Students at Francis Marion fulfill their writing requirements by successfully completing the composition sequence:
- ENG 101 or ENG 101E
- ENG 102
The sequence opens with English 101, or its “extended” version, both focusing on analysis and argument, and concludes with English 102, a course that strengthens research writing, genre understanding, and transfer knowledge. These courses aim to enhance students’ abilities to approach future writing situations with confidence and the necessary skills. Students must complete English Composition through English 102 with a grade of C or higher to satisfy the Communications portion of the General Education Requirements.
How do I know if I should enroll in ENG 101 or ENG 101E?
The Composition Program supports various levels of student preparation by offering two options for the first course: English 101, a three-credit course, or English 101E (plus its linked English 101L), the four-credit “extended” version of English 101 that includes a corequisite writing studio (or lab) component. This self-selected Extended Writing Studio, ENG 101L, is a one-credit elective hour that meets twice a week to provide supplemental instruction and individualized attention from professors and undergraduate tutors, and is assessed with the designation of satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Both ENG 101 and ENG 101E have the same learning objectives; however, the methods at reaching those are different. Assignments in ENG 101E will often be produced with additional guidance and scaffolding built into the course.
While some programs place students into classes based on standardized tests or previous grades, FMU’s Composition Program relies on what is called a directed self-placement (DSP) method. This means that students are asked to make an informed decision about whether ENG 101 or ENG 101E is the best option for them. To make this decision, students should be familiar with the course descriptions, should complete a short questionnaire as part of our Directed Self-Placement (DSP) procedure, and should reflect on whether they feel as if they will be more successful in ENG 101 or ENG 101E, the extended version that offers additional support through that ENG 101L Extended Writing Studio.
What is Directed Self-Placement, and why is it effective?
A directed self-placement method moves beyond test scores and actively brings students into the equation. Specifically, it allows students the agency to reflect on past writing experiences, writing successes, and writing challenges while keeping in mind the demands of the college-level writing objectives in order to make an informed decision about what course is right for them. Directed self-placement works because it invites multiple factors into the decision while encouraging students to have ownership over their academic successes. At FMU, students decide whether ENG 101 or the “extended” ENG 101E with its linked Writing Studio would be the best environment to prepare them for academic success.
To guide students through a multifaceted examination of their writing history and ability, we have designed a DSP questionnaire that students must take before enrolling in ENG 101 or ENG 101E. Before taking this DSP questionnaire, students are asked to review the course descriptions. Upon completing the questionnaire, students will receive a recommendation about what course may be a better fit, but that is just a recommendation. Advisors may also guide students with their decision. However, under no circumstance should an advisor make the decision for a student.
We believe that given guidance and information about the demands of college-level composition, students will make appropriate decisions about their own education and will be more successful when allowed to do so.