Guidelines for Posts

Each student will be responsible for two blog posts throughout the term that respond to my initial post and provide an in-depth exploration of the week’s readings. One post will cover a specific topic as assigned on the schedule and one will be a wildcard post on the topic of your choosing related to your week’s texts. I’ve done this so that we cover particular ideas but you also have freedom to determine what is important to each of you. All primary blog posts for a given week must be completed by Thursday at five.

  • Each Sunday I will publish an initial post that will help guide the discussion for the week.
  • You will send me an e-mail on or prior to June 3 indicating which weeks and topics you’d prefer for your two posts (see available weeks and topics on the schedule). In my initial post for a reading, I will briefly comment on each topic to help you get started.
  • Your blog posts should be between 500 and 700 words and should be interspersed with images, video, links, and/or other content. 
  • Our blogs are “multimodal” spaces—that means that they will encourage you to compose with image, video and sound as well as text. You can pull from the vast media stores of the web, but you might also build your own slide shows, movies, etc. to include in your posts. You can embed YouTube videos, link to films or songs, etc. Linking is always to your advantage. If you make a historical claim, for example, link to the article where you found it. This is the hallmark characteristic and skill of writing for the web. You should choose pertinent outside material and explain your use of it well.
  • Always cite your sources carefully. If you post an image or video to the blog, be sure that the owner of the content has given permission for its reproduction. Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons are great sources for images without copyright restrictions. If you perform a Google Search for an image, always visit the page from which the image is derived and see what rights the owner has listed. If they don’t give permission, you can still provide a link to the original site, but don’t actually copy the image onto our site. Regardless of whether you copy the content over or provide a link, you should cite the original source using MLA style in the caption box (You can ask me if you are having trouble, and I’ve provided myriad examples in my own content on the blog).
  • As with any academic work, citation is also necessary when quoting from other sources. Be sure to provide a complete in-text citation for all quotations and include an MLA bibliographic entry at the end of the post. Consult Purdue OWL on the Web for help with MLA citation style.
  • When addressing criticism, ruminate on what the reading means, how it operates rhetorically, and whether or not you agree with it. You should also feel free to be creative, experiment with tone, and use this as a space to find your voice. Don’t neglect this part of our reading; it will show up in your grade if you do!
  • Blogs are traditionally more personal than academic writing. Think carefully about your audience; everything you are posting is for the entire class, not just the professor. How can you interest that wider audience?
  • Use the same level of care with grammar, structure, and style that you would with any writing assignment.

Some Ideas for Posts

  • Examine the Reading Literature page for suggestions about how to read with an eye toward your posts.
  • Elaborate on a passage in the text related to your topic that you find important, interesting, or confusing.  If you do this, please start your response with the quote. For more about how to integrate quotes successfully into your own prose, visit the Quote Integration page.
  • Comment on issues of structure, metaphor, rhetoric, or other formal concerns in the text.
  • Explore connections between the texts you are responding to and others we have read in terms of theme, content, or style.
  • You will notice that I bring in media each week to add to our conversations. Take advantage of our online environment to share content with your classmates. Think of yourself as a digital bee that explores far and wide to bring pollen back to our hive that we then turn into blogging honey. Of course, make sure it is good pollen; credit all sources; make sure all media is free from copyright restrictions; and verify that you are pulling from reliable source materials.
  • You will be making comments on the posts of others, but you might also link to one of their posts and write a more detailed response to it in your own post. You might extend this blogger’s argument, or look at it from another angle.

Adding A Blog Post to WordPress

  • Accessing the Dashboard:
    1. Visit the home page of our website.
    2. Click on “Young Adult Literature” at the top right.
    3. Then click on “Dashboard.”
  • Adding a Post: When you’ve made it to the dashboard, click on “Add New” Under the “Posts” heading to the left of your screen. You’ll be taken to a screen that looks like a word processor. You can type right into the post box, or you cut and paste directly from your own word processor into the blog screen.
  • Adding a Title: Type a title in the “Add Title” Box that is informative and describes your topic.
  • Adding a Block with Text or Media: Click on the plus sign to choose what kind of content block you are adding. Common blocks include “paragraph” to add text, “image”to add a picture, or “quotation” to add a block quote. There are several other block types you can add, but these three are the ones you’ll likely need for class.

  • Adding your post’s text: Add a paragraph block and then type your text. Note that a toolbar will pop up at the top of the screen giving you options for formatting the text.
  • Adding Image: Add an “Image” block. The site will give you the option to add an image from a URL, upload one from your computer, or choose one that has already been added to the media library.
  • Add YouTube: When you add a block, under the “embed menu,” choose YouTube video. Add YouTube’s share link to the box.
  • Block Quoting: If you have a line that is four lines or longer you should turn it into an indented block quote. To do so, after you introduce your quote, add a “quote” block.
  • Saving your Work: Click on “Save Draft” and then “Preview” in the widget in the upper-right hand corner to check your work (In “Improved” mode “save” and “preview” are at the left of the editor). Take your time, add to the post, and proofread.
  • Publishing: Choose “Publish” from the widget at the right for the post to appear on your blog (or at the left of the editor in the “improved” version).

