Intro to Literary Study (2005)

25 February 2005

Portfolio Workshop

Your blogging portfolio is a "cover blog entry" (I don't want printouts this time) that contains links to your previous blog entries on each of the assigned readings (including literary and academic sources).

Coverage: Each assigned text should be represented in your cover blog entry.

I don't require a blog entry for every web page handout I've included as part of an assignment description... check the course outline page and see what's marked as "Read".

For Foster, or any other text I've asked you to blog about several times, I'm asking for a single blog entry that you feel best represents your ability to analyze/apply/react to/critique the assigned text.

I don't require you to include every blog entry you wrote -- if you only blogged two or three lines when we first disucssed a text, but you've got much more to say about it now, I'd rather see the more detailed entry.

You can use the same entry for more than one text -- thus, in your cover blog entry, you might say "I comapred the religious imagery in Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and Shakespeare's The Tempest," (with "religious imagery" being a link to a single blog entry).

Since blogging also involves commenting and linking, I'm asking you in your cover blog entry to link to entries in which you started or particpated in online conversations. In your cover blog, when appropriate, use the terms I've described below. (I am not giving you a magic number of entries for each category... that's for you to determine, given the "Coverage" requirement I've given you.)

Most of your online writing is evaluated by your portfolio -- a collection of your best blog entries, that represent your developing intellectual engagement with the concepts and skills we have examined.

  • The 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.")
  • The Collection: Your blogging portfolio is supposed to be a collection of your best weblog entries. For the purposes of this class, a "good" blog entry is one that demonstrates your intellectual engagement with the assigned readings and student panels, and/or the questions raised by your peers. Please do not say "This blog entry fulfills portfolio requirement #1". Write for an audience that does not know or care about your homework requirements.

    1. Coverage. Ensure that you have blogged something substantial (for a C-level grade, at least a paragraph) that demonstrates your intellectual involvement with assigned readings.
    2. Depth. Some of the "coverage" entries you selected above should 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 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.
    3. Interaction. Of the "Coverage" blogs entries included above, some should 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 do additional research that helps unveil the truth. (These may or may not include some entries you have already included among your "Depth" entries.)
    4. Discussions. 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.
    5. Timeliness. 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 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! ;)
    6. Xenoblogging. "Xeno" means "foreign," 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:
      • 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 a recent blog 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.

    7. Wildcard: Include one blog entry on any subject -- related to online writing or not, serious or not -- that you feel will help me evaluate your achievements as a student weblogger.

  • I am not asking for a printout this time around.

If you have questions about this assignment, please post them here. (If you aren't a student in my class, and you just want to comment on the basic idea of using weblogs in a classroom, I invite you to post on my academic weblog instead.)

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Ex 1-5: Tempest Presubmission

Submit a presubmission report for Ex 1-6 (a researched critical essay on The Tempest). (2-3 pages.)

Continue reading...
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Cantor, ''Shakespeare -- 'For All Time'?''

Deconstruction taught critics to look not only for what is expressed in a text but for what is hidden or suppressed as well. The New Historicism makes a political issue of such acts of suppression, always looking for the way minority positions have been silenced in literature. But to comprehend this approach fully, we must look more carefully at its intellectual heritage.

To understand the New Historicism, we must then begin from the fact that it is a species of historicism, a doctrine developed in the nineteenth century, largely as a result of the thinking of Hegel. Historicism is the view that all thought is historically determined--not just historically conditioned, as no rational person would deny, but historically determined, a much more specific and hence questionable claim. For historicists, all human beings are creatures of their historical moment, bound by the horizons of their age. Anyone living in the Middle Ages must necessarily think in a distinctively medieval manner.

Cantor, Paul. "Shakespeare -- 'For all Time'?" Public Interest 110 (1993) 15p. Reeves Library, Seton Hill University 21 Feb 2004.

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