Blogging/Online Notebook Assignment

In one sense, blogging is “old school,” largely replaced by platforms like Twitter and Facebook. For quick updates and conversation, I think those tools are probably more useful than blogs. But in another sense, blogging is still current. Most mainstream media outlets use something that looks a lot like blogging as a basic publishing platform, and Twitter and Facebook don’t facilitate reflective writing that well. And frankly, blogging has helped me a lot as a writer and a scholar, which is why I still think it’s a good idea for you to blog, too.

So this semester, you’ll be keeping a blog that is sort of an online notebook about the class to reflect on readings and activities, to make connections to other research, and to give you a space to think about the final short writing assignment for the term.

Here’s how it will work:

  • We will be using wordpress.com to set up your blog– it’s free and easy, and I’ll show you how to do it the first day of class. If you already have a blog and you are already doing something like this on your own, let me know. You might want to set up a blog specifically for this class anyway, or you might want to set up a particular category of posts on your existing site.
  • How you customize and set up your blog is up to you, but for our purposes here, I’d encourage you to keep it relatively simple.
  • Basically, the assignment is to write regular/at least once a week posts (until April 7) that reflect on the readings for class, the discussions, and/or things related to the class. You should also read and comment on each others’ blogs on a regular basis. That’s intentionally open-ended; but just to lend a little clarity, here’s what I think you should do to get an “A” on this assignment:
    • Post to your blog about the readings, discussions, or things related to the class at least 12 times regularly throughout the semester. That’s roughly about once  week, though I don’t have specific due dates in mind here. Of course, trying to write a bunch of posts all at once is not in the spirit of the assignment. These posts should be at least 200 words long.
    • Read and comment on your classmates’ blogs at least 6 times.
    • Keep in mind an audience of readers beyond the class. I’ve given assignments like this in the past and there have been incidents where the folks who wrote the articles we’re blogging about have chimed in on the comments. So while you can disagree with the authors of our readings, you should do so in a respectful manner.
    • Write well.
  • You might be wondering “What’s the difference between this assignment and posting about the readings on canvas.emich.edu?” The reading posts are supposed to be brief responses to each of the reading assignments, and those posts are about asking questions and indicating that you completed the reading. Your blog posts are supposed to be more reflective, about making connections between readings and our discussions, and probably longer.