Co-Construction of our Class Blog:
During the semester, we’ll co-collaborate on our class reading blog located here. Over the course of the semester, students are expected to make at least twenty posts (they may make more). Each (graded) post should aim for between 100 – 200 words. These blog posts can be informal and quirky, and though a few typos here and there is okay, students should draft blog posts in MSWord (or another word processing program) before posting them to prevent mechanical, spelling & grammar errors. These blog posts are somewhat like a public, collaborative reading notebook and I anticipate and hope that our blogging together will be fun.
Of the twenty posts students are required to make, at least fifteen must be posted before the class period in which we discuss a particular work. It is good habit (and will work to guarantee an A) to blog before each class period. Five (or more) of the graded blog posts may be reflective, that is, they are made within 24 hours of a class period and directly respond to or extend our class conversation.
Of the blog grade, 10/25 points are made up by simply making twenty gradable blog posts. 10/25 points reflect the quality and enthusiasm with which students blog. To understand what I hope for (and expect) from sstudents in their blogging, read the following: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/a-rubric-for-evaluating-student-blogs/27196 . I follow a loosely-modified version of this rubric, evaluating their blog posting overall just before midterms and again before finals (they are free to ask me for feedback on blog posts via email at any time). 5/25 points come from students’ follow-up comments in the blog. They are expected to make at least five substantial follow-up comments to blog posts, which is to say, the comment should further extend or complicate the subject of the blog post and be over 30 words or so. Of course, students are encouraged to make as many comments as they like, including short comments, funny comments, and appreciative smiley-faces.
A blog is a public document and students must be aware that I may share access to our public blog with colleagues and friends. In fact, I suggest they do the same! If you are friends or family of a student from this class, welcome!
Leading Class Discussion:
Students must pick one class period during our semester and taking responsibility for “leading” the class discussion by providing three things:
- The context for the reading: synthesize the cultural and historical milieu for the text or author, and offer some ideas as to why the text/author is important, that is, what other cultural or historical milieus are related?
- A bibliography of resources for the text: develop an annotated bibliography for at least five scholarly, secondary sources that concern a particular broad issue having to do with the text or author, and…
- Three discussion questions that we’ll use for in-class conversation.
On class the day students lead discussions, they hand in a document that contains a short outline/paragraph/road-map for discussion. They should think of this document as a “class handout” giving some info on the author/text/time-period. After my feedback, they may revise this handout and will upload it to this blog, as a resource.
At semester’s end, students submit a project, usually in the form of an academic seminar research paper, which offers a critical analysis of some small part of our course.
Also toward the end of the semester, students complete a creative or interpretive multimodal project, the design and construction of which will be up to them. They may work collaboratively on this project, but don’t have to. They must incorporate multimedia, that is, they must work with video, audio or image+text, and I invite them to think outside the box. For instance, late in the semester, we’ll turn our attention to two twentieth century works by British women that each offer a “retelling” of some sort. Students might consider their own “retelling” of a text by a British woman, perhaps one we have read, or perhaps an old classic. Projects should be under ten minutes in length, and students link them here in the blog, write an accompanying reflective post, and present them to their peers in class.