University of the District of Columbia Community College Higher Education Tech Innovation

Primary Contact Name: 
Alfredda H. Payne
Funding Framework: 
Primary Challenge Area: 
Open Core Courseware
English and Composition
Course Model

The Innovation: Directed Self-Placement Program (DSP)

Lack of academic preparation can force a student to enroll in developmental English courses, adding time and cost to degree completion. The University of the District Columbia Community College’s (UDC-CC) DSP program provided an alternative. AccuPlacer placement scores identified students who could bypass developmental English programs, enrolling instead in a credit-level, DSP gateway English course consisting of:

  • A specially designed blended learning course supplemented by Learner Web platform’s online resources.
  • Learner Web’s real-time student data for instructors and student support specialists to monitor students’ progress.

Results Achieved:  During the grant program, 230 students successfully completed the DSP college-level English course, advancing closer towards college completion. Partner institutions, St. Paul College and South Texas College, reported students who elected to enroll in the DSP English composition course performed as well academically as students who already placed in a college-level English Composition course.

Long term Goal: To continue the DSP program at the partner institutions and expand into high schools.

The Grant Project:

The University of the District of Columbia Community College [formerly known as Community College of the District of Columbia] received an NGLC grant in April 2011.

With NGLC funding, UDC-CC expanded the DSP program to St. Paul College and South Texas College.

UDC-CC discontinued DSP after the grant period due to lack of funding, but the program lives on through partners’ activities. St. Paul College plans to partner with St. Paul high schools to provide Learner Web modules and resources to better prepare students for college. South Texas College plans to use the DSP program to comply with a Texas state mandate requiring non-course options for students placed in developmental education.


  • LearnerWeb, developed by Portland State University
  • South Texas College
  • St. Paul College