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Fresno State’s writing proficiency hits the SPOT

Andrew Spencer, Staff Writer

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Cal State University Fresno has developed an alternative spot-on way for students to help students meet an upper division writing requirement.

This semester, Fresno State launched Self-Paced Online Tutorial (SPOT), an online tutorial program designed to help students improve their writing skills.

According to Shirley Armbruster, associate vice president of university communications at Fresno State, SPOT is a free service that helps people improve their writing skills. The online tutorial program, which was launched this semester, is open to anyone who wishes to take it.

The program was built on a technology platform designed by Fresno State staff and gives students another avenue to demonstrate writing competency, Armbruster said.

“If a student submits his or her work for evaluation by a trained evaluator, the student may fulfill the upper division writing requirement for our campus,” she said via email. “The other two methods of fulfilling this requirement are passing a designated upper division writing course or passing a standardized upper division writing examination.”

Those enrolled in SPOT can take up to six months to complete the program but are encouraged to work at their own pace.

Fresno State English professor Asao Inoue will mentor the online tutorial. The tutorial’s writing assignments are customized to each student’s major.

Armbruster said that while several people have expressed interest in the online tutorial program, only 40 spots are currently available. If the year-round program is successful, Armbruster said up to 100 spots may be opened.

There are currently 60 people on the waiting list, including a woman from Romania, Armbruster said.

For now, SPOT is being piloted as a single campus program, Abruster said.

“We are very happy to share our experiences with SPOT with other campuses and expect other campuses to explore similar programs in the future,” she said. “It is possible that, in the future, students from other CSU campuses who successfully complete SPOT and whose writing is determined to demonstrate upper division writing proficiency may fulfill their campus’ upper division writing requirement.”

Elizabeth Schmidt contributed to this report. 

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