Hold the Hold

Read and respond to project prospectuses from online introduction to humanities. | Lunch meeting over bad news about royalties and CMS contract bids.| Taxes. Taxes. Taxes. | Mini-pizza; ham and pimentoed green olives. | What are you playing with? What is that sound? | Many of the HU211 students are choosing option I: Invitation to document human actuality fueled by R. Coles. | Options II–Crazy Dance and III–Humanities (e)Notebook have been much more popular in past terms. Odd. | Puzzling over blogging standards. Not because I’m a grammar hound but because I want the writing there to be done with care. | Stampede Blue versus Lakers tonight at 7:00 p.m. with you know who as acting coach. [Extra: L, 20-17. Yes, it is basketball. Defense first!] | Dinner’s ready. Do you want anything to drink? Ice water, please. Ice water.

Blogging to a trickle this week. Deepdeepfloodload of stuff to do. A bobbing head in an ocean of information. You know?


  1. I am interested to know what you do about grading blogs. I use discussion boards heavily and have developed a rubric to work with grading them that seems to work??

    I am thinking about doing blogs in the future with one of my comp classes, but…

  2. I’m really glad this question came up, Sam. It’s one that I’d like to move over to an entry so it’s more visible, since I’m curious how others apply grading practices to weblogs, too. For now, my approach is fairly simple, but it does connect with my other grading practices. In general, I grade the blog like I have graded journals and exploratory writings in the past. They’re either done or they’re not. If the student satisfies the entry requirements, I’m glad to award full credit for that work. I prefer this approach because, although blog writing is asynchronous, it is less formal than the essays that make up the more substantial element in the course. It’s also important, in my thinking, to treat the blog like a semi-formal space because I’m not inviting or encouraging students to revise the writing they do there. The writing from the weblog might inform an essay–even turn into a more polished essay, but I prefer to define it as writing set apart (just a bit) from the work we do when writing essays.

    I’m using a group blog for a class I’m teaching now. Entries are required, and interaction is built into the requirement. So, I’m trying to use the weblog to stimulate textual dialogue, to fashion a rich, critical space where reader-writer dynamics play out amongst those in the class and, well, anyone else who is interested. We’ve been writing in the class blog for nearly two weeks, and the immediate visibility of their writing adds a sense of gravity and responsibility to their written work there. Later in the term (if not before the final portfolio, which is the weightiest assessment piece in the course), students will return to earlier writing in the weblog to reflect on what they might have done differently, to engage in self-assessment about the features of compelling entries, to rethink entries which evidence struggle, and so on. Since this is my first go-around with a weblog in a writing course, much of this is untested. I can only make guesses about how well it will work.

    I should also note that I think weblogs work best when we introduce a kind of triangularity between reading for the course, the weblog writer and readers’ responses. In other words, I like that weblogs (and other threaded discussions) can add a layer to the double-entry journal model, where students choose a brief excerpt, say three or four sentences, from an assigned bit of reading, then write a critical or inquisitive response–something that interrogates meaning, analyzes the text, suggests connections and so on. It’s not a new model, but the dialogic nature of asynchronous exchanges in writing (via a weblog or threaded discussion forum) add a new complexity to the double-entry journal because readers can respond, to which writers can respond (hereafter everyone is situated mutually as a reader and a writer–the way it should be, I think).

    Now that I’ve gone and said a mouthful, I’m not sure I really answered your question very well. I’m guessing that some of these dynamics (grading practices, the appeal of weblogs in education) have been spelled out in more refined ways than I’ve started to do here, but I haven’t read much about how others are using weblogs to teach composition. Probably should. *Note to self* There, it’s added to my list of things to do.

    Oh, and I think I’ll take some of this up in another entry since I haven’t said anything about why we work through blogging standards in class if the space is graded loosely. I’d like to hear more about the rubric you use with discussion boards. Are you pleased with how it works? -DM

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