Blogging Assignment and Evaluation

Throughout the semester, we will engage with the ideas of the course through public blogging. Blogs only work when sustained by an energetic (and perhaps even chaotic) community. You will both post your own written responses to our class and comment on the posts of your colleagues.

You will contribute approximately once a week to the blog, posting an approximately 500-word 300-400-word response to one of the day’s readings. In other words, you will write about either Tuesday’s or Thursday’s readings. There are a number of ways to approach these open-ended posts: formulate an insightful question or two about the reading and then attempt to answer your own questions; write about an aspect of the day’s reading that you don’t understand, or something that jars you; or consider the reading in relation to other texts for the day or those that we have already read.

Not counting the first week of class, there are fifteen weeks in our semester. You must post to the blog during at least 9 of these weeks (there will be no blog posting while we read House of Leaves). That means that you can take 3 weeks off throughout the semester; use these weeks wisely. To ensure that everyone has a chance to read the blog before class, post your response by 9 pm on the day before the class for which the relevant text has been scheduled (Mon. for a Tues. class, Wed. for a Thurs. class).

You will also comment approximately twice a week on a post written by your peers. Your blog comments should directly engage with the content of your colleagues’ posts. These can be short and informal, but shouldn’t be flippant. What points do you find compelling? What further questions does the post raise for you? How did our class discussion change the way you thought about the post? By the end of the semester, you must have posted 20 comments to your peers’ posts.


Comments on blogs will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Blog entries will be graded according to the following rubric, borrowed by Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0) from Mark Sample.

Rating Characteristics

4 Exceptional. The journal entry is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. The entry demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, and it considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The entry reflects in-depth engagement with the topic.
3 Satisfactory. The journal entry is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. The entry reflects moderate engagement with the topic.
2 Underdeveloped. The journal entry is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. The entry reflects passing engagement with the topic.
1 Limited. The journal entry is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of student engagement with the topic.
0 No Credit. The journal entry is missing or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.


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