Weekly Blog Posts and Responses

Overview

The aim of the weekly rotation of blog posts and responses is to give each student a chance to do some low-stakes writing on the course material and to engage with the thinking of their peers. Beginning the week of September 11th, we will begin a three-week rotation, in which one group of students will each write a 500-word blog entry on the week’s reading, and one group will each post a 200-word response to one of their peer’s entries in the blog comments section. The members of the third group will have that week “off,” though I encourage you all to review your peers’ writing even on weeks you’re not on deck. The groups are divided up alphabetically; find which group you belong to here.

Over the course of the semester, we will have time to do three full rotations. There will be no blog entries or responses written on Weeks Seven (“To the Archives!”), Nine (one-on-one meetings), and Twelve (workshop week). The blog entries will be due by 5pm on the Sunday before class; the responses are due by 5pm on Tuesday. On weeks in which we do not meet on Mondays, the schedule will be pushed forward to 5pm on Tuesday for the entries and 5pm on Thursday for the responses.

Click here for detailed instructions on getting started on the class blog.

Composing Your Blog Entries and Responses

In writing your blog entries, I would like you to be as focussed as possible in your response to the text. Rather than a holistic or general response, please zero in on a particular passage, theme, question, or feature of the text on which to base your discussion. Not only will this lead to a more diverse range of responses to the text, these more precise entries will be useful for guiding our in-class conversations on the text.

In composing your blog entry, please make sure you complete each of the following steps:

  1. Compose your entry based on a particular passage, theme, question, or feature of the text. Your entry should engage closely with your chosen topic, though it need not resolve the questions it raises into neat conclusions or arguments. These posts are intended to be prompts for further discussion and investigation.
  2. Give your post an original title that describes the content of the post. “Aaron’s Response to ‘Howl,’” for example, is not a a descriptive, original title. A title like “Pace and Rhythm in On the Road” will give your reader a better sense of what to expect.
  3. Categorize your post as belonging to the week’s round of posts. For example, if you are posting your entry for Week Four, select “Week Four: On the Road with Jack Kerouac, Part II” from the category list to the right of the blog composition panel.

For your responses to your peers’ work, read through each of the week’s posts before deciding which entry you’d like to respond to. Ideally, your comment should engage directly with the post to which it responds while, if possible, bringing other posts from this or previous weeks into the discussion. The comments are a way to continue class discussion in another forum, one in which you have more time and space to think about your peers’ ideas and respond more fully.

Grading

Rather than grading each entry and response individually, I will do so on a more holistic basis, with an emphasis on regular completion of the assignment. Please make every effort to keep up with the assignment; late or missing posts will only be graded under special circumstances such as illness. The assignment is worth 10% of your overall grade.