How We Blog

A blog, short for weblog, is any website that consists of individual posts, usually organized in reverse chronological order so that the most recent appears first. Since their emergence in the late 1990s, blogs have taken many different forms. Some are informal, diary-like websites for single authors. Others take on a specific topic, such as the Yankees management, Thai cooking, or old music recordings. Still others have developed into full commercial web publications, such as Gizmodo and Boing Boing, or into adjuncts to full commercial publications, like the many New York Times blogs. For this course, we’ll be creating a classroom blog not so different from this one from Ryan Cordell’s Technologies of Text course at Northeastern University.

Over the course of the summer session you write three blog posts—one for each of the course units. Each post is worth 8% of your final grade and should be 200 to 300 words. Each grade will depend on three criteria.

  • First, you need to respond to the reading and viewing materials for that unit. Stay on topic and you’ll do fine.
  • Second, you should reflect on the materials and offer some unique insight into the topics under discussion. That means you need to do more than summarize the course materials—you need to engage with them.
  • And third, you should pay attention to mechanics. That means you should proof read your post before making it public, of course, but it also means that you should take advantage of the online platform. Include hyperlinks, images, or video where appropriate.

Check out these eight tips for good blog writing if you want further guidance. There’s lots of advice about blogging out there; much of it directed at marketers. Those eight tips are fairly general and offer solid advice for writing in most genres.

I will invite each of you to be an Author at our class blog. Authors have a lot of power within the WordPress user roles. They can write, publish, and edit posts without administrator approval. As Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” If you abuse your power, I will remove you from the blog and you will not be able to complete the blogging requirement for the course. Check out the video tutorial below for further guidance. And if you want to think in-depth about hyperlinks, check out Usability Geek’s post on the topic.