Synthesis Assignment: Charting Where the Authors Intersect

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Kathryn Hansler, an Instructor at Cal State San Bernardino, developed an assignment for a First Year Composition course that takes place after several lessons on synthesis and close readings of 2 texts. This assignment is used to help prepare students for an essay where they develop their own theory on the issue of news media objectivity. Part 1 of the assignment asks students for homework to complete a chart [Google doc] identifying where the two authors' ideas intersect, how/why they intersect, and then asks the student to draw conclusions; what they're noticing about the scholarly conversation; what's at stake or forms the disagreement. The two scholars utilized for this assignment are Jay Rosen’s “Beyond Objectivity” and Linda Greenhouse’s “Challenging ‘He Said, She Said’ Journalism”, however any 2 texts on any issue can be substituted. Part 2 and 3 can be adapted as an in-class learning activity, either for synchronous or asynchronous course, or f2f. Part 2: Students complete a Google Shared Chart, where each student adds 1 idea from their homework. Part 3: Using Google Jamboard students then discuss what they discover in their synthesis in 3 prompts.

QLT Objectives Met

  • QLT Section 3: Instructional Materials and Resources
    • Objective: 3.5 There is a variety of instructional material types that lead to more UDL/access and student engagement, while not overly relying on one content type such as text.
  • QLT Section 4: Student Interaction and Community
    • Objective: 4.4 Learning activities facilitate and support active learning that encourages frequent and ongoing peer–to–peer engagement.
  • QLT Section 6: Technology for Teaching and Learning
    • Objective: 6.2 Technological tools and resources used in the course enable student engagement and active learning.


Additional Information

  • Material Type:  Discussion
  • Author:   Kathryn Hansler, Instructor
  • Institution:  California State University, San Bernardino
  • Date Created:  2021-06-13
  • Course Format:   Online, Hybrid / Blended
  • LMS:  Canvas

QM Standard Equivalents

  • QM General Standard 4: Instructional Materials
  • Standard: 4.5 A variety of instructional materials is used in the course.
  • QM General Standard 5: Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
  • Standard: 5.2 Learning activities provide opportunities for interaction that support active learning.
  • QM General Standard 6: Course Technology
  • Standard: 6.3 A variety of technology is used in the course.