Blogging

A blog can be many things — a diary, a reflection journal, a review platform, a storytelling engine, etc. For this class, the group blog is an opportunity for all of us to contribute to a broad and hopefully interesting conversation. The point is this: electronic literature is a large field (or term), and no one of us knows or can know as much about it as all of us combined. In your blog writing, your goal is simply to contribute something new, interest, and relevant to the class’s discourse field. Your tone can be casual, but your content should be compelling. In the sections below, I’ve provided some notes about how to do blogging well, as far as credit for this class is concerned.

Keep in mind, I’ll evaluate your blog writing at 6 points throughout the semester, and for each checkpoint, you’ll need to submit a URL in Canvas in order for me to grade it. Each checkpoint assignment also includes the blog grading rubric which should also help guide you toward success.

What to blog about

Blog about electronic literature or anything related in some way to the class conversation. Here are just a few suggestions, though please understand that this is not a comprehensive list. Really, anything that adds to the conversation in a reasonable way is going to be appropriate for blog writing.

  • Find and read a work in one of the directories in the “links” sidebar. Write a blog entry describing and reflecting on it. Tell the rest of us why we should read it. Include images or other media if it helps clarify your argument. (Note: Use our blog’s search feature to find out if anyone else has already written about a text. If so, make sure your blog entry is a fundamentally new and different contribution, and make sure to link back to or acknowledge the original. Or just choose another text.)
  • Find a work of electronic literature (even one that’s already been written), and record a video of yourself interacting with it and commenting on it.
  • As we read secondary or theoretical work, analyze exemplary texts by writing about how a particular reading changed your understanding of an electronic work.

What not to blog about

The category of things not to blog about for this class tends to be a lot smaller than most students think (which is just another way of saying that I’m not interested in policing relevance when I grade these — if you think it adds something, it probably does). But just to foreclose a few trends that may tend to produce weaker or less productive blogging, let’s agree to avoid a few themes that have become somewhat cliche. Of course, it’s not that these discussions are without value, I just have found that it’s very difficult to say something original and relevant about them.

  • Technology’s influence on society. Too vague.
  • E-readers are not as good as “real” books. Unless you want to write about work designed specifically for a tablet device, you’re probably better off avoiding e-reader’s altogether.
  • Your feelings. When you write about how a work made you feel or how much you liked or didn’t like a reading, you’re writing about yourself, not the work. Self-reflection has value, of course, but here I’m much more interested in hearing your insights about the works in question.

Evaluation

I’ll grade these blog entries with a rubric that looks at four aspects of your writing. Each is worth a maximum of 5 points:

  • Engagement. How well does the blog express an investment into the intellectual community of this class? How deeply does it delve into the questions or topics at hand? Is it long enough to demonstrate some seriousness of thought and intellectual commitment?
  • Novelty. Is this blog entry genuinely a new contribution to the conversation, or is rehashing something that’s come up over and over again?
  • Clarity. Whatever it’s topic or content, is the blog entry written well enough (again, a casual tone is fine) that its reader can easily understand and respond to it? Is it relatively free of grammatical errors?
  • Details. Does the blog entry include at least one link and is it well-formatted for the web? If images are included, are they properly documented?

Again, remember that you must submit your blog entry into Canvas for me to grade it. For your convenience, here are some links to the checkpoints:

Checkpoint 1 (Jan 26), Checkpoint 2 (Feb 9),  Checkpoint 3 (Feb 23), Checkpoint 4 (Mar 15), Checkpoint 5 (Mar 29), Checkpoint 6 (Apr 19)

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