You’ll be using OpenLab throughout this semester for our course, and blogging/commenting will be a big part of our coursework (and your grade!). If you want to learn more about how to use OpenLab, &/or have questions about the platform/posting, join the OpenLab team for a workshop (or two!) this Spring. See the Poster below for more details!
So good to meet you all today, and to get to know a bit about you and your ideas about science fiction. I’m going to take photos of your group (large!) post-it creations and post them to this site for next week 🙂
I know we went through a lot of material quickly at the end of class, so just a few reminders about what needs to happen before our next class on Thursday (2/5). You should check your homework (as always), on our dynamic course schedule.
1. Get an OpenLab account and join our course site. Follow these instructions here. You should do this ASAP (like today, so in case you run into any problems with your e-mail, you can go to the Help Desk–but definitely no later than tomorrow, F 1/30).
2. Review the Syllabus & OpenLab Composing rubric & guidelines/expectations, (both of which were also handed out in class), and browse through the rest of our OpenLab Course site.
3. Make your Introduction post (due by Su 2/1). You can find more info. about what I’m looking for here, and see the post I already made for myself. Here’s info. about posting/categorizing/commenting, and here is info. about adding links, images, and video to your posts.
4. Read about defining Science Fiction (links provided on the Schedule).
5. Read “The Machine Stops” (a short story by E.M. Forster) & watch Metropolis (the restored version), linked from our Schedule, & blog in response (follow the OpenLab Composing Guidelines for this first post). Make sure to categorize it appropriately (“The Machine Stops” & ‘Metropolis’)
*All response posts are due no later than the Tuesday night before (Thursday’s) class, so this first response post is due no later than coming Tu 2/3. Make sure to go back and read through the posts before class, and to comment on them (and reply to other classmates’ comment) to get some discussion going. You can use these comments to ask questions, debate ideas, reference other texts, build on someone else’s point, etc.
**Use the “Framework for Analyzing Science Fiction Texts” (handed out in class, and listed in Science Fiction Resources), the “Annotating a Text” (in Writing Resources), and “Elements of Fiction” reading (linked from the Schedule) to help you move beyond summary to thinking critically about these texts.
Whew! That’s it for now. I know it seems like a lot to do/learn, but once you get on OpenLab and get the hang of posting, it’s actually simple and fun. Please don’t hesitate to come see me in my office, Namm 520, today (I’ll be around for my office hours, Th 5-pm), e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or “comment” (click “reply” to this post) if you have any questions. And, most importantly, happy first day of the semester, and enjoy the weekend ahead 🙂
“Introduction” Posts (HW for Su 2/1)
In order to start exploring the site, getting comfortable with posting/adding media (blogging), practicing reflective writing, and getting to know one another, please make sure to create an initial post that introduces yourself to the class.
*This Introductory Post is due no later than Su 2/1 @11:59pm, but I encourage you make this initial post as soon as possible to become comfortable with OpenLab and to give others a chance to learn a bit about you).
Content of Posts
Tell us a bit about yourself … what are your interests, hobbies, desires? Current job? Career goals? What did you do over winter break (and what do you plan to do over the upcoming summer break)? Share some photos of you (you can either pull a photo from the web if you have one up there, upload one from your computer, or … you can even take one with photoshop right now!) and your family, friends, neighborhood, etc. Practice adding a link and maybe even a video to your post too.
At the end of your post, please address (in at least a paragraph) the following questions (not necessarily in this order):
- What your strengths/weaknesses as a writer/reader/thinker?
- What do you enjoy/dislike most about writing/reading/(critical) thinking?
- What is your background with using OpenLab & technology more generally (it’s OK if you don’t have any!)?
- What is your sense of science fiction (what is it? who writes it? why reads it? what’s its purpose? etc.)? Don’t do any research for this … just state what you think it is, prior to entering the course (think back to the freewriting and group discussions we had in class today, our assumptions, preconceptions, stereotypes, etc.)?
- What do we think about when we think about “science fiction”?
- What do we think of when we hear the word “science”?
- What do we think of when we hear the world “fiction”?
- Who writes (produces) science fiction?
- Who reads (consumes) science fiction?
- Why is every student signed up for this course a man?
- Why is a woman professor teaching it?
- Why are you taking this course?
- Is science fiction “literature”?
- What are your favorite Science Fiction texts (stories, films, movies, etc.) or authors if you have them (and what is your exposure to Science Fiction)?
- What are your expectations for this course/semester (what you think you will learn and what you hope you will learn)? Any questions?
Categorizing/Commenting on Posts
Don’t forget to categorize your post as “Introductions” (and uncheck “Uncategorized” if it is checked already by default). If you forget to do so before you “publish” you post, you can go back and edit/update it after the fact.
I made an Introductory post about myself (if I’m asking you to share some of your personality/background with the class, it’s only fair that I do the same!), so you can get to know me a bit better as well and also so you get a sense of what this type of post might look like/include. Browse through everyone’s posts (if you choose the “Introductions” category for the right side of the homepage, you will be taken to all of these posts) and drop comments to get some conversation going and start building our class community for the semester!
