Sunday, August 31, 2008

Creating a Blog

There are certain beliefs I have that fuel my thinking about teaching. One, writing is not just something you learn to do but something you do to learn. In other words, when you sit down and write, especially informally, you give yourself the chance to open you mind to new thoughts. Sometimes, you start out writing about one thing but end up writing about something else, surprising yourself and learning something. Two, sharing your ideas with others helps you to learn even more in the end. First of all, when you know people are going to read what you write, you think about it more deeply and make sure that you are clear about what you want to say. Second, when people respond to your writing, they help you deepen your thinking even more, pushing you to explore new angles and different perspectives. That is why each of you is creating a blog for this class where you will create posts of your initial reactions to ou reading and other activities.

Creating a blog may sound really confusing at first, but it's not that big of a deal. If you would like help creating it, meet with me in my office, and we can do it together on my computer. Also, you can change just about everything about your blog later, so if you change your mind or learn something new that you want to incorporate, you usually can alter things later.

Here's how to create a basic blog for this class.

1) Go to At the bottom right of the page, there is an orange arrow that says "Create Your Blog Now." Click on that.

2) Answer all of the questions on this page. Put in whatever email address you want, such as your address. The most important part of this page is where it says "Display Name." This is the name that is publicly available to the world. You do not have to use your full name or even your real name. You can use just your first name, a nickname, or a something else entirely. It should be something somewhat professional, and you will need to let me know what it is. Your classmates will probably need to learn it, too. But using a name other than your real one means that Google will not be able to connect this blog to you. If you want Google to find you, then use your name. If not, then choose something completely different. If you don't care, I recommend using your first name or initials. The choice is ultimately yours. When you are done with everything, click "Continue."

3) Give your blog a title, which is up to you. You can use something simple ("My Class Blog") or a song lyric or phrase or whatever. Again, it should be somewhat professional, but you can have fun with it. Then choose an address. Click "Continue."

4) Choose a template. You can change this later. But chose something for now and click "Continue."

5) You are done and ready to blog! Your first post should be an introduction of yourself. Just tell the rest of us in class whatever you'd like us to know. Feel free to add links and images (something you should feel free to do to any of your entries). Also, email me with your blog's address. I can then add you to the list of student blogs on the course blog and make sure you get credit for your work.

Some of you make take to blogging very easily, and some of you may be cautious or balk at it. It won't take long for you to get the hang of things. You may never get so into it that you'd want to do it on your own, but you'll do fine in terms of class expectations. As I say constantly, let me know if any concerns or questions arise.

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