Exposititory Writing I; Summary and Synthesis EN 101:C07
Bentley College
Robert Crooks
Service Learning Course Cluster

Fall 1994

Like all sections of EN 101, this one will focus on critical reading, synthesizing ideas from different sources, and constructing arguments. This section will have two additional features, however. First, EN 101.C07 and CS 101.C14 will be clustered during the fall. This clustering will be aimed both at learning to use the computer as a more effective tool for communication, and at examining the relation of the computer to issues of social and economic inequality. Second, we will engage in a year-long service learning project at Father Bill's, a homeless shelter and resource center that helps homeless people in the Boston area obtain employment and housing. Students will provide service to the agency and its clients in various ways, but the main emphasis will be on reinforcing concepts learned in class through tutorials for homeless persons getting ready to reenter the job market. Students will offer writing tutorials, workshops on composing resumes, and computer skills tutorials at Bentley─some service will be provided at the agency, some in a Bentley computer lab. In the spring semester, work with the agency will culminate in computer-aided writing projects, perhaps including design of an agency newsletter, production of an online agency description, and writing help documentation to enhance future computer literacy training at the agency.

Course Objectives:

To learn to better understand the ideas of others and how they relate to your own through summary and synthesis.

To gain a better understanding of the causes and effects of homelessness, and to explore the possibilities of ending homelessness.

To learn how to use the resources of the computer to communicate more effectively.

To explore the relations between the growing importance of computers in society and social problems such as homelessness.


Richard Sweeney: Out of Place: Homelessness in America

Diana Hacker: A Writer■s Reference

Kallman and Grillo: Ethical Decision Making and Information

Technology (a text for CS 101 also)

Eugene F. Provenzo, ■The Electronic Panopticon: Censorship,

        Control, and Indoctrination in a Post-Typographic Culture■
        from Literacy Online: The Promise and Peril of Reading and
        Writing with Computers, ed. Myron C. Tuman. Pittsburgh: U
        Pittsburgh P, 1992.  167-188.  (to be handed out)


Journals: Keep a journal on your computer (once you■ve learned how to use the EOS network in CS 101, you will start submitting updates on your journal electronically once a week). Your journal is a place to reflect on the course and the course cluster. Record your responses to the readings, to what goes on in class, and to your experiences in the Service Learning project. Your journal should be a source of ideas that you can later use for responses to summaries or for other writing assignments, but should not be limited to that. Exactly what you write is up to you. In grading journals I will only consider the seriousness of your reflections, not your style and grammar or the particular views and opinions you express. There will be specific assignments for the journal on occasion, but for the most part it■s up to you to decide exactly what to comment on. You should make at least two entries in your journal every week. Be sure to date each entry. One specific journal assignment: over the course of the semester, you should include at least six ■help-notes■─explanations of unfamiliar words, ideas, events, people, etc. that you come accross in the course readings. Look these up and record an explanation. I will compile these explanations and save them for use in future versions of the course.

Summaries: Writing summaries is an effective way of insuring that you really understand what you read. In this course you will summarize every major piece of reading that you do, and you should make a habit of doing this for your other courses as well─it takes a little time, but the payoff in terms of better comprehension and retention of what you read is well worth it. When you summarize an essay, you want to reproduce the main train of thought in the essay in your own words, but be faithful to the ideas and intentions of the original text. Of course you should respond to what you read as well, perhaps by further developing some idea or testing what you read against your own experience, or perhaps arguing with an essay that you think reaches the wrong conclusions. Such responses should be kept clearly separate from the summary itself however. As you write your summaries, I will ask you to use various formatting capabilities in Word Perfect to record your responses in different ways, so that you can see which seems to best fit your way of thinking, and also which seems most effective in presenting your dialogue with the text you■re summarizing.

In writing summaries, you should start by trying to identify the main ideas in what you■re reading (mark them in the text in some way, or copy them out). Then try to see how these ideas are connected together to form an argument that works from some assumptions to reach some conclusion. It■s often helpful to try paraphrasing the main ideas individually (restating them in your own words) before trying to put them together to form a summary.

Argument: The other major form of writing we will work on this semester is argument. In making an argument, you begin by making some assumptions about a situation or condition. You then explore evidence relating that situation; evidence can take many forms, but in this course you will probably draw primarily upon information from the course readings and ideas about what the implications of the information might be. You then try to combine or synthesize these various pieces of evidence in a reasonable way with your own assumptions and ideas to reach some conclusion. Let me stress that ■conclusion■ in argument doesn■t mean ■this is the final word on the subject.■ Rather it means something like ■based on the evidence I■ve gathered and the thinking I■ve done so far, I think it■s accurate to say this; now what do you (the reader) think?■

Service Learning Project: During this semester we will begin a project with Father Bill■s, a homeless resource center located in Quincy. The project will be continued in EN 110 next semester. This semester we will do two things. First, everyone in the class will visit Father Bill■s (in groups of four or five) to gain familiarity with the organization and its guests. Either I or Mary Ann Robbert from the CIS department will accompany the groups on this first visit. Second, on three Wednesday afternoons in October, a group of guests from Father Bill■s will come to Bentley. You will work with them in a computer lab in La Cava, drawing upon what you■re learning in this course and in CS 101 to help them improve their computer and writing skills. The exact focus of these sessions will be worked out later, but the first one will probably be devoted to working with MS Windows and the second to writing a resume using Word Perfect.

Quizzes: There will be frequent short quizzes on assigned readings. Your two lowest quiz grades will be automatically dropped, but missed quizzes cannot be made up.

Attendance and Participation: This course is devoted to using communication in all forms, including discussion, to further our understanding of important social problems like homelessness. Your regular attendance and participation in class discussions is crucial to meeting that objective.


Summaries                                       20%
Ethics cases                                    20%
Argument                                        20%
Journals                                        20%
Attendance, participation, quizzes                             20%

Schedule of assignments:

Session 1
Introduction to the Course

Session 2
Read: Sections G1 & G2 in Hacker, and Chapter 1 of Sweeney. Start your Journal by recording your responses to Sweeney.

Session 3
Read: Chap. 2 of Sweeney
Write: paraphrases of assigned passages in Sweeney, Chap. 1.

Session 4
Read: Sections G3 & G4 in Hacker.
Draft: Summary of Sweeney, Chap. 1─include your responses in a paragraph at the end.

Session 5
Read: Sections G5 & G6 of Hacker; Kallman & Grillo, Chapters 1-3. Write: Use Lotus 123 to chart the figures in the table on page 29 of Sweeney.

Session 6
Draft: summary of Sweeney, Chap. 2, with your responses in footnotes. Include a graph made from your Lotus spreadsheet effectively showing the trends in US poverty since 1960.


Session 7
Read: Section W1 of Hacker; Sweeney, Chap. 3. Write: Using Word Perfect, create a Case Worksheet (pps. 57-58 of Kallman & Grillo) as an Express Doc template and use it to write responses to Case 1: Levity or Libel?

Session 8
Read: Hacker, Sect. W2; Sweeney, Chap. 4. Draft: summary of Sweeney, Chap 3, with your responses in endnotes

Session 9
Read: Hacker, Sections W3, W4, & W5.
Draft: summary of Sweeney, Chap. 4 in a two-column format, with responses on the right side.

Session 10
Read: Sweeney, Chap. 5, and Hacker, Sections P1-P3. Read and Write: Case 2 in Kallman & Grillo, using your case worksheet template to record your responses.

Session 11
Draft: Summary of Sweeney, Chap. 5, with responses, with responses in the format that seems most effective to you. Share one of your journal entries with the rest of the class via email.