About SEWS: Information for LMU Faculty
What is SEWS?
SEWS stands for Sequential Enhancement of Writing Skills. It is a writing requirement for all LMU undergraduate programs. All students in 4-year baccalaureate degree granting programs must complete a Junior (300 level) and Senior (400 level) SEWS paper. Students who take ENGL101 and/or ENGL102 complete their first and second level SEWS papers in these general education courses. Students who transfer in or test out of these courses are not required to do a first and second level papers.
What are the requirements of the SEWS papers?
The content, length, format, and type of paper is completely determined by the department and instructor. SEWS papers are required to be source based and written in an appropriate style for the discipline (such as APA, MLA, or Chicago). The number and use of sources may vary depending on the instructor and topic but the SEWS paper must involve some use of the scholarly literature in the discipline. All SEWS papers will be assessed using the SEWS rubric.
Which class(es) have SEWS papers?
This is determined by each department. Ideally, the SEWS paper is integrated into a research methods or research related course in the major. In some cases, the SEWS paper may be an independent study. Most majors have one class designated as the SEWS class for the Junior level and another for the Senior level, but exceptions may be made with department chair or dean approval. The Junior and Senior level classes will be designed as Writing Requirements and will have their own distinct pages on the Blackboard Course management System. The SEWS paper should be done in a class for the student’s major. However, exceptions may sometimes be made with department chair or dean approval.
Who grades the SEWS papers?
The instructor of the class. The SEWS director does not grade the paper or apply the SEWS rubric.
Does the SEWS paper have to be done in the student’s major?
Yes. However, exceptions may sometimes be made with department chair or dean and SEWS director approval.
How is the SEWS paper graded?
As a graduation requirement, the SEWS paper is pass/fail. All SEWS papers must be assessed using the SEWS rubric. Other rubrics or requirements are determined by the instructor and department. The SEWS rubric is not intended to be the only criteria for determining the grade of the SEWS paper. It is only intended to assess basic writing and information literacy criteria.
What is the SEWS rubric?
This is how we assess the SEWS papers. It is a general, all-purpose rubric (has no specific disciplinary content) developed by a multidisciplinary committee in conjunction with the Quality Enhancement Plan of 2009-2014 on Information Literacy. All SEWS papers must be assessed using the SEWS rubric. However, the SEWS rubric is not intended to be the only criteria for determining the grade of the SEWS paper. It is only intended to assess basic writing and information literacy criteria. As a graduation requirement, the SEWS paper is pass/fail. All SEWS papers must be assessed using the SEWS rubric. Other rubrics or requirements are determined by the instructor and department. Contact the SEWS director if you would like to combine and align your rubric with the SEWS rubric.
Where is the SEWS rubric?
You can download a copy of the SEWS rubric on the library’s webpage for faculty: https://library.lmunet.edu/library/facultyservices. The SEWS rubric will also appear in the Blackboard course pages of Junior and Senior Writing Requirements classes. This is where you should record the results.
How do I find and use the SEWS rubric in Blackboard?
The SEWS Director generally creates the SEWS Paper Assignment in the Blackboard course page of the Junior and Senior Writing Requirements courses. The SEWS paper is created as a “Turnitin Direct Assignment” and will implement Turnitin plagiarism detection and feedback features. The students will submit the SEWS Paper assignment as they do any other assignment in Blackboard. The SEWS rubric is embedded in the assessment feature of Blackboard and the instructor can grade the SEWS paper using the criteria of the rubric easily through it.
What is information literacy? How does it relate to SEWS?
The SEWS program and rubric were deigned in light of the Information Literacy definition determined by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in 2000. That definition was “as the ability to recognize when and to what extent information is required, to locate its sources, determine its value, and use and communicate this knowledge purposively, effectively, and ethically.” The SEWS paper is where students apply much of their information literacy skills and where we assess it.
In 2016 ACRL redefined Information Literacy as “the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” Librarians are in the process of restructuring their instruction and in time the SEWS program and rubric to address this new definition.
How can I prepare my students for the SEWS paper?
Make it explicitly clear how important it is from the beginning of the class. Provide them with clear instructions and requirements. Give them plenty of time to do the research and writing. Break the research and writing process into steps. Help them compose clear, focused theses or research questions. Make them find and read their sources early on in the process. Require an annotated bibliography at least three weeks before the final due date. Use your librarian. Schedule a class session or two in the library or another computer lab where the librarian can show students resources and engage them in active information literacy learning experiences.
How can my students get help with SEWS papers?
For basic writing and composition help, contact the Tagge Center. For help with research and information literacy, contact the SEWS director or your subject librarian.
What happens to the SEWS rubric results?
They are collected and used to help close the assessment loop. They give a snapshot of how well students write and research, whether they improve, by how much, and where strengths and weaknesses are. This information is then communicated back to the departments and instructors.
What happens to the SEWS papers?
Originally, they were collected and uploaded to an online repository in Pathway but presently they are stored with the appropriate archived course in Blackboard. Contact the SEWS director if you would like access to the site or a specific paper.