Your first assignment in Humanities Core is to set up a website in which you will post blog entries over the course of the year. These blog posts should connect course themes and topics with other aspects of your academic life, your extracurricular interests and passions, and/or events in the world at large. Your website and online scholarly persona will develop over the three quarters of the course, and your blog posts will serve as a record of your intellectual development in the program.
In addition to the basic technical and digital literacy skills that this assignment requires you to learn, writing online for a broad, public readership means that you must identify your audience and craft your voice to appeal to that audience. There are many forms of blogging, some more formal than others. While the writing you produce in this context will likely be written in the first-person and in a less formal voice than your academic essays, the website you are creating is about your intellectual life and your own journey as a humanistic scholar.
Your seminar leader will assign deadlines for individual posts, discuss feedback and evaluation procedures, and establish the commenting and peer review requirements for your section. Unless otherwise specified by your instructor, the topics for your posts are open, though they should relate in meaningful ways to the study of empire and its ruins. Over the course of the quarter, your blog posts should pose and investigate humanistic research questions; employ verifiable evidence from a range of journalistic and scholarly sources; make dynamic use of hyperlinks, images, video, informational graphics, and sound where applicable; and solicit interaction by posing questions to readers that provoke comments and discussion. Students often find their Humanities Core blogs are an excellent place to reflect on writing and research processes in the collegiate setting, or to connect their political and social engagements to course themes.
Fall Quarter: You must complete four (4) blog posts, which together will be allocated 20% of your writing grade. The completed website design, including any stable pages and community components of this assignment, will be worth 5% of your writing grade.
Winter and Spring Quarter: You must complete three (3) blog posts per quarter, which together will be allocated 15% of your total writing grade each quarter. We hope that as your blogging progresses, the focus of your writing becomes more sustained to reflect the interests that will inform your spring research paper. As your thematic and methodological interests become more specific, make sure that you revise and update your “About” page to reflect your evolving scholarly persona. Your seminar leader may allocate a percentage of your website and blog grade and/or your writing participation grade to stable pages and community components of this assignment.
- Produce accurate, rhetorically effective, multimodal writing using the appropriate stance, style, organization, and citational practices of scholarly blogging
- Develop digital literacy and transferable technical skills through the design and maintenance of a website
- Make meaningful connections between course materials, individual experience, and events in the world at large
- Responsibly locate and integrate primary sources from digital archives and databases while critically evaluating secondary claims from journalistic, scholarly, and popular sources online
- Practice active revision such that the blog posts, stable pages, and comment sections demonstrate that the student has developed flexible and ethically responsible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading online writing
- Reflect on the experience of research and writing
Required Reading / Viewing
Before you begin setting up your website or brainstorming for your first post, make sure you have read and watched the following:
Beauchamp, Tamara. “Blogging and Website Design.” Humanities Core Writer’s Handbook, edited by Larisa Castillo and Tamara Beauchamp, XanEdu, 2018, 25–36.
WordPress.com Setup Video Tutorial