Portfolio 1: Demonstrate Your Ability to Synthesize
If you have been keeping up with your blogging, this assignment will simply involve collecting and reflecting. If there are gaps in your blogging, this is your chance to catch up.
It begins with a richly-linked blog entry that introduces your reader to blog entries that you have created, and discussions from your peers' blogs in which you have participated, as part of a reflective statement on your progress so far.
Either format is fine, but however you present your work, it's important to me that you specify where each of your posts falls amongst the categories listed below.
The same post can count for more than one category, but if you keep re-using the same handful of posts that's probably a sign you can do a little better next time.
- The Reflective Cover Entry: Post a blog entry that contains
links to all the entries that you plan to submit for your portfolio.
For the benefit of an outside reader (that is, someone who doesn't know
what a blogging portfolio is), introduce each of these links and
explain why they are significant. (For example, see "Favorite Blog Entries: Journaling Mode.")
Your reflective cover entry should introduce your best online work, grouped into the general categories as described below (in "The Collection"). You are free to organize your essay in whatever way makes your work look the strongest -- so, if you have a lot of depth but you're not good on coverage, or you're great on leaving comments but not so good at posting on time, feel free to emphasize whatever you do well.
Ensure that you have blogged something for each of the assigned readings (for a C-level grade, at least brief agenda items for each assigned reading; for a higher grade, demonstrate your intellectual involvement with the assigned readings, perhaps by linking to peer blog entries that mention your work). (If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.)
Some of the "coverage" entries you selected above should also demonstrate your ability to examine a concept in depth. Do some original online research, and link to the precise pages where you got ideas that helped you formulate your ideas. If you prefer to use a library book, quote a passage that you found interesting. Here are a few examples (from a literature class) of a blog entry that goes above and beyond the standard "what I thought about the book" blog entry: Fitting in in the Diamond Age and Forced Reading-- Beloved Character.
Of the "Coverage" blogs entries included above, some should also demonstrate your ability to use weblogs to interact with your peers. For instance, you might disagree (politely) with something a peer has written; link to and quote from the peer's blog entry, then carefully (and respectfully) explain where you disagree. Rather than hurl accusations in order to make the other person look bad, cheerfully invite the other person to explain their perspective. Quote passages from the texts your peer has cited, or find additional examples that help unveil the truth. (These may or may not include some entries you have already included among your "Depth" entries.)
Blogging feels lonely when you aren't getting any comments; you will feel more motivated to blog if you enjoy (and learn from) the comments left by your readers. Your portfolio should include entries (which may or may not overlap with either the "Interaction" or "Depth" entries) that demonstrate that your blog sparked a conversation that furthered your intellectual examination of a literary subject.
A timely blog entry is one that was written early enough that it sparked a good online discussion, before the class discussion. A timely blog entry might also be an extra one written after the class discussion, if it reacts directly to something brought up in class. The blog entries that you write the night before the portfolio is due won't count in this category. And don't try to change the date in your blog entries -- I know that trick! ;)
- Xenoblogging (helping out your peers)
"Xeno" means "foreign" or "guest" so xenoblogging (a term that I coined last term) means the work that you do that helps other people's weblogs. Your portfolio should include three entries (which may or may not overlap with the ones you have already selected for "Coverage") that demonstrate your willingness to contribute selflessly and generously to the online classroom community. Examples of good xenoblogging (you don't need do every different kind, I'm just pointing out the diversity of this concept):
- The Comment Primo: Be the first to comment on a peer's blog entry; rather than simply say "Nice job!" or "I'm commenting on your blog," launch an intellectual discussion; return to help sustain it.
- The Comment Grande: Write a long, thoughtful comment in a peer's blog entry. Refer to and post the URLs of other discussions and other blog entries that are related.
- The Comment Informative: If your peer makes a general, passing reference to something that you know a lot about, post a comment that offers a detailed explanation. (For example, the in the third comment on this older entry about the history and culture of print, Mike Arnzen mentions three books that offer far more information than my post did.)
- The Link Gracious: If you got an idea for a post by reading something somebody else wrote, give credit where credit is due. (If, in casual conversation, we credited the source of every point we make, we'd get little accomplished. But since a hyperlink is so easy to create, it's not good practice -- or good ethics -- to hide the source of your ideas.) If a good conversation is simmering on someone else's blog -- whether you are heavily involved or not -- post a link to it and invite your own readers to join in.
- Wildcard: Include one blog entry on any subject -- related to the course readings or not, serious or not -- that you feel will help me evaluate your achievements as a student weblogger.