Digital Commonplace Book

Digital Commonplace Book

(aka Blogging)

 At least ten times throughout the semester, record your thoughts and observations on the readings in your blog, which will be open to your classmates, your instructor, and the entire universe. However,  you are welcome to use a pseudonym (18th-century style).

You may set up your blog with the platform of your choice.  WordPress looks the most professional.  Blogger is fine if you want to stay with Google. Tumblr seldom works well.  If you already use another site, go for it!  You can also use a blog you are currently using for another class as long as you label ours in an obvious way.

 Requirements: Each blog should be about 500 words long—the equivalent of one typed, single-spaced page.  Blogs should be completed by 5pm Monday, which is actually the day before it is noted on the syllabus.  This is a FIRM deadline.  The week your report is due, you will post that on your blog in lieu of a typical post.

Use your blog to help you:

  • think more deeply and in more detail about the readings
  • prepare for class discussion or reflect on it afterwards
  • link readings’ themes to previous readings or discussions
  • gather notable, interesting or problematic scenes, quotes or passages
  • share outside sources
  • learn more about your classmates’ ideas
  • brainstorm and plan your seminar paper or project, or articulate any questions or problems you are having with the assignment
  • practice using and develop confidence in your professional, scholarly, public “voice” (see the PhD2Published blog on this)
  • network with scholars in the field (see for how well this has worked for one graduate student)
  • begin to build a digital reputation

The best blogs link to other sites on the web, or to other blogs (such as your classmates, or other eighteenth-century blogs) but this is not required.  You also need to read several of your classmates’ blogs each week and respond with a short paragraph.  Try to vary to whom you respond each week.

I will respond with comments on a few blogs each week, and will send you a midterm progress report, but you will not get graded until the end of the semester.  This is a low stakes yet high importance assignment that rewards creativity, critical thinking, and yes, the ability to make a weekly deadline.

You will be identified by first name and blog name on the course blog,  which is where you will go to access your classmates’ blogs each week.


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