It would seem odd to teach a course on writing in a digital age without asking the students in it to do some sort of blogging. After all, what could be a more native form of digital writing than the blog?
Yet it is also a curiously fraught genre—hard to maintain as a writer or to sustain interest in as a reader. Indeed, over the past few years I’ve grown to suspect that the sheer volume of labor involved in running a blog—of finding something to post about and producing a certain amount of text week after week and week—might actually overwhelm the impulse to be curious, reflective, and creative in composing for the web. Students in previous courses have also told me that they found it very difficult to really keep up with more than one or two blogs at any given time. The result is that blogging can start to seem less like a way of connecting with readers and more like a solitary test of writing endurance.
I’ve thus decided to focus our work this semester on a collaborative class blog. Each week I will ask you to compose a brief post (about 400 words or so) in response to texts we are reading or issues we are discussing together. I’ll also ask you to experiment in these posts with various media—to use audio and video as well as writing, and to make thoughtful uses of images and links.
I will expect you to keep up with the posts that the other members of this class compose—and to comment each week on at least three or four that engage your interest. You should of course feel free to reply to comments on your own posts. We will also have a class twitter feed (#685dw); I encourage you to use it to point to links and readings of interest to the class.
Posts are due by 4:00 pm on Tuesdays, comments by 4:00 pm on Thursdays. All writings should be posted to this WordPress site, so we can draw on it in our class meetings on Fridays. We’ll talk more from week to week about the particular aims of each of these posts. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of assignments and due dates.
Good luck! I think that together we can create an interesting and dynamic blog. I look forward to reading and responding to your work.