Blog follow up: making the most of the medium

I put my evaluation of your blog posts in Blackboard. Frequently I will comment, as the spirit moves me; though these will be readers comments (not grades). I try to read your blogs as a real-live reader, as much as I can.

Below are some suggestions for ways you might develop some of your blog writing. These are suggestions, in part, for how to make use of the medium of the blog–the fact that blogging focuses on things such as responding to quotations and to links. For any questions on your blog, stop in to see me. I saw lots of good examples of posts that responded well to the reading and focused in on the text and its craft in ways that lead to good discussion and writing.  You can, of course, browse what some of your peers are blogging–not only to get some insights into the reading but also some variations on how to approach the blog.

Here are some ways you might make the most of the medium:

  • Provide a  focus for your response–both in terms of summary (what the reading says) and analysis (what you say, your critical thinking in response to the reading). Some simple ways to develop focus:
    • title: at the end, or while writing the blog (I suggest you save or publish the blog before finishing, and then update it once or twice while writing), use this to ask yourself: what am I getting at.
      • at the very least, don’t title it “blog #1”; start experimenting with some creative thinking–will need a good title for your essays.
    • summary (what you hear the reading say): think 2-4 sentences, an initial paragraph that summarizes in a way that will allow you to later dig in to a key point and elaborate further.
    • elaboration (what you notice; what you want to say about the reading): dig in by providing a  quotation; use the quotation tool (in toolbar) to highlight this. This needs to go beyond summary, and be much longer than the initial summary section (2-3 paragraphs)
    • basic paragraphing: though the posting need not be fully edited or as formally organized as an essay, consider some basic paragraph breaks to move from summary to analysis, to distinguish different main points; this will also allow you to do some practice with transitions, with the sort of rhetorical movement of ideas and an emerging argument that is important in essay writing (your formal writing projects)
    • tags: after finishing the draft, the tag function invites some reflection on what the focus has been, what some key ideas and keywords are; tags can also be effective later when working on an essay and looking for material–to remember or be surprised by some associations (two different posts that turn out to be related by a tag); tags can sometimes lead to interesting associations to other blogs. Some of the WordPress formats will actually suggest automatically other blogs out there that might relate to your post.
  • Advance your focus by making a link
    • the basic links we will use (and mainly use in writing) are quotations and citations.
    • consider digital quotation: a link to a site that offers definition or explanation or example for your focus.
      • use the link function in the toolbar
    • consider linking/inserting an image or other media, if relevant and effective for your focus
  • Look ahead: to discussion in class, to the next section of the reading, to your next posting.
    • one way to conclude effectively (wrap up, but not entirely–since a blog by definition is not a finished product, should have more to say): ask a question.

Student Blogs: Spring 10

I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a  distant land. [henry david thoreau]

Find links to the various blogs created and maintained by students.

To add your blog to this list, copy your name and blog address into the comment box (click leave a comment).