Online Directed Self-Placement at University of Colorado-Boulder


When the writing program was being revamped in 2001, Rolf Norgaard, the associate director of the writing program at the time, decided to use self-placement in large part based on the work of Royer and Gilles in their book on DSP. Especially in a large university, a modest approach to directed self-placement makes sense because of the sheer number of incoming students. Also, in the UC writing program the decision of which course to take (and there are three: WRTG 1100, their version of basic writing--although itís not called that; WRTG 1150, the mainstream course; WRTG 1250, the advanced first-year course) is a low-stakes decision. That is, all three courses

will satisfy the first-year writing requirement, so there are no bureaucratic repercussions to choosing one course over another. Also, the writing program hopes that by giving students the choice of which class they take, they will approach the class with a little less dread.


Once students give notification of their acceptance, they are sent a packet of information that directs them to the DSP website. Rolf worked in conjunction with the technology folks to set up the website and database so that, after a student has finished taking the questionnaire, they can select a course and automatically be pre-enrolled for that course. Since the initial site was set up, the text has been revised slightly, but it continues to function in the same way.Students can use the DSP to register for first-year writing through the end of May, at which point the site is no longer available. Students who want to sign up for the course after the cut off date must go through the regular registration process.


Resource for Exploring Online DSP at the University of Colorado-Boulder

Document that reproduces their online DSP website