Welcome to UMBC's First-Year Composition

Course Description
First-Year Composition is a course in critical thinking, reading, and composing, with an emphasis on integrating academic research and documentation. Students read and produce work for a variety of purposes and audiences, focusing on strategies for researching, organizing, drafting, sharing, and revising. 

First-Year Composition (any variation of English 100) is a general education requirement at UMBC, which students must pass with a grade of C or higher. 

How We Teach Composition
Because effective writing and composing practices are essential to our students’ academic and professional success, at UMBC we teach First-Year Composition using an innovative approach that combines increased face-to-face contact with the instructor, peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and technological enhancements that support learning in and out of the classroom.

In most of our composition courses, students meet with their instructor as a class once a week, and use the other class each week to conference in small groups with instructor or work in the writing lab with a Writing Fellow—a Writing Center tutor with additional training who provides one-on-one help and assists with peer review groups. This model allows students to discuss, practice, and share their work in progress in a variety of important and useful ways.

In this video you see one component of our First-Year Composition course: small group conferences with the instructor.

Another element in English 100 is the use of our custom UMBC Edition of Writing About Writing by Downs and Wardle, which introduces students to some core concepts in the field of composition studies through a selection of scholarly articles.  

In addition, all English 100 sections share a common handbook, The Little Seagull Handbook, both the print and e-book version.  Some instructors are also using FRED, an interactive writing space for online peer review and instructor feedback on drafts. 

An April 2013 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Not Your Grandfather’s Composition Class:  Model Mixes Face-to-Face Time with Technology” describes UMBC’s approach as a way “to ensure that technology fosters collaboration, just as old-­fashioned discussions do.”

The UMBC Writing Placement Exam places students into one of the following composition courses:

ENGL 100 – Composition is the standard three-credit course. 
Note: Students who previously placed in Engl 100A should now take Engl 100, as Engl 100A is no longer offered.

ENGL 100Y – Composition. This class serves as an alternative to English 100.  This three-credit class is combined with a one-credit Introduction to an Honors University seminar focusing on issues such as advising and career exploration, developing study skills, time management, critical thinking, and other subjects and techniques designed to help students’ college success. 

ENGL 100H - Honors Composition is a three-credit course for Honors students. This course is open to students who score 670 or above on the SAT-V. Honors identification required.

ENGL 110 ESL Composition is a four-credit course for students who are English-language learners.
Students may take a second Composition course to develop your writing ability.

For more information, please contact:  Sally Shivnan – shivnan@umbc.edu or Holly Sneeringer – hollys@umbc.edu, Writing and Rhetoric Division, English Department.