Blog guidelines

Your weekly reading responses (10% of your grade) are to be posted on the course blog.


You will be expected to complete a minimum of 11 weekly blog posts over the course of the semester. One (the introductory blog post in week 2) will be compulsory for everyone; you can complete the remaining 10+ in whichever 10 weeks of the semester you choose.


I will provide specific prompts for every second week; on alternate weeks, you’re free to reflect on and write about anything related to the class, such as our texts, our classroom discussions, recent news articles you’ve read, discussions you’ve had, etc. Prompts will be provided by midnight on Thursday in the week before they are to be utilised.

Your responses can be informal in tone, but they should still be carefully composed — full sentences, clear transitions, punctuation, paragraphs etc.

As everyone is also asked to respond to others’ blog posts, please make it easy for them: consider ending your blog posts with questions or claims that invite discussion.

Use tags and categories to help your peers find your blog posts. Categories should be big-picture ideas (‘Assignments’, ‘In-class exercises’, etc), and tags should focus on finer details or themes (‘girls’, ‘disease’, ‘space exploration’, etc). Sometimes I’ll direct you to use particular categories or tags, but mostly I will leave this up to you.


Blog posts are graded on a check-plus (1 point), check (0.7 points), check-minus (0.4 points) basis, with 0s recorded on weeks you choose not to blog. There are a maximum of 10 points on offer here, corresponding to the 10% of your grade blogging makes up.


For a check — you’ll need to compose a blog post of 250-300 words which is clear, on topic, and demonstrates you’ve thought meaningfully about the prompt or issue you’re discussing, and post a thoughtful comment of 50-100 words which directly responds to somebody else’s blog post. Please note that blogging at a check level for all 15 weeks of the semester will net you the full 10 points on offer.

For a check-plus — all of the above, plus something dazzling like engaging in extended discussion or debate in the comments, offering a spectacular new insight, working intensely with additional texts, et cetera.

For a check-minus — a good-faith attempt at a blog post which nonetheless doesn’t respond to the prompt, is off-topic, shows no signs of in-depth thought, or is unreasonably short. Check-minuses will also be recorded if you write a check-worthy blog post but fail to post a comment on someone else’s blog entry.


Students will be divided into two groups with differing deadlines:

  • Red group: Blog posts due by midday Monday before Tuesday’s class
  • Blue group: Blog posts due by midday Wednesday before Thursday’s class

Comments for both groups are due by midday Friday.

You are free to blog as frequently or infrequently as you want. I will record grades once a week. Since there are so many opportunities to pick up your 10 points here, I do not allow make-up blog posts after the deadline. If you want to know your current tally, you’ll need to see me in office hours or make an appointment.