I left yesterday’s class feeling saddened by the fact that so many of you had no idea what a blog really is or why it’s important. I accept responsibility as the instructor for assuming that everyone had either blogged in the past or at least read one. As the student, I ask you to take responsibility for allowing two weeks of class to go by without asking questions about something that is a large part of your participation grade in this course.
We will talk about this in person on Thursday, but I wanted to take the time to write out why exactly I chose blogs as a writing medium in this course. While vetoing assignments is not an option, I do feel it’s important for you to understand why when it comes to assignments in this course.
That being said, here are a few of my reasons and links to a couple blog posts that may interest you.
1. Regular writing practice–in the past I have fulfilled this category by having students complete in-class writing assignments. Often these assignments felt a bit like busy work not only to students, but also when it came time for grading. Students were required to respond to prompts in 10-15 minutes at the start or end of class. While it forced students to write, it didn’t provide them with a new skill to take from the course that you haven’t already learned via test taking in high school. Blogging allows you to practice writing in a format that is a bit more relaxed than the academic essays you will turn in periodically. It also provides you with the ability to write in a different format, which is important in our ever changing world.
2. Connection to the outside world–I’m sure it’s hard to consider this at the moment, but you will find that depending on what you’re writing about you open the door for people from all over the world to read your words. This possibility takes writing from being just for our class and make it a way to engage with others who share your ideas/beliefs and those who don’t.
3. Developing a Voice– By the end of this course, I would like each of you to feel like you have developed your own writing voice. A voice that is able to adapt and change to its surroundings, but is still authentically yours. Blogging allows you to move away from the pretense of academic writing and be yourself. There may even be times when you see me comment that you should use more of this voice in your essays for class because it’s yours.
4. Expanding Your View of Social Media– We live in a digital age that oftentimes leads to instant gratification. We can check on our family/friends via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc and find out what they’re doing that day/week/month in a quick manner. Oftentimes status messages and pictures captions are short and brief. Well blogging provides you the opportunity to participate in social media, but in a more conscious manner. You will put more thought into what you’re writing for a blog post and how it sounds because it will reach more than your family/friends.
5. Visual Growth– At the end of the term, you will be able to go back and look at those first few posts and see how you’ve grown not only as a person, but as a writer. If you choose to keep blogging after the course ends, you will have an archive of your college years. I blogged during the last three years of my undergraduate career and at the start of my graduate career. When I look back at some of those posts, I’m able to see the growth I’ve made, plus it’s great to just go back and laugh at some of the things I wrote.
I’m sure that you’re still reluctant to put your personal feelings out there, but I hope you trust me when it comes to my vision for this course and allow me to guide you as you start your writing careers.
Here are a couple resources on Blogging: