For 11.4.17

I am pretty sure this business of weekly homework and portfolios is new to most of you, so don’t knock yourself out, try to be perfect, and pull your hair out if you can’t figure it out, ok? Just one page touching each of the three topics below will be just great. If you feel like writing more: excellent!

Study the (updated) Syllabus

  • Please take a moment to write up (briefly) for me what you told me in class about where you are from, your semester and course of study, and what you hope to get out of this class
  • Write up any questions you have about the syllabus

Craft of Research

It would be very interesting if you read this first chapter, as I do, to help you think about why we write: Chapter 1, “Thinking in Print”. As you do so, make some thoughtful notes, and pay particular attention to the good reasons, as I do right here off the top of my head.

  • To check our understanding
  • To remember
  • To think through
  • To put things into our own terms

In this short chapter there are other interesting things, too, and the best way to understand them is to lift your eyes off the page and reflect on what they are saying and write a sentence or two on where you’ve seen this before, what’s new, and what you’d like to do next

  • These little exercises we can call “free writing”, because there are no grades
  • But they are not trivial: when you slow down, pay attention, and exercise your writer’s hand and head, you warm up to the business — like we do by stretching before we go running
  • Write up what you’re learning

Literature Review

Following the advice on the updated syllabus, look for some interesting high-level articles on your topic

  • Outline briefly your findings
  • Look for the sub-heads, the interesting questions
  • Keep track of the urls (heading 6 in your outline) so you can go back easily
  • Don’t write up a lot of details
  • Follow the hierarchy on the template I provide for you on Dropbox, and use that template!
  • Write up a paragraph reflecting on your learning


  • On Dropbox, please download, open up, and use the “EngFin Word Template” I’ve prepared for you!
  • Following the advice (and links) on the syllabus, start learning about outlining and how to use the Outline feature of MS Word
  • Bring your laptops to class!
  • In your portfolio, list what you’ve learned and where you’ve had trouble, and maybe write a couple of sentences about your relationship to technology