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QEP [Improve Undergrad Writing)
UWG QEP - QEP Development Process - Student Services (DE) QEP Committee (orig. 2011) - QEP FAQ (draft 3 3/24/2014)
UWG QEP NEW website (Aug 2016)
Our role: Provide support, prof development, tech tools [Turnitin; Smarthinking; best practices]

Relevant Data from UWG Online
Excerpts from UWG Plan

Assessments of Current Practices

There is ample evidence that shows current practices to be effective:
 Usage reports, user satisfaction surveys, anecdotal discussions with faculty and students, focus groups, random phone surveys, etc.:
 Data demonstrating that a high percentage of our online eCore students meet or exceed performance on learning objectives related to QEP goals:
 Grade distributions that are comparable to their face-to-face counterparts
 High Regents Exam pass rates

Measures used to assess current practices include learning outcome assessments in eCore courses, anonymous online surveys, focus groups, random phone surveys, and informal discussions with users.

Student development activities will be enhanced to assist students in understanding UWG’s definition of standard English and expectations about writing at in the core. This will include self-paced tutorials, information on plagiarism, and writing across the core curriculum, to be included in online student orientation resources and online courses.

Extended Learning will work with others across campus to implement online curriculum changes or assessments, as deemed desirable by the respective units.


Usage rates and Satisfaction surveys including comparison studies looking at student’s performance on key indicators, as defined by the general QEP plan. For example, for the Smarthinking and Turnitin pilots, one could have specific outcomes-based learning assignments
on which to go back and review success rates for students in the classes pre-usage and postusage. How, when, and by whom will these data be collected? Each term, for a period of 5 years, by the Extended Learning teams and collaborators.

Rubrics or Measurements

Include the rubric or measurement used to assess the effectiveness of new or replacement practices.

To measure: Faculty will have an increased awareness of how to integrate and assess writing in the online classroom environment. We will conduct end of offering surveys and check back with
instructors within 6 weeks of completion, to assess whether they effectively implemented anything that they learned.

To measure: Students will have an increased awareness of how UWG defines students’ ability to write standard English. Within our LMS, we will ask willing instructors to post our online tutorial and a quiz to assess students’ understanding afterwards.


Before the QEP: For fully online students, including those enrolled in eCore courses, 24/7 virtual tutoring and a writing center option were provided via Smarthinking’s hosted services. Smarthinking provides tutoring in a host of subjects, including but not limited to Bilingual Math, Reading, and Writing. Writing support is available through Smarthinking’s Online Writing Lab and through live tutoring. The Online Writing Lab provides asynchronous support for students to receive a detailed, personalized critique of any written assignment, such as an essay, paragraph, report, personal statement,
cover letter, resume, or creative work. Live writing tutors are also available on-demand, for pre-scheduled sessions, or for asynchronous question submission. Essays or questions that are submitted are returned within 24 hours. Live tutors are available to assist students with specific writing questions such as pre-writing techniques, research
strategies, documentation, and grammar and mechanics. For both options, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESL) writing specialists are also available. Smarthinking’s academic resources include a comprehensive Writer’s Guide and ESL Writer’s Guide, as
well. Smarthinking part-time tutors include active college faculty, retired faculty, and adjuncts of which 90% have a Master’s or Ph.D. in the discipline they tutor. The remaining 10% are graduate assistants with teaching experience (

As a result of the QEP
  • Summer 2014, the QEP committee, VPAAs office, the UWG Writing Center, and UWG Online (Extended Learning, Distance Ed), began collaboration on a plan to fund and expand Smarthinking services to include students in all QEP courses, regardless of their instructional mode. 
  • Fall 2014: Selected face-to-face Smarthinking instructors tested the use of QEP in their classes and were satisfied with the results. 
  • Spring 2015: Additional funding was provided in order to cover costs anticipated for the Summer expansion project; UWG Online (Extended Learning, Distance Ed) worked with the UWG Writing Center and QEP Committee to prepare documentation, processes, updated websites, and training, for the expansion. QEP instructors were provided targeted training and a UWG Online (Extended Learning, Distance Ed) instructional designer worked to integrate a Smarthinking course module for students, into Summer QEP courses, for instructors requesting access. At a minimum, a link to Smarthinking was placed in all QEP courses.
  • Summer 2015: Smarthinking services were expanded beyond online and off-campus students, to include on-campus students in QEP courses.
  • Fall 2015: As a result of favorable feedback from instructors, administrators, and students, the service was further expanded to allow ALL UWG students to use Smarthinking in all courses.
  • Spring 2016: UWG Online (Extended Learning, Distance Ed) and the VPAAs office contributed additional funding necessary to continue service to all students into FY17.
  • Summer 2016: Representatives from the QEP Committee (lead), UWG Writing Center, UWG Online (Extended Learning, Distance Ed), and other units across campus, were asked to form an Ad Hoc Task Force for the UWG Online Writing Center:
    • This past academic year of full-scale QEP implementation has shown greater demand than ever from our students for online tutoring resources in writing, in addition to the ever-increasing popularity of the on-campus UWC. While we continue to use Smarthinking, an online tutoring service, to provide students with online writing assistance, on several occasions over the past few months, the question of forming our own online writing center has arisen. Yesterday afternoon, Micheal Crafton and Cher Hendricks recommended the formation of an ad hoc task force to explore the logistics of forming such a center here at UWG. Any of the following outcomes could result from the work of this group:
1. The task force might explore the pilot, figure out a budget, and realize that we just cannot do this in a more cost-efficient way than Smarthinking OR that we just do not have the (wo)manpower to run this kind of operation well; OR
2. The task force might figure out an amazing plan for the pilot on paper, but it would crash and burn when implemented, making us realize that we cannot do this better/more efficiently than Smarthinking; OR
3. The pilot will go off so well that we will decide to expand it, and create the full-fledged Online Writing Center, which will operate in place of Smarthinking for UWG students, except fully Distance students, who will continue to have access to ST. 

Regardless of the outcome, the group's work will be a success, as it will be an example of striving for continuous improvement, and always thoughtfully evaluating what would be best for our students.