Reverse detail from Kakelbont MS 1, a fifteenth-century French Psalter. This image is in the public domain. Daniel Paul O'Donnell

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About blogs

Posted: Sep 06, 2012 13:09;
Last Modified: Jan 04, 2015 16:01

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Note: This policy has been superceded and is preserved for archival reasons only. For my current policy, see About blogs.

In many of my courses you will be expected to maintain a blog. Postings will be required from you most weeks. And every so often you may be asked to review and/or comment on your blog postings and those of your class mates.

The following are some general notes on how I use blogs in my classes and what you will be expected to do. These notes are to be read on conjunction with the class syllabus, which may include additional instructions, rules, expectations, or limitations.

Contents

Why am I being asked to blog?

You are being asked to blog because experience shows that blogging is a good way of collecting your thoughts on a topic, keeping track of your intellectual development, discovering things you want to talk and write about, and building a community with your classmates. Blogs are helpful because they uncover trends in the interests and thoughts of the community, provide reference to interesting resources, and maintain a record of problems and solutions encountered throughout the year.

They are also useful because they encourage you to read with a computer nearby. One of the most important advantages of the internet age is the ease with which we can look things up. Blogging can be a way of intellectually profiting from and passing on things you have looked up during your reading.

Finally blogs are important because they are assuming a larger and more important role in scholarly and scientific research dissemination. As the educational and research publishing world changes, blogging is likely to play an even greater role in the future.

What should I blog about?

Unless you are given specific instructions in the course, what you write about in your blog is up to you. Sometimes, you may want to write about something you looked up about a book, author, or project. Other times, you might want to discuss things you didn’t understand or difficult passages you think you can help others with. It might be about emotional responses you had to something we read, a reflection on things discussed in class or in the hallway, a funny anecdote about something to do with the class, or an interesting and relevant web page or video.

Unless you are given more specific instructions for your course, the main requirement is that most of your blog entries should be recognisably connected in some way to something in the current unit of our class’s syllabus. You’re allowed the occasional blog that is not on topic.

Above all, don’t worry too much about topic: if your blogs are consistently off topic or we feel there is some problem with how you are doing it, we will let you know about the problem before we begin penalising you.

How am I being graded?

Unless your course syllabus states otherwise, your blogs are being graded on a pass-fail basis solely on whether you appear to have made a good faith effort to participate. In weeks where you write nothing or write blog entries that do not show what looks like a good faith effort to participate, you will receive a grade of 0%; blog entries that look like you made at least some good faith effort to participate in the discussion and are on time (if a schedule was assigned on the class syllabus), will receive a grade of 100%.

In some classes, blogs must be written by a certain time. In such cases, late blogs are assigned a 50% penalty. Blogs more than a few days late are assigned a grade of 0%, though they may be eligible for consideration as bonus blogs.

Can I get bonus marks or redo a missed blog?

Unless your course syllabus states otherwise, blogs need to be done by the deadline to receive credit (the deadline is usually midnight the day before the class in which they are scheduled). Missed blogs cannot be made up for full marks.

In most courses, I allow students the opportunity to write one or two additional blogs a week for extra credit. Late or missed blogs can be included as part of these bonus marks.

What if I write more blogs than required?

If you right extra blogs in a given week, you will receive 1/2 bonus mark for every extra blog posting, up to a maximum of 1 extra bonus mark per week (i.e. to a maximum of two extra blogs per week). Because these are for bonus marks, the standard by which your effort will be judged is a little higher: your entry must show real evidence of effort to receive a bonus mark.

What about comments?

Unless your are instructed otherwise, you are not required to comment on blogs. If you do, this will be considered as evidence of participation.

Can I use material from my blog in other assignments?

Yes. Your essay and/or other assignments can reuse material from your blog. You can also post essays and other forms of writing as blogs.

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