Reader Response Blogs -- posted frequently on our website -- are the core of your daily work grade in all courses. 

Reader Response Blogs respond to specific assigned texts or films as noted on your day-by-day syllabus. Blogs over other films, guest speakers, alternate texts, campus events, or in response to class discussion can be used for extra credit. 

Instructor response to blogs will be in the form of points, distributed privately to students during class. Students seeking additional feedback on blogs or daily work are encouraged to set up an appointment with Mr. Smith during office hours. 

Blogs (a required part of your daily grade)

According to Wikipedia, a blog (short for “web blog”) is “a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. . . .‘Blog’ can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.”

An important genre of self-publishing like ‘zines and pamphlets, blogs are a popular form of citizen journalism and impact our understanding of music, culture, and politics. In the classroom, we use Blogs as our primary form of informal writing for homework, extra credit, and hopefully much more. Each student will be required to maintain a blog within the Ning, update it as required or when you are inspired, and share the blog with your peers and professor. 

When reading this semester, I strongly encourage folks to monitor their reactions to each reading assignment by conscientiously annotating texts (underlining/highlighting and/or making marginal comments) as well as by keeping a reading journal. It’s important to keep track of how you respond to a text (with feelings and thoughts), define difficult terms, and learn to understand the appropriate context of a given work. Doing this daily task will adequately prepare students to compose (first in the word processor for saving and security) their required Blogs (of 250-500 words each for 1010 classes and 700-1400 words each for 2330 classes) which will be posted on your personal Ning blog by the dates due. 

The idea of a Reader Response Blog comes directly from the general idea of “Reader Response” theory which suggests that a text has no fixed, correct, or proper meaning except as it exists in your mental and emotional experience of it. This is not to say that other approaches to reading that consider author's intent, race/class/gender/politics, or any other “lens” for looking at texts are not valid; instead, I simply want to encourage you to honor your own reactions to what you read and to give power to the validity of your own interpretations by providing an open-ended venue to express, explore, and explain these reactions. If you are ever “stumped” with what to say, you are encouraged to look at the questions that follow readings (in 1010 or 1020 classes) to hopefully inspire your prose.

Please feel free to use your blogs for other purposes such as journaling, posting pictures, sharing links, and the like. Most off-topic posts will earn citizenship credit!

Academic honesty should be practiced on your blog at all times. Please avoid over-consulting non-academic online sources for blog ideas to avoid accidental or intentional plagiarism. Provide attribution or proper credit for any source that is not your own original prose in your own voice. 

Writers from previous classes have compiled many excellent blogs, with more than 7,000 posts since the Tree House Ning was set up.