Blogging Assignment

The class blog is a space to explore your reactions and interpretive responses to Shakespeare’s plays. You should see this as an opportunity take chances with ideas that are not fully formed.  This might seem odd to you, if you are used to turning in work that is only fully formulated, but the point of this kind of writing is to help you explore and develop new ideas.

You have been divided into two groups: Bermuda Bloggers (named after the island that probably helped inspire The Tempest) and the Stratford Bloggers (after Shakespeare’s place of birth). On the schedule, you will see that I have indicated whether each week is a Stratford week or an Burmuda week.

During the weeks you are assigned to blog, you should post a response of roughly 400-500 words to the blog that is based in response to the play and reading that we are discussing. Your post is due by Monday afternoon (at 5:00).

During the weeks you are not assigned to blog (if you are a “Bermuda Blogger” during a “Stratford” week, for instance), you will be responsible for posting at least two responses in the comments to the main posts that week. These can be brief (less than 50 words), but should be substantive and engage with the post. Your comments are due by Thursday afternoon (5:00).

There are a number of ways to approach these open-ended posts: consider the reading in relation to its historical or theoretical context; write about an aspect of the day’s reading that you don’t understand, or something that really affected you; formulate an insightful question or two about the reading and then attempt to answer your own questions; or respond to another student’s post, building upon it, disagreeing with it, or re-thinking it. In any case, strive for thoughtfulness and nuance. It is also possible you have another strategy entirely, and I encourage you to follow your interest and ideas.

Make sure you give your post a title (other than something generic like “Blog 1”!). When you have finished writing your post, please “tag” it using the tag field in WordPress that describe your post (you should include the title of the play, as well as any other key words.)

To help you get a feel for what makes an excellent blog entry, consider this rubric, which I will use when reading and grading your posts.

I will rate each post on a scale of 0-4, primarily on the basis of the kind of critical thinking and engagement you display in the post.

Rating Characteristics
4 Exceptional. The blog post makes a strong point and has evidence to support it. Entry is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. Writing is exploratory and probing, opening various questions and ideas for further reading, writing, and interpretation. The entry reflects in-depth engagement with the material.
3 Satisfactory.The point of the blog post is a little unclear, or the evidence to support it is somewhat unclear. Entry is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Writing goes into some depth, but does not frequently explore other ideas or open new questions for further inquiry and reading. The entry reflects moderate engagement with the material.
2 Underdeveloped. Blog post doesn’t have a main point. Entry is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and very little engagement with the language or ideas of the text. The entry reflects very limited engagement with the material.
1 Limited. The blog entry is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of student engagement with the material.
0 No Credit. The blog entry is missing or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.

Comments will be graded Pass/Fail: you will receive two points for completing your comments, 0 points if you do not (or if you do not provide substantive responses to the posts).

Rubric and prompt adapted from Mark Sample