Adding links to your posts is really simple, and it’s also a wonderful way to share other resources with our community and to engage in dialogue with other authors/sources. To add a link into your post:
- copy the URL of the webpage you want to link to
- highlight the text in your post that you want to become hyperlinked
- click the “insert/edit link” button (looks like a paperclip above the post screen)
- paste the URL into the “URL” space
- type in the name of the link into the “Title” space (“title”)
- click “Add Link”
And you’re done. It’s that simple! And you can always edit or remove the link later on, if you need to do so.
Here’s a quick tutorial about how to do add images:
1. When you decide you want to add an image to a post, click either on the button with the camera/music notes and the words “Add Media” that is on the top left of the editing box (you can also. Remember that your image will show up within the post wherever your cursor is when you click “Add Image.” So if you want to insert the image in the middle of your post, make sure to put it there.
2. If you are choosing a file from your computer, you can then browse for it (the same you would if you were uploading an attachment to an e-mail) by clicking “Upload Files” (if you add to the Media Library first, you can also select your image from there).
3. Once you find the image you want, click “Select.”
4. You can then edit the image (e.g., to rotate it) … make sure to click “save” after editing it.
5. You should re-title the image to make it easier to manage/find later on (ex: Jill Belli, Introduction Photo). If you wish, you can also add a “description” and “caption.”
5. At the bottom of the screen you can change the “alignment” and “size” of the image.
6. Don’t forget to click “Insert into Post” (NOT “Save Changes”) at the bottom. If you don’t click “Insert into Post,” the image won’t show up in your post when you publish it (it will just be added to our site’s “Media Library” … more on that later in the semester).
7. You can always click “Preview” before you click “Publish” to see what the post will like like after the images are added. Make sure, however, once you are satisfied with your post, to click “Publish” (you can also click “Save Draft” to continue to work on the post later, but no one else will be able to view the post–and I won’t be able to give you credit for it–until you hit “Publish”).
Adding a video to your post from YouTube is about as simple as it gets. Simply copy the URL of the video into your post, and click “Publish” (as with links and images, don’t forget to contextualize the video a bit, and tell us whose it is and why you’re including it in your post). It will automatically appear (and can be played) right from your post. Woohoo!
*Remember, if you don’t like something (either the post or the image), even after it is published, you can go back and change it (just click “Edit” and work away). That’s the nice thing about blogs … you can keep revising 🙂
If you’re unsure how to get started posting (blogging) on our OpenLab course site, here’s a quick overview:
Once you’re logged into OpenLab and on our course site, you can easily make a post. Simply click the plus sign (+) on the grey menubar (the admin bar) at the top of the screen, and from the dropdown menu that appears, choose “Post.” You can also go to your “Dashboard” from the same grey menubar, and this will take you to the “back end” (the control panel) of the site. From there, you can post (in the lefthand menu, click “Posts” and then “Add new”) and do a number of other things.
Don’t forget to “Categorize” your post before submitting it (see below for more details on that), and then to “Publish” your post (if you only click “save” or “preview” it won’t be public). Happy blogging 🙂
*A quick note about categorizing blog posts:
Just a friendly reminder to “Categorize” your posts so that it will be easier to navigate our site later on. To do this, after you finish typing your post up, choose the appropriate “Category” from the right side of the screen. For example, after you type up your “Introduction” blog, you should make sure to check off “Introductions.” Otherwise the post will simply show up as “Uncategorized” (we don’t want that because it will just dump eveyone’s posts into one general place and our course site will become very disorganized/chaotic as we produce a lot of content throughout the semester). You may have to uncheck the “Uncategorized” category (which is the default).
Oh yeah … and you should chat one another up! How do you do this? By commenting on your classmates’ posts:
One of the great things about the blog is its interactive, networked nature … people post, others read and make comments, and then conversations happen and ideas get exchanged! Please read through everyone’s posts and drop comments if you feel so inspired (you can comment in reply to another comment also). To do this, simply type in a short comment in the “leave a reply” box at the bottom of the post.
Please note that you can respond either to the original post or a specific commenter!
To sign-up for an OpenLab account, create your profile, and become familiar with the system:
- Sign in to your City Tech email account via the City Tech website link or Live.com
- Sign up for an OpenLab account ASAP (no later than Friday, 1/30)
- If you have trouble clicking the confirmation link in the email from the OpenLab, try cutting and pasting it into the address bar of Firefox or Chrome
- Log in to the OpenLab
- Join our course, ENG 2420: Science Fiction, by clicking on its Course Profile
- Browse through the OpenLab, noticing how people use it and what kind of materials they include
- Click on People & browse through a few pages of OpenLab members, looking at the avatars and reading about the members in their profile sections
- Now create your own profile, uploading an avatar and including a bio/profile (remember, this info. is available to the public!).
Questions? If you need technical support, you should check out the (very detailed/helpful!) Help section of OpenLab, &, if you still have questions, contact the wonderful OpenLab Community Team.