequence:
EN 101: College Writing
EN 102: College Writing & Research
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: http://www.dwc.edu/academics/ss/sl_place.shtml.
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.”
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 WritingPlacement@dwc.edu.
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.
Good luck with the entirety of your first year at
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.