In this tutorial you'll find a couple of examples of writing at the freshman level to encourage summarizing as well as ways to modify the assignments to address the more advanced writing skills required of sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
There is a difference between writing to learn and learning to write. Both skills are important, however in students early in their program instructors may focus too much on learning to write before addressing writing specific skills.
Writing to Learn: The purpose of writing to learn is for students to use writing to explain concepts, reflect on how the ideas apply to their lives, ask questions about the material, and make connections between concepts and classes.
Learning to Write: These types of assignments emphasize summary, abstraction, critical evaluation, analysis, and persuasion. Learning to write includes revising for clarity and conciseness.
It's possible to integrate both approaches to writing while building business writing skills from the student's freshman to senior years.
Source: Bobrowski, P., Cox, P. and Maher, L. (2003, December) Teaching first-year business students to summarize: Abstract writing assignment. Business Communication Quarterly. Volume 66, Number 4, pgs. 36-54.
Use writing to encourage students to organize their thoughts on paper is a good first step when writing to learn:
During a class:
At the end of a class or beginning of a subsequent class:
Other topics, or prompts, for free writes include:
Source: "Other topics" from Writing (even a little bit) fasciliates learning. Dr. Maryellen Wimer, PhD., Faculty Focus
You'll find chapter summary assignment prompts in this PowerPoint presentation that start at the "Understanding/Application" skill levels and progress through "Evaluation." For an overview of Higher Order Thinking Skills and the business student see the following tutorial. http://www.sophia.org/industry-approach-to-business-writing-wac-tutorial
With the massive amounts of information available today organizations are looking for ways to digest information efficiently in order to find the next strategy or potential innovation. By developing your summarization skills you can help meet this objective.
Use this PowerPoint as a reference to practice summarizing until you've been able to internalize the steps from experience.