Saturday, September 6, 2008

Prompt for Blog Postings

I believe that writing in a public space can be very beneficial. I think it's something that can really enhance your learning. As stated on the syllabus and schedule, you will post a response to the class readings by the start of class on the day we discuss that reading. You can post your response days early or in the hour or two before class, just as long as it's up before class begins. I plan to read through as many of the posts as possible to get a feel for what everything thinks so that I can decide how to shape our class discussion.

Each post you make should have some substance to it. It should be at least a couple of hundred words or so. Other than that, there are various directions you can take. This is where you can give your gut level reaction to the texts. What did it make you think and/or feel? You can ask questions about it. Did it confuse you? Does it get you thinking about something bigger? Once we're into the course, you can make connections to other things we've read, pointing out connections (or disconnections). Just respond. Grammar and organization and all that are not a big deal for these posts. It's okay to write quickly from the gut.

A few times each week, you should also post comments to posts by your classmates. Again, go for some substance, something more than "I agree." Ask them questions. If they say something about one part of the book that reminds you of another part, describe it. Basically, extend what they said in some way.

Remember that anything you write is publicly available. It's even possible that the authors of what we are reading could read your responses to their work. That does not mean you should not be critical. Just be professional and detailed. If you didn't like something, explain why. Does the language seem too affected for you? Do you think they don't provide enough details or evidence for their points? Even if you love it, be clear about why.

In the end, what you write is not as important as the fact that you describe your gut-level responses to what we've read. There will be times when I ask you to do something specific in your postings, but most of the time, it's about your thoughts. I'm looking forward to reading them!

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