interesting blog writing course

Next semester I’ll be teaching digital culture, which is a survey and theory course rather than being practical like this semester’s web design course. I want to use blogs to focus on thinking and writing, so it will be different to this semester’s installing and customising frenzy. I found some inspiration for thinking about this in MC Morgan’s Web Logs and Wikis: New Writing Spaces for Advancing Writers at Bemidji State University, which I think is in Minnesota. There are lots of Norwegians there, aren’t there? Anyway: the assignments are great. Instead of being presented with a blog already set up, or struggling with the horrors of installing MoveableType, students are simply asked to set up a weblog and announce it to the class weblog. They decide for themselves which system to use, though blogger.com is recommended for this first blog. The course also uses wikis, and I’ve been thinking about that too – after all, I don’t actually want to teach blogging for the sake of blogging (though it probably sounds that way sometimes), I want to teach digital culture and digital communication. That includes a basic literacy in how to write, link and communicate on the web.

In Morgan’s personal weblog I found a wonderful comment on student essays which I think I’ll show my students, because it’s just what I’ve been struggling to tell them recently:

The strongest responses – those that did not simply assert a point or position but rolled ideas around – linked out to other places on the web. And the strength didn’t come simply of the linking; that is, the argument and writing wasn’t better simply because of the link. Instead, linking out created an ethos of someone at work on a problem. Linkers didn’t just link. Their position, their stance, towards the issue motivated linking. They went out looking for connections, read the stuff, quoted from the linked material, and responded or commented on it – and linked the whole thing back to the chapters on Blood.

24. March 2003 by Jill
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