Blog Assignment: ENGL 3140

Marks: 20            http://engl3140writer.trubox.ca

Objectives: to give students the opportunity to (a) be engaged in responding to literature with other students throughout the term in forms other than the essay (b) develop writing/blogging skills (a hybrid of visual, aural, and verbal expression) (c) develop thinking skills (d) enrich the conversation both inside and outside the classroom

Description
The blog is an online conversation among students that provides more detail and depth about issues connected to the course than is possible in the classroom. It is a format that can encourage thinking and improve essay writing. Blog posts can also be brought back into the conversation in the classroom. The most effective use of the blog occurs when posts are interconnected and part of an unfolding thread of dialogue, both in terms of a substantial post (300 words and embedded media) and substantial comments that respond to other posts. For this reason, blogs and comments that are lumped together at the end of the course will not be considered for credit since this denies the most basic purpose/objective of the assignment (see Objectives (a) above). Engage yourself!

Since the focus is on the blog as a site of exploration and conversation, I will not be assigning marks based on accuracy (except in a limited way as I note clarity of expression) but on your constructive use of the medium (where “constructive” means responding with genuine intellectual curiosity in your substantial post and with sensitivity to others in your comments).

Please note that copyright issues regarding material that you might want to embed in a post and the basic skills of authoring, embedding, creating links, etc. will be addressed in class. Issues of confidentiality/privacy will be addressed by (1) informing students of the issues (2) using pseudonyms if requested (only Brian Lamb, the blog administrator, and I will know your identity) (3) avoiding the disclosure of personal information. I will monitor the blog only to ensure that the exchange of ideas is respectful and to evaluate performance at the end of the course.

Participating in the class means that you agree not to share the blog password with anyone.

Evaluation
For a mark of 17-20
•    Minimum of 3 blog posts (300 word minimum each).
•    Each post is exploratory in thought and form (includes photos, gifs, video, links/connections to other ideas, attention to visual impression of the posts, etc.)
•    Sources of information, including photographs, videos, and music are accurately cited
•    Excellent writing, on topic; demonstrates intellectual energy in making links with other images and ideas
•    At least 5 constructive, substantial comments on others

For a mark of 14-16
•    2 posts (300 word minimum each)
•    Some exploration in thought and form; sources are cited as above
•    Well written, on topic
•    3 constructive, substantial comments on others

For a mark of 10-13
•    1 blog post (300 words)
•    Little exploration in thought or form; sources are cited as above
•    Satisfactory writing, often on topic
•    2 constructive, substantial comments on others

For a mark of 0–9
•    One short blog (less than 100-200 words); text only; unsatisfactory writing; off topic; possibly disrespectful of others; possibly plagiarized; no comments on others

If a student creates a thread (or more than one) and continues it with genuine intellectual curiosity (stating a view, revising views in response to others, asking questions, making distinctions and comparisons/connections, asking for clarification, etc.) in the spirit of discovery and the pursuit of knowledge, it is possible to waive one of the blog post requirements. This, after all is how the blog is most useful in learning.