What I’m looking for in a blog comment

You may by now have read the official description of the blogging component of the class in the syllabus, as well as the grading rubric for written work. But I wanted to say something more specific and less formal for what I’m looking for in blog comments.

Either before or after every class (just about), I’ll post something on whatever we covered in class that day. Maybe it’ll be a follow-up from something discussed in class. Maybe it’ll be a side-issue. Maybe it’ll be a passage from the reading. Maybe it’ll be some current event relevant to the topic. Whatever. I’ll frame the issue in 500-750 words or so, and then end with a question for you. What I’d like you to do is to answer the question as directly and honestly as you can. I’ll usually be looking for a paragraph or so of a response–6 to 8 sentences. You can write at greater length if you like. Sometimes a shorter response may well be appropriate. I’ll give you feedback. I can’t give you a grade right there, because doing so would violate privacy regulations (other people would see your grade). But obviously, you’ll get one indication of your grade at the midterm. I can’t field constant grade inquiries, however. That would consume all of my time.

My suggestion would be to compose your response in a Word file, not in the combox (comment box) itself. That way, you can edit what you write and take a look at it before you copy and paste it into the combox.  And you definitely should take a look at it before you send it. Unfortunately, given the way this site works, you won’t be able to edit your response after you send it, and I don’t know whether the program gives commenters the capacity to do embedded links, although you can always cut and paste links if you’d like to. If it’s absolutely necessary, I can go in and edit your response, if only to avoid embarrassment. I once saw a blog where the author had misspelled the word “public”: he left out a letter. That kind of thing would need emergency editing. Otherwise, I’ll just let things go.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask right there on the site. Questions don’t count for you or against you, grade-wise (unless the assignment requires you to formulate a question). I’ll just try to answer them as they come up.

That’s all I can think of. Have fun with this. Maybe after you’ve done it a bit, you mght want to start a blog of your own; a bunch of my former students have.



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