Projects

Project 1: Designing a Blog

Design a Web log—a “blog”—to maintain on WordPress.com.

In the late 1990s, a new form of communication emerged called Web logs. Containing links, commentary, and personal writing, Web logs (blogs) have rapidly grown in number and have gained credibility as a popular communication medium. In order to practice writing in this popular electronic genre, each of you will create your own personal blog.

Personal blogs, writer Rebecca Blood has suggested, respond to outside stimuli: aesthetic experiences, other people, the media, and so on.  Such responsive blogs can merely react—or they can reflect on the stimuli that occasion individual entries.  Reflecting is better than reacting, Blood suggests, because reflecting leads from “a new awareness of [the writer’s] inner life” to “a trust in [the writer’s] own perspective.”

It could take the whole semester to determine whether Blood’s description of blogging will hold true for you.  In this course, we will kick-start the discovery process by designing blogs that offer something to particular kinds of readers.  Viewed one way, as Suzanne Stefanac has argued, you’ll be making your blog a “clubhouse” for your readers.  These readers might be your friends or your family, food enthusiasts, dog lovers, or any interest group on the Web.  To offer your blog to them, you will write a description of your blog that identifies the kind of topics you’ll discuss and the stimuli to which your blog entries will respond.  Are you responding to conversations with friends?  Or goings-on at family gatherings?  Are you commenting on what you ate last night?  Or stories you collect about your favorite dog breed?  Are you trolling the news for reports that concern you?  Or are you making fun of those who sit behind news desks?  Identify the kind of stimulus that occasions your entries, and share your “clubhouse” concept in an introductory post.

What if you haven’t any ideas about what to respond to?  Or who you are?  Make up an interest, and make up a blog “persona” to go along with it.  When you blog, you invent a character that isn’t always “you.”  (I’ll be sure to remember that when I read your statements and example posts.)

Guidelines and requirements: We will use WordPress.com for our blog creation and hosting purposes.

Part 1

  • Examine sample blogs to see a range of themes and personalities. Make observations about what you like and don’t like in the sample blogs. Recommendations for blogs to peruse will be given later.
  • Think through a concept for your blog and a description of your blogging self. These will become your blog introduction, the page commonly titled “About” or “About Me.”
  • Draft 2 or more initial posts that illustrate your blog’s theme.
  • Browse WordPress.com to establish a free account for your blog. Choose a template that reflects your personality and your blog theme.
  • Create a custom header image and upload to your WordPress template. Instructions will be provided later.

To submit Part 1 for a grade, upload the following to your Project 1 Dropbox Folder on Sakai before 11:55 pm on __________:

  • The polished introduction to your blog and two example entries that showcase your blog’s concept in execution
  • Notes, drafts, and peer reviews completed throughout the semester
  • Please also e-mail me the link to your blog

Part 2: Over the course of the semester, post at least 10 times to your blog (but feel free to post more), for at total of at least 12 posts. These posts must be completed by the last day of class, 12/11. A good goal would be to write and upload 1-2 posts each week.

To submit Part 2 for a grade, please e-mail me the link to your blog before 11:55 pm on 12/11.

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