Blogging

Rationale

Blogging is so 2000s, right? So why are we doing it still in 2015? Here’s a few reasons why I think it’s important for us to be blogging:

  • Since this is an English course, one of the outcomes is for your become more skilled writers. The best way to improve your writing is to do it regularly, period.
  • Your (likely) experiences to the contrary, writing isn’t something we do in isolation or only directed at a professor. The best writers are aware of others involved in the conversation and write with them in mind. Blogging helps make this a reality rather than a trite phrase.
  • Blogging allows for additional ways to participate actively in the class. Even shy students can contribute and respond to a course blog.
  • Reading each other’s writing is a great way to learn more about what we’re studying. Your colleagues will have insights that you won’t have had or that productively challenge your understanding of what we’ve been reading.
  • Digital humanists tend to blog. In fact, a number of things we’re reading this semester are blog posts. Blog posts assigned in college English classes? WTF, DH?!
  • I believe college students should develop skills in public, online writing as well as maintaining a public, online identity.

The Nitty Gritty

Blogs only work when fueled by an energetic community. That or Red Bull. You will both write posts and comment on those of your colleagues.

Write Posts

  • Including Spring Break, there are 15 weeks in our semester, and you must write 9 blog posts on your own blog. You may not submit more than one blog post per week for credit, unless explicitly directed.
  • Each post must be 300-400 words long.
  • Each post must refer specifically to the day’s reading, often through direct quotation.Each post must include a featured image. The web is a visual medium; let’s embrace it. Your images must be Creative Commons licensed and you should provide a link to the image at the end of your post.
  • To ensure that everyone has a chance to read the post 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, etc.).

What should you write about? My colleague Mark Sample at Davidson College provides the following suggestions, “There are a number of ways to approach these open-ended posts: consider the reading in relation to its historical or theoretical context; write about an aspect of the day’s reading that you don’t understand, or something that jars you; formulate an insightful question or two about the reading and then attempt to answer your own questions; or respond to another student’s post, building upon it, disagreeing with it, or re-thinking it.”

Read Posts

You are required to read your classmates’ posts. All of them. #worstprofever

Comment on Posts

  • By the end of the semester, you must have posted 20 comments on your peers’ posts. I will only count 2 comments per week toward the total.
  • Comments must be posted before the start of class.

Your 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? Where do you (politely) disagree with their thinking?

Grading

Given the realities of the space-time continuum, I can’t comment on every post. I’ll respond when something catches my attention. While eliciting a comment from me is—in fact—reason for fist bumping your friends, a lack of comments should not be seen as a criticism of your work.

Blog posts will be graded according to the following rubric, adapted by Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0) from, again, Mark Sample.

4 Exceptional. The blog post 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 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 entry 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 entry 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.

Comments will be graded on a pass/fail basis.