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SAS011, Engaging with Text Writing Lab

Writing Lab is designed to support students enrolled in College Reading & Writing and English Composition. The course focus is on writing as a process, using engagement with and responses to text as its content while simultaneously achieving developmental objectives. Students enrolled in Writing Lab meet weekly with a Writing Instructor individually or in small groups. The course earns 1 credit that counts toward full-time enrollment, but does not satisfy core curriculum or graduation requirements. Course grade is computed into students' cumulative grade point average.

Required Enrollment

Students placed in ENG122 College Reading & Writing I are enrolled in SAS011 concurrently. Students placed in ENG110 Mainstreaming are enrolled in ENG110 English Composition and SAS011 concurrently. 

Elective Enrollment

Students may elect to enroll into SAS011 for additional support in their ENG110 course. This is a personal decision that should be based on an understanding of what to expect from the English Composition course.

English Composition is challenging and will require you to invest considerable energy into reading complex material, drafting formal and informal responses and revising the written project for the course. Students with SAT Writing scores between 470 and 510 may find the course especially challenging. While the majority of those students complete the course on their first attempt, their course grades typically fall somewhat below the grades of those who enter with higher SAT Writing scores. We want all our students to succeed, so we offer a supplemental, one-credit course-based support for those who opt for it.

In SAS 011, students work on goals and tasks that are closely aligned to goals and work of English Composition. Working closely with writing support coaches, students learn to adopt a more persistent, mindful and reflective approach to their learning. They develop more robust reading and writing processes. They also practice with sophisticated language structures that enable them to express complex ideas and integrate their ideas with those of other writers.

To decide if you want to enroll in SAS011, you must have a sense of the level of academic challenge and expectations for the class. So, please participate in the following activities, which should take about an hour:

  1. Carefully review the course description and sample writing assignment below
  2. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Small Change” 
  3. Take the "Self-Placement Diagnostic Survey"

ENG 110: English Composition - Course Description

This course introduces students to writing as a conscious and developmental activity. Students learn to read, think and write in response to a variety of texts, to integrate their ideas with those of others and to treat writing as a recursive process. Through this work with texts, students are exposed to a range of reading and writing techniques they can employ in other courses and are introduced to fundamental skills of information literacy. Students work individually and collaboratively, participate in peer review and learn to take more responsibility for their writing development. Placement into this course is determined by entering SAT (or ACT) writing scores. 4 Credit hours

ENG 110 Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete English 110 should:

  • Demonstrate the ability to approach writing as a recursive process that requires substantial revision of drafts for content, organization and clarity (global revision), as well as editing and proofreading (local revision).
  • Be able to integrate their ideas with those of others using summary, paraphrase, quotation, analysis and synthesis of relevant sources.
  • Employ techniques of active reading, critical reading and informal reading response for inquiry, learning and thinking.
  • Be able to critique their own and others’ work by emphasizing global revision early in the writing process and local revision later in the process.
  • Be able to find, evaluate and use material located through the library’s online catalog, subscription databases and internet search.
  • Document their work using appropriate conventions (MLA).
  • Control sentence-level error (grammar, punctuation, spelling).

Sample ENG110 writing assignment: “Action for Change in the Digital Age”

In “Small Change,” Malcolm Gladwell writes about social media’s limited ability to effect real change. In his view, meaningful social change requires high-risk activism, strong-tie connections, hierarchies and hard work. He finds social media lacks all these elements. In his interview on ABC News and in the It Gets Better Project website, Dan Savage offers a portrait of a largely web-based, social media style campaign to improve the teen years for LGBTQ kids. Together, Gladwell’s text, Savage’s interview and the It Gets Better Project website offer us an opportunity to consider social activism in the twenty-first century.

Write a five-page paper that draws on Gladwell, Savage’s interview with ABC News and specific material from the It Gets Better Project website to evaluate the potential for social media to contribute to meaningful social change. In your response, be sure to:

  • Be clear about your perspective or point of view;
  • Briefly (and appropriately) introduce Gladwell’s text, Savage’s interview and the It Gets Better Project website;
  • Take seriously Gladwell’s critique of social media and draw on his ideas about strong and weak ties;
  • Engage with specifics in both Savage’s interview with ABC News and the It Gets Better Project website as you develop and support your claims;
  • Document sources using MLA style.

Questions You Might Consider

  • Are “It Gets Better” videos on the project website low risk in the way that the cheek swabs described by Gladwell are low risk? How? Why?
  •  Might the Savage interview and project website confirm or challenge elements of Gladwell’s argument? Which elements? Why?
  • Consider the question of personal risk in It Gets Better sharing and broader network context of the campaign. What does this help us understand about activism today?

Self-Placement Diagnostic Survey

Take our “Self-Placement Diagnostic Survey” to help you make an informed decision about enrolling in the writing support course, SAS 011: Engaging with Texts Writing Lab. Once you complete and submit the survey, you will receive a guide to help you interpret your diagnostic survey results.