Blogs (Digital Commonplace Books)
This semester, I will ask you to keep a blog that will serve as a digital commonplace book. Commonplace books, popular in Early Modern Europe, were scrapbooks of sorts where writers could compile quotes, letters, lists, prayers, poems–basically a curated collection of literacy artifacts. Your blog will act as a commonplace book centered around your work for this class. At the beginning of the semester, I will ask you to respond to specific prompts. But, eventually, you’ll be posting your own research. These “commonplace posts” must identify, respond to, and reflect on at least 2 artifacts (blog posts, scholarly articles, videos, tweets, music, images, etc.) relevant to your focal topic and/or current project. You can choose to post artifacts that are shaping your thinking, or perhaps materials that you may want to re-use later. Either way, each of the two artifacts must be in a different genre or medium (you can’t post two video ads for example), and you must write around 500 words of your own commentary and analysis. I will list when blog posts are due on the schedule, but typically you’ll post once a week.
The in-class midterm exam will cover the rhetorical terms and theories introduced in the first few weeks of class. The exam will focus on your understanding of the terms and theories as well as your ability to apply and use these them. If you keep up with the work and are present and engaged during class, you should do fine.
Your physical and mental presence in the class is invaluable to the work we will do. I expect that you will attend each class and participate fully in discussing reading and course projects. Active participation also includes completing assignments for in-class discussion. Learning is a collaborative activity, and I expect that you will be attentive to, engaged with, and respectful of everyone in the class. Since we are in a classroom with digital access, I also want to remind you not to abuse our classroom space. The internet will be a great resource for our class, but make sure when you’re online that what you’re doing relates directly to what we’re doing in class and not a distraction to you or your classmates.