Guidelines

What is a weblog?

A weblog, or blog for short, is an online journal. For the purpose of this course, you will use this blog to express and record your thoughts on readings from the class. You may share insights and opinions, talk about what interested you the most, connect the reading to something else you have read/heard/seen/experienced (i.e. film), analyze a scene/theme/image, write alternative dialogues for the characters, respond by writing from a character’s point of view, ask questions, and so on.

Do I need to know how to make web pages?

You do not need to know how to make web pages. This blog is hosted on WordPress.com, which is a blogging site that does all the work for you. You simply need to type your post/comments and click on the “post” button. I do recommend that you type your posts on Microsoft Word so as to review your spelling/grammar.

Does it cost anything?

No. Most blogging sites are free to use, including WordPress.com. You simply have to register for a new account and then join this class’s blog. I will send you an invitation via e-mail.

What should I write?

You can write on any of the topics below or you can come up with your own topic ideas:

  1. Select a short passage from the reading that provoked a reaction from you. Did it make you happy, angry, upset, sad, etc? Or did the passage confuse you? Did you find the passage to be meaningful to you in any way? In your post, you should discuss the passage (first by summarizing it), the meaning, and your reaction.
  2. Were there any key terms that were particularly significant to understanding the text? Choose three terms and then analyze what they mean in the context of the reading and what their significance is.
  3. For longer texts, you can talk about some aspects of the story or novel we are reading. Is there a theme you have noticed that we have not discussed in class? Are there connecting ideas or interesting passages you related to? What did you think of the story/novel?
  4. Does the text have a theme or symbol you connected to? What were they? Why did you connect to this theme/symbol? Alternatively, you can talk about a quote that you found to be particularly meaningful.
  5. Are there any characters that say one thing and do another? Talk about their motives and discuss what the character may really want.
  6. Pretend you are one of the characters in the story and write about the actions you’ve observed or participated in. Make sure to be “in character”; that is, write as the character in the text would behave/talk.
  7. If you could change something in the text that we’re reading, what would you change and why?
  8. Did you find the ending of a story to be ill-fitting? Write a different ending and explain why your ending is better.
  9. Write the text in the style of another text we’ve read in class. For example, you can write the poem “Heritage” by Linda Hogan in the style of the essay “What is a family?” by Helen Bottel. Or, you can write “Our Perfect Summer” by David Sedaris in the style of “Once in a Lifetime” by Jhumpa Lahiri.
  10. Can you connect something we’re reading to a current issue or event? Can you connect it to something happening in your country’s cultural/social/political scene today?

Requirements

  1. Write 7 entries of approximately 400 words each. You must write one entry per week, for a total of 7 entries. You cannot submit multiple entries at the same time (i.e. several entries posted together before the end of term will not be accepted). You do not have to write an entry during exam weeks or holiday weeks.
  2. You must post your entry by Thursday at 10 p.m. You are welcome to post before Thursday. One whole letter grade will be deducted from late posts. No late posts will be accepted after Sunday 10 p.m. You can miss posts, but points will be deducted from your final grade.
  3. You must comment on/respond to at least one of your classmates’ posts each week. You may respond to any post you wish to, writing a short or lengthy response. These comments will be graded for thoughtfulness and I will look to see how engaged you are in what your peer has written. Comments such as, “Great post!” will receive no credit. Comments are due by the following week Thursday 9 p.m.

What will I be graded on?

You will be graded on:

  1. Thoughtfulness of your response: did you think about the text carefully? Engage the text in a meaningful way? Connect to the readings or appropriately answered the above blogging options?
  2. Good writing: have you made few to no grammatical errors? Are your sentences well-constructed and appropriately varied?
  3. Posting on time.

Grading Scale

4 – Exceptional. The blog post actively engages the text and reflects on it in meaningful ways. It asks questions, integrates and analyzes examples, and clearly states opinion where needed. The entry has depth and is thoughtfully written. It also uses correct grammar and spelling.

3 – Satisfactory. The blog post considers examples from the text using direct explanation or analysis from the text. It does not draw on other sources of evidence or make connections between ideas. Some insights into the text is offered, but not fully developed. The post also has some errors in spelling and grammar.

2 – Underdeveloped. The blog post does not analyze or offer any new ideas; it mostly summarizes or describes the text. Very few connections are made between ideas and overall, remains unengaged with the text. Grammar and spelling is poor.

1 – Limited. The blog post is repetitive and repeats ideas or comments from class. It brings very few new ideas to the discussion. Grammar and spelling is very poor.

0 – No credit. Student did not post or only posted briefly (one to two sentences).

Questions

If you have any questions, please e-mail me or come see me during office hours. You can also comment below.

The above has been adapted from English 481 and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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