Weekly Comment Participation

Our in-depth class discussion will commence after my “Initial Post” on Sunday and continue through 5:00 on the following Monday. In order to earn at least a C grade, you are responsible for making at least eight comments each week (of these eight, you should make at least one to my initial post, at least one to each primary post, and several in response to the comments of others). Comments need only be 100 words or less, but rather than being evaluative they should add additional thought and reflection to the original blog post. You shouldn’t think of commenting as a zero-sum game. Don’t just make the comments you need to make to have met your quota; instead, get into our conversation, participate actively, and communicate with one another! If you think about this blog as a community of thinkers and writers with common goals rather than a minimum course requirement, you are inevitably going to do well. I will also comment during our weekly discussions, but it is important that you think of me as just another participant, and continue to contribute rather than taking my word as final. In fact, I will often post questions to push our conversation further, and it is your responsibility as a class participant to attempt to answer those questions.

Please Note: On weeks when you are a primary poster, you are still responsible for adding the same quality and quantity of comments to the blog.

In order to do well in class, you must follow the links, watch the films, and examine the illustrations. These are all materials that I would bring into a regular class period, and if you are not engaging with them, you are missing a substantial portion of your educational experience. I ask questions because I want you to answer them; if you leave my questions unanswered, you probably aren’t reading deeply enough.

Adding a Comment to WordPress

To view comments and add your own, click on the blog post’s title or on the comments link at the bottom of the blog post.

  1. If you are commenting directly on the primary post, type in the box at the bottom of the page.
  2. If you are commenting on an already-posted comment, hit the reply link so that you have your own box to add to the conversation.
  3. These should be around 100 words and should comment directly on the already underway conversation while also allowing for further elaboration. Feel free to ask your classmates questions to spark additional conversation.
  4. Imagine these as sites for further commentary and extended discussion. In other words, don’t just praise your fellow students, use the comments to answer their questions, pose additional ones, and reference particular scenes in the text we are reading.
  5. Ask questions and give example quotations in your comments.

Please Note: On the Dashboard, I have given you permission to moderate comments; if you accidentally made an error, you can click on comments, find your comment, and edit it.

Tips for Keeping Up

This will be an intensive 5-week course, and in order to stay abreast of the evolving discussion, you will need to log into WordPress frequently. Below are some additional tips to help you do this.

  1. Download the WordPress Mobile App (available at both the Apple and Android App Stores)
  2. “Follow” the blog itself so that you receive e-mails about new posts.
  3. When you make your first comment to each initial and primary post, make sure to “Follow” it so that you receive e-mail updates of future posts.
  4. Use the Author and Recent Comments Widgets to the right of the blog to see the most recent activity on the site.

A Word About Grading

At the end of each week, I will use Blackboard’s grade book to submit comments on students’ blogging participation. I will record all scores in Blackboard using the rubrics below.

Blog Post Rubric

Criteria Needs WorkD/F Range0 to 69 %  Competent B/C Range70 to 85 %  ExemplaryA/B Range86 to 100 %
Depth of Thought
Weight 50.00%
•Does not elaborate on ideas or questions by providing evidence from the text
• Does not provide readings of the text and/or books discussed.•Does not provide quotes or page numbers in relationship to ideas.
•Begins to flesh out ideas or questions by providing evidence from the text
• Provides readings of the text and/or books discussed.• Provides quotes from text with page numbers that correspond to ideas.
•Fully fleshes out ideas or questions by providing evidence from the text
• Provides innovative readings of the text and/or books discussed
• Provides full quotes with page numbers that further illuminate ideas.
Level of Completion
Weight 15.00%
•Does not provide a full 500 to 700 words for each entry. •Provides a full 500 to 700 words •Provides 500-700 words of substantial thought.
Weight 15.00%
•Post have several grammatical errors.
•Instances of passive voice, non-descript words, etc.•Writing style is unclear, jumbled, inappropriate tone.
•Post is relatively free of grammatical errors.
•Has some instances of passive voice, non-descript words, etc.
•Uses basic but clear writing style.
•Post is free of grammatical errors.
•Avoids common pitfalls like passive voice and non-descript words.
•Uses complex sentence structures, develops an appropriate tone related to content, and chooses words creatively.
Weight 20.00%
•Student does not integrate multimedia or external links into the blog and/or multimedia isn’t meaningful. Does not cite source materials. •Student uses multimedia and external links, but doesn’t always explain its purpose, or consider copyright restrictions. •Student integrates cohesive, meaningful, clever multimedia and external links, and cites all source materials according to current and precise MLA style.

Weekly Commenting Rubric

Criteria Does Not Meet Expectations Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations
Weight 10.00%
Students submits less than 8 comments during the week or student does not comment in all of the required venues each week. Student submits at least eight comments during the week, commenting at least once on the initial post, once on each primary post, and once in relationship to the comments of others. 
Student meets all required expectations and comments indicate a substantive willingness to participate based on content as opposed to required number of comments.
Close Reading
Weight 30.00%
Student comments are not substantive or do not relate to the texts discussed. Student comments include textual examples. 
Student comments are substantive and include well-cited, well-chosen textual examples.
Classmate Engagement
Weight 20.00%
Student does not ask questions or extend the points of others. Student asks some questions and does more than affirm the comments of others. 
Student is actively engaged in debate with classmates, asks questions that extend the conversation, and provides new angles for pursuing an analysis of the text.
Consideration of Media/Context
Weight 30.00%
Student does not mention the week’s additional content in any of their comments. Student makes passing nods to some additional items suggested for perusal in the initial and primary posts. Student substantially integrates their understanding of additional content into their comments and uses it to provide a more contextualized understanding of the text(s) under discussion.
Weight 10.00%
The comments are garbled, the language is unclear, or there are several spelling/ grammatical errors throughout the week. The comments are clear and relatively free of grammatical errors The comments are engagingly written. The student experiments with writing style while also appealing to his/her audience.