Online Commonplace Book

Online Reading Journal

Electronic Commonplace Book

(aka Blogging)

 At least ten times throughout the semester (plus one-two more if you are doing the Alternate Assignments), record your thoughts and observations on the readings in your blog, which will be open to your classmates, your instructor, and if you are willing, the entire universe. 

 Requirements: Each blog should be about 500 words long—the equivalent of one typed, single-spaced page.  Blogs should be completed by 5pm Wednesday before class.  This is a FIRM deadline.  You need to blog at least ten of the eleven times noted on the syllabus. You do not need to blog the week your report is due.

Use your blog to help you:

  • think more deeply and in more detail about the readings
  • prepare for class discussion
  • link readings’ themes to previous readings
  • gather notable, interesting or problematic scenes, quotes or passages
  • share outside sources or thoughts with the class
  • articulate any questions or problems you are having with the assignment
  • brainstorm and plan your seminar paper or project
  • practice writing, period
  • practice using and develop confidence in your professional, scholarly, public “voice”
  • 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. Grade is based on completion, insight, ability to link to outside sites, ability to make connections across the semester and participation (commentary) on others’ blogs.

You may set up your blog with the platform of your choice (not Tumblr) or use one you already have.  Blogs must be public—however, you are welcome to use a pseudonym.  You will be indentified 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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