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[General Rules]  [Original Contributions--Blogs]  [Community Contributions--Responses] 

Note: Last possible date for turning in list of blog contributions is Dec. 8 at 5 PM! No further extensions--you've already had a week's extension!

The communication spaces commonly known as “social networks” are becoming an increasingly more important component of new media, and there is starting to be some interesting and exciting scholarship published on these spaces. For this graduate-level class, all of you are required to experiment with the rich potential of these spaces—and then, if you choose to do one of the short assignments, we’re going to be analyzing what we see going on in OUR social network (or others to which you belong). Research suggests that students your age spend between 1 and 5 hours per day on social networking sites of various kinds, so you may as well get credit for what you're already doing!  This assignment counts as 35% of your final grade, and responses to each other's posts count almost as much as original posts, so contribute richly!

General Rules for Contributions

1.       “Accounting” for entries will be done at midnight the night before class is held. So for the September 8 class, I’ll be counting entries completed and posted on our Ning space by midnight on September 7.

2.       Attention in these entries should be paid to good writerly practice (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.). Blogs with excessive levels of error will not receive credit.

3.       I will leave the length of blog entries up to you. They must be substantive; this is a writing intensive course, so three or four sentences is not enough. I won’t specify a number unless people start cutting corners, in which case I will have to intervene (I’d rather not!).

4.       You need to keep track of what you publish and what others publish. The blog links box will show you who has recently updated the page, and you can subscribe if you wish to the RSS feed to let you know when the site is updated, or go to “my page,” then “manage my page,” and then to “e-mail” and set notifications to let you know when updates post.  

Part I: Original Contributions (20%)

Under the “Blog” tab on our Ning site, you will set up and post your own individual blogs. You are required to post at least three blogs a week beginning the week of Sept. 1 and going through till Fall Break; after that, you can cut back to once a week for blog posts.  Each week you must publish one of each of the following categories of blog posts:

A.      Research post. In these posts, you must find a recent article or blog post that deals with some aspect of new media that interests you, or that you want to investigate. For instance a recent government study suggests that online education may be more effective for college students than traditional face-to-face classes; what’s your take on this study? You should comment on and link to the article or post you’re discussing; the link should be placed high in your post and your entry title should give us some idea of what you’re going to discuss (not “Cool stuff” but “Neat new program to draw graphic novels”, as an example). Your posts must contain original content and not just summarize the information in the link. And of course, links must work. Graduate students should look for peer-reviewed scholarly publications as sources of these posts. If you start thinking now about later assignments in the semester, you could use the blog as a way of starting your research, hint, hint, hint.

B.      Reaction post. Each week you should post a response to one or more of the readings that we will be discussing in the next class; these comments will be used as a foundation for class discussion. These responses can be argumentative, philosophical, analytic , or what you feel is appropriate (tone is up to you, but please keep it non-offensive). Usually it will be your choice, but sometimes I may want us all to focus on one reading, or ask different clusters of students to focus on separate readings. I’ll let you know.

C.      Show and analyze post. Each week you should try to find some example of new (or old) media from outside the class that interests, intrigues, infuriates, and/or absorbs you. It could be a podcast, a video, a Facebook poll, a graphic novel, a new videogame—anything from this wide community. Or you may want to talk about “old media” as technologies—for instance, think about the book or printed page or scrolls or manuscripts as media for conveying information. There are a lot of good writers who talk about the “pleasure of texts” that you may want to analyze—feel free to do so. Talk not only about what grabbed your attention about it, but also try to connect it to some of the theory and practice we’re reading. (For instance, when we’re talking about web design, you may want to look at the site http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/ or something like it.) Same rules apply as for the research posts: link to the example you’re discussing; the link should be placed high in your post and your entry title should give us some idea of what you’re going to discuss. And of course, links must work.

Part II. Responses to the Community (15%)

These points will be awarded for the Ning site comments you place on your classmates’ posts or in forum discussions in which you participate. I’m expecting you to do about two a week for the rest of the semester. These must be added no later than the start of the next class following the date posts are due. While these will be less extensive than your blog posts, your comments must further the discussion, not just say “I like this” or “Interesting—thanks.” If at all possible, suggest ideas that the poster and your classmates may want to consider, or suggest resources (either human or online) that might illuminate the discussion.


In order to get credit for these entries, before the final class meeting, you must post on your blog an entry listing all your comments. Title it “Links to comments” and put in the entry you responded to and the date. You may want to keep an ongoing list in Excel as you go along so that it’s easy to do this at the end of the term.