As you set up your own Word Press shop we would like you to have a look at one earlier instance of a comparable digital project: Century America. This project site provides a link to the Century America course site where you will find student blogs.
A few selected student blogs from the Century America site offer examples of blogs that have been customized by the user:
While you are browsing these sites, you might want to read a few of the blog posts by the students. Think about the voice of these reflections on intellectual work, the rhetorical challenge of writing engaging and professional prose–and remember here that your writing will be syndicated on our primary NAPLA course blog. Consider the post “Creating Meaning in a Sea of Information” by a student at UNC-Asheville in Western North Carolina in her sophomore-junior-ish year, Ashley McGhee, or a post by Britta, in Morris, Minnesota, “Weather Setbacks and Research Advances” and “Research Musings and Updates.” Note well that in the second two examples the author has created categories and tags to organize the posts on the blog. (Britta has also included an awesome tag cloud widget at the bottom that helps to organize the content on the blog.) We will talk more about the advantages of using these WP features when posting on your blog.
If you would like to look ahead, take a glimpse at the awesome Century America Student Project Sites
Why a Blog? E-mail, web pages, wikis, blogs, Facebook, social networks, twitter—much of the writing we now do takes place in a digital format. And while all of us are still working out the conceptual implications of these new technologies, the advent of digital writing has created pedagogical opportunities to think about (and with) the digital tools that we use to represent and understand ourselves, and the world.
Blogging offers significant opportunities for student writers:
- Designing and managing a blog offers experience using one of the digital technologies used by readers and writers. Digital writing requires all of the knowledge and skill writers use in other formats in addition to the new ways digital writing blends modes of representation (visual and verbal) and creates opportunities for fresh conceptual and material connections;
- A blog allows teachers to shift the motivation for writing from the assignment to the writer. In fact we might argue that one of the obstacles to becoming a more effective writer in school is the writing assignment itself: for more often than not, writing assignments motivate writing for a purpose other than one’s own. Your blog posts will therefore be more focused on questions and problems and less on assignments, on thoughtful (and creative) exploration of ideas as opposed to more mechanistic forms of response to proscribed questions, pre-assigned topics, or readings
- The relatively short form of the blog entry encourages concise and purposive writing. Managing to say exactly what you need to say in fewer words will challenge you as a writer
- The likelihood that the blog will actually be read will help you become more rhetorically aware—of the conceptual, linguistic, social, emotional and ethical concerns a writer must address to be effective with any audience
- Writing in a digital format (a web log, or blog) enacts (and represents) the complex process of thinking and writing that takes place in a college-level course; and we will use your writing experiences, and the archive of writing that we create, to reflect on your learning process, and the role of writing in that process