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First Year Composition Program

Welcome

The First-Year Composition Program welcomes students to CSUSB. Students earn their General Education (GE) credit in Written Communication by taking first-year composition through the English Department’s innovative stretch composition program. Students are invited to learn more about the composition program below.

Why First-Year Writing?

Students who are admitted to CSUSB have successfully met expectations for high school writing. Like most first-year students nationwide, students take first-year composition at CSUSB because writing at the university is significantly different from the writing students do in high school. No matter how focused students’ high school education has been on preparing students for college writing, there are foundational college-level writing practices that students can only learn while they are actually in the college context.

Writing in the College Context

When students write as college students they are entering conversations already in progress among professors, scholars, and students. Because writing is used as a way of participating in conversations about ideas, discoveries, and questions, first-year students discover that university writing is not limited to the five-paragraph essay, the Schaffer essay, or “the research essay.” In first-year composition students learn approaches to university writing which may include:

  • using writing as inquiry, as a means for exploring a question or problem
  • establishing a meaningful project
  • working closely with other texts
  • moving between abstraction and specificity
  • distinguishing popular discourses from academic discourses
  • evaluating information with respect to its rhetorical and social context
  • learning how to meaningfully revise
  • editing and rhetorical grammar

American college students have been taking first-year composition since the late nineteenth century. Historically, first-year composition was the first step in a multi-year writing sequence which included both composition and rhetoric. This traditional multi-year sequence faded away in most institutions by the late twentieth century, replaced by an emphasis on writing in all classes across the curriculum.

Today most American college students take first-year composition. At CSUSB, students also take two additional writing intensive (WI) designated courses in the GE program and/or their major. Research shows that students become strong writers through consistent exposure to writing-centered classes.

Stretch Composition

CSUSB offers “stretch” composition in which the first-year course is stretched out in time to cover two semesters or one semester. Incoming students use Directed Self-Placement (DSP) to choose between the four options for their first-year composition:

  • Stretch Composition
  • Stretch Composition for Multilingual Students
  • First-Year Composition
  • First-Year Composition for Multilingual Students

All incoming students are beginners at college-level writing. All students become stronger writers through consistent exposure to writing-centered courses. First-year writing courses for all students must immerse students in college-level reading and writing from the beginning.

At CSUSB, students have the option of taking one college-level reading and writing course with the same instructor and cohort of students “stretched out” over two semesters or in one semester. First-year students choose which option will best fit their needs through Directed Self-Placement. None of these sequences is remedial – they all do college-level work. The differences between the first-year composition classes are the time they offer students to develop and practice this college-level work.

We know from scholarship that writing and reading practices are acquired recursively, meaning that they need to be acquired and re-acquired – the longer the stretch sequence a student is enrolled in, the more chances they have to reinforce college-level reading and writing practices. We therefore encourage incoming students to make a thoughtful decision about which stretch sequence they enroll in.

Directed Self-Placement

Students at CSUSB use Directed Self-Placement to decide which First-Year Composition sequence to take. DSP is an alternative to timed placement tests like the English Placement Test. DSP is an effective mechanism for placing students in first year writing courses that are appropriate to their experiences, interests and goals. As the name directed self-placement suggests, you will be making your own decision about which first year composition course suits you – with the help of our DSP survey.

The DSP survey guides you through a self-assessment of your current reading and writing practices, offers you suggestions based on your results, and provides you with a thoughtful overview of the available course options. By considering your own history and development as a reader, writer, and learner in relation to the first year composition course options at CSUSB, we believe that you will be able to make an informed and wise choice about your first year writing sequence.

Visit DSP survey now.

Early Start

Early Start is not part of First-Year Composition at CSUSB.

Early Start is a California State University initiative mandated by the CSU Chancellor, and it is the Chancellor’s office which decides how students are placed into Early Start. Early Start does not directly prepare students for First-Year Composition. Because CSUSB does not offer remedial composition courses, Early Start does not affect students’ ability to enroll in the FYC course of their choice.

Requirements for the General Education Program:

University Foundations Category: Written Communication (A2, this is a General Education category in the CSUSB Bulletin)

The following courses will satisfy requirements A.2. Three units chosen from:

· ENG 1060A. Stretch Composition II (3)

· ENG 1060B. Stretch Composition II for Multilingual Students (3)

· ENG 1070A. First-Year Composition (3)

· ENG 1070B. First-Year Composition for Multilingual Students (3)

COURSE OFFERINGS IN ENGLISH (ENG)

ENG 1050A - ENG 1060A

ENG 1050A. Stretch Composition I

Analysis and use of strategies for conducting research and critically reading and writing expository texts. Explores relationships among language, meaning, and context, and emphasizes writing as a recursive process and as a means of critical thinking. Students identify themselves for placement in this course through Directed Self-Placement. Students will remain with the same cohort of classmates in the same time slot across ENG 1050A -ENG 1060A. Graded Credit/No Credit. Formerly offered as Eng 105A. (3 units)

ENG 1060A. Stretch Composition II

Further examination of how written language functions in context. Builds students' abilities to conduct research and to integrate it into their own arguments. Students will remain with the same cohort of classmates in the same time slot across ENG 1050A - ENG 1060A. Graded A through C-/No Credit. A grade of C- or better fulfills GE Category A2. Formerly offered as ENG 106A. (3 units)
 


ENG 1050B -ENG 1060B

ENG 1050B. Stretch Composition I for Multilingual Students

Analysis and use of strategies for conducting research and critically reading and writing expository texts. Explores relationships among language, meaning, and context, and emphasizes writing as a recursive process and as a means of critical thinking. Students identify themselves for placement in this course through Directed Self-Placement and through self-identification as a speaker of a native or home language other than English. Students who meet these two criteria may also opt to take ENG 1050A instead of ENG 1050B. Students will remain with the same cohort of classmates in the same time slot across . Graded Credit/No Credit. Formerly offered as Eng 105B. (3 units)

ENG 1060B. Stretch Composition II for Multilingual Students

Further examination of how written language functions in context. Builds students' abilities to conduct research and to integrate it into their own arguments. Students will remain with the same cohort of classmates in the same time slot across ENG 1050B - ENG 1060B. Graded A through C-/No Credit. A grade of C- or better fulfills GE Category A2. Formerly offered as ENG 106B. (3 units)


ENG 1070A. First-Year Composition

Concentrated composition course for advanced first-year writers. Examines the ways written language functions in various contexts. Requires students to conduct research, to draw upon their critical readings of texts to develop their own arguments, and to examine and use rhetorical strategies that respond to different situations. Students identify themselves for placement in this course through Directed Self-Placement. Graded A through C-/No Credit. A grade of C- or better satisfies GE Category A2. Formerly offered as ENG 107. (3 units)
 


ENG 1070B. First-Year Composition for Multilingual Students

Concentrated composition course for advanced first-year writers. Examines the ways written language functions in various contexts. Requires students to conduct research, to draw upon their critical readings of texts to develop their own arguments, and to examine and use rhetorical strategies that respond to different situations. Students identify themselves for placement in this course through Directed Self-Placement and through self-identification as a speaker of a native or home language other than English. Students who meet these criteria may also opt to take ENG 1070A instead of ENG 1070B. Graded A through C-/No Credit. A grade of C- or better satisfies GE Category A2. Formerly offered as ENG 107. (3 units)