Contributing to our online conversation

Throughout the semester, we will use our course site to develop and share our ideas about and analyses of the materials for this course. For each class, you will need to share something, whether it be a blog post or comments, in addition to your weekly glossary entries. You are always welcome to do more than the schedule requires, and I hope we will develop a lively online community that becomes integral to our in-person discussions.

For each class session, I will suggest topics, or contributors can choose their own topics. Blog posts should be focused, using direct quotations from the text to drive the responses or reflections in the post. A post should be about something we are about to read or something we have just read, but it might also bring in materials we have read earlier in the semester or materials that interest you from outside of class (as long as they are relevant and add something overall). Authors of these posts should think critically about the reading material, and should consider how a particular element of fiction or term relating to narrative functions in the material—it might amplify the text, or it could be complicated or problematic, but any of these would be interesting opportunities to explore. Blog posts should be approximately 300 words, and should be proofread before posting. Please include links, images, etc, as appropriate.

Those who are not responsible for contributing a blog post on a given day will be responsible for commenting. Commenting shouldn’t just be “I agree” or “Good point.” These might be the start of a comment. Use the space to offer a counterpoint, to bring together different ideas, or to direct us to a particular point the post didn’t include. Comments should be approximately 100-150 words. If you want to add additional comments that are shorter, feel free to. Commenting can get heated or contentious, but we will maintain decency and respect for one another even while exchanging different ideas and views.

As a class, we decided that for Monday classes, posts will go up by the end of day on Friday, and that comments will be complete by 10am Monday; for Wednesday classes, posts will go up by noon on Tuesday, and comments will be complete by 10am Wednesday. We can revisit these expectations after we complete the first round, so everyone can weigh in on the experience. We’ll go through a few rounds of posting, so you’ll each have a few turns to direct the conversation in addition to contributing to and shaping the conversation via commenting.

I’ll post my suggested topics after class using the category Homework Instructions and also categories relating to the readings. When you post, please do not use the category Homework Instructions unless you are actually writing instructions for the class to complete for homework. Instead, use the categories that correspond to the author or unit that we’re reading.

Stay tuned for the first set of suggested topics, to be published this evening.


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