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.  In both posts and in comments, we will take the opportunity to practice the moves we learn from They Say, I Say.

You will contribute approximately once a week to the blog, posting an approximately  300- to 400-word response to one of the day’s readings. In other words, you will write about either Tuesday’s or Thursday’s readings. You can choose, most of the time. However, you may not blog about readings from either They Say, I Say or Reading and Writing about Literature.

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. I will occasionally provide promptings for particular directions to take.

There are sixteen weeks in our semester. You must write on the blog during at least 9 of these weeks. You might think this means you can take 7 weeks off throughout the semester, but some of these weeks have no readings you can blog about (weeks 1, 8, 15, and 16). As such, there are only really 3 weeks that you can skip; 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? By the end of the semester, you must have posted 20 comments to your peers’ posts. Comments must be posted by 12 pm on the day of class.


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

Rating Characteristics

4 Exceptional. The blog post is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. The post demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, and it considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The post reflects in-depth engagement with the topic.
3 Satisfactory. The blog post 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 post reflects moderate engagement with the topic.
2 Underdeveloped. The blog post is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. The post reflects passing engagement with the topic.
1 Limited. The blog post is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of student engagement with the topic.
0 No Credit. The blog post is missing or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.