Almost every day of class a group of students is tasked with posting to the course blog. There are several reason why I emphasize blogging in my classes:

  1. The blog posts jump-start the day’s conversations.
  2. The posts provide an opportunity for you to share current events and recent phenomena that relate to our class.
  3. The posts give students who are less vocal in class an opportunity to contribute to discussions.
  4. The posts help me to identify misconceptions or confusions about the course material.
  5. Blogging leaves a record of our class dialogue, which can be useful to revisit in the future.
  6. Blogging lets us extend the conversation beyond the 75-minute class period.
  7. Blogging is good practice for writing for a broader audience.


Blog posts count as either Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, or Excellent.

A Satisfactory blog post must meet the following criteria:

  • Posted to the blog by noon of your group’s day
  • Include a descriptive title
  • Categorized appropriately (i.e. Group A, Group B, etc.)
  • Focus on an aspect of the day’s material or broader themes that you find particularly compelling or confusing. This could be something you don’t quite understand or that jars you. Or you could formulate an insightful question or two about the material and then attempt to answer your own questions. Maybe you have a relevant example beyond the course reading to share and analyze, a kind of “sighting” in the wild. You can also respond to another student’s post, building upon it, disagreeing with it, or re-thinking it.
  • At least 250 words in length
  • Written in a clear manner, less formal than a conventional paper but still readable and rooted in evidence-based reasoning
  • Contain no more than 2 grammatical or spelling errors
  • Practice standard procedures for writing online, including hotlinking text (instead of dropping in unlinked URLs in the body of your post), embedding videos properly, etc.

For a post to qualify as Excellent, it must do all the above plus:

  • Make connections, either between between the course material and conversations we’ve had in class, with ideas you’ve encountered in other classes, or historical or contemporary events and culture.
  • Demonstrate intellectual generosity, which is an openness to others’ ideas and a willingness to move our conversation forward. Think about every post or comment as a “turn” in a conversation. Your goal is not to shut down conversation or to have the last word; rather, it is to be a generous listener and to sustain the conversation.

Your final grade for blogging will be determined by what “bundle” your 6 posts fall into:

  • 5 or 6 Excellent posts with the remaining posts being Satisfactory is an A (95%)
  • 4 Excellent posts with remaining posts being Satisfactory is an A- (90%)
  • 3 Excellent posts with the remaining posts being Satisfactory is a B+ (88%)
  • 1 or 2 excellent posts with the remaining posts being Satisfactory is a B (85%)
  • All Satisfactory posts is a B- (80%)
  • More than 2 Unsatisfactory posts with the other posts being Satisfactory is a C (75%)

Every student will have the opportunity to rework one Unsatisfactory post.