Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Writing IVc Exams (2008.01.30)

The slide show embedded in this post presents the final exam for Writing IVc, sections one and two, on January 30, 2008:

The Writing Studio Blog post on which you should comment for Task One is here:

Task Two calls for you to make an original post on your own blog during the exam period.

Exam periods are only one hour long (thirty minutes shorter than regular class meetings), so use the available time wisely. If you have questions about the exam or the slide show, please ask them in comments on this post.

[106 words]

Reflections on Blog Portfolio Development

A final task for Writing IVc is to share your thoughts about the development of a blog writing portfolio fall semester, based on the two proto-portfolio elements posted in October and November, and then incorporated into the complete template posted here at the beginning of January (Portfolio: Writing IVc, 2008.01.06).


Please post your thoughts about portfolio development in an original comment on this post during the final meeting on January 30, 2008. Your comment should include both negative and positive aspects of your experience using a blog to develop a writing portfolio.

Complete explanations are better than short ones. The more details and examples that you provide, the better. Follow-up comments later will be welcome, too.
[118 words]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"To Blog or Not to Blog" (mauritsfondse, 2007)

Here is an immensely entertaining music video about blogging:

(mauritsfondse, July 13, 2007)

Thanks to Evelyn for pointing it out in Blogging for Educators 2008, message 491 (January 23, 2008)!

[29 words]

Fall Semester PFs: Buff&Shine-04 (§§2.1, ff.)

In §§2.1- of your portfolios, it is crucial for you to distinguish between evaluations of comments and "Qualities of comments**" (Writing IVc: Portfolio [template], January 6, 2008).

Though many of your portfolios list evaluative terms such as "good" or "nice", those terms miss the point, because they fail to describe the qualities of the comments that you've given or received on fall semester blog posts.

The notes that you provide in the
"Qualities of comments**" column of your portfolios (§§2.1- should describe how or explain why you think certain comments are good.

[92 words]

Fall Semester PFs: Buff&Shine-03!!!

Both monthly and total word counts in §0.0 of your portfolios should include the words that you've written in your essays.

I've come across two portfolios that clearly didn't include essays in §0.0 word counts. The total number of words listed for essays in §1.1 exceeded word counts in §0.0, which should include the words in ALL of the posts that you've made during fall semester.
[66 words]

Formulas for Portfolios (§0.0)

In the table below are the formulas for §0.0 of your portfolios. Please use them to calculate your own indices before you come for portfolio-based exams on January 30, 2008.

Please note that "/" means "divided by", and "*" means "multiplied by".

Each index that you generate from your totals with these formulas will represent approximately 20% of your final grades. The remaining 40% will be for your essays and portfolios (§§1-7).

[72 words
(not counting those in the
table from Google Spreadsheets)]

Fall Semester PFs: Buff&Shine-02

This post includes three more tips for buffing and shining your final portfolios for fall semester. These three are in increasing order of importance.
  • Avoid use of special characters such as roman numerals from Japanese fonts.
    • Example:
      • Accurate: Writing IVc: Portfolio
      • Inaccurate: Writing Ⅳc: Portfolio
        • As you can see, special characters may not display as you wish in different contexts, on various operating systems.
  • Don't worry about tables bleeding under the edge of your sidebar.
If you could see the right-most columns of tables in your portfolios as you were editing them, and you have published your portfolios, instead of saving them as drafts; it is often possible to read the content that you have provided by viewing the source code (html).
  • Label your portfolio!
Make absolutely certain that your final portfolio for fall semester bears the label "portfolios" (plural). If it doesn't, because you've ignored this and previous advice about labels, and I exclude your portfolio from your final grade; you may not pass.

[192 words]

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fall Semester PFs: Buff&Shine-01

Hello, everyone!

I'm glad to see so many of your portfolios in such good shape, including those among Student Picks: Best Blogs in Writing IVc. Nevertheless, as I've been browsing around, I've noticed some recurring weaknesses in final portfolio presentations.

This post is the first in a series to point out some of the fine points on which your portfolios still have room for improvement. Over the next few days, if I note general weaknesses or omissions in several virtually finished PFs, I'll:
  • Post about them on the Writing Studio Blog;
  • Add the string "Buff&Shine-nn" (where nn is a two-digit number in the series) to post titles; and, if I remember sooner rather than later, also
  • Include the label "bulletins" in the labels for Buff&Shine posts.
Here is the first bit of feedback in this series about fall semester portfolios. I've emphasized the numbers of sections that you should check on your own blogs for similar faults.
It looks like your PF is almost done. [However,] You need to add totals to §0.0, and paragraph (¶) counts to §1.1.

Then please put numbers in the blanks of the sections listed below:

5.2.2. ... ___ other labels attached to three or more posts... (and, if n>0: [Please specify:] Which labels, and to how many posts each?)

5.3.2. ... ___ posts including three or more links (including this portfolio!)

Finally, please note that §§6.0-7.0 call for multiple reflections and suggestions. That little "-s" means more than one!
(comment on a student's blog, 2008.01.22)

[254 words]

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WSB 2-11: Calendar Revisions

This Writing Studio Bulletin (WSB 2-11) announces two calendar revisions. As the agenda view from the Writing Studio calendar clipping below indicates:
  1. There will be no makeup class (no class meeting) on Wed., Jan. 23.
  2. Exams for Writing IVc1 and IVc2 will be on Jan. 30 (not Jan. 23).

MondayJan 21

Final portfolios due on blogs
WednesdayJan 23

No Makeup Class
WednesdayJan 30

Writing IVc Exams - Rm. 1443
[75 words]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

LittleNeo's Flag Quiz

Here's a flags of the world quiz widget from NeoWORX (personal correspondence, Dec. 20, 2007):

I hope that you enjoy trying it out! Please let me know what you think in comments on this post.
[35 words]

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Student Picks: Best Blogs in Writing IVc

Thank you for taking part in reviews today of blogs produced by your classmates and peers. As promised (Zoomerang Survey about Best Blogs, January 15, 2008), I closed the survey after classes today.

41 of 58 students invited to take part went through the survey; two left blank forms. Each of the pie charts below represents 100 percent of peer selections (32 in IVc1, and 33 in IVc2).

Three blogs took top honors in Writing IVc1:
  1. ★☆brass☆★
  2. Hello Makko
  3. ♪Welcome to my brown blog area♪

Likewise, for Writing IVc2:
[114 words]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Zoomerang Survey about Best Blogs

In your gmail, you should have found an invitation to take part in a Zoomerang survey asking your opinions regarding the best blogs in Writing IVc (fall semester). Before you take the survey, please review all of your classmates blogs (listed in section 2.3 of the Writing Studio Wiki).

To take the survey, click on the link in the message from Zoomerang:
  • Subject: Zoomerang survey for Writing IVc: Best blogs (fall semester)
  • Date: January 15, 2008 22:53:31 JST

After you click on the link in that message, the web page you see should look like this (graphic, right); from there, please click on the "Start Survey" button, and respond to the three questions.

If you haven't taken the survey yet, please do so as soon as possible. I am planning to close the survey shortly after class meetings tomorrow, January 16, 2008. I'll announce results and awards here on the Writing Studio Blog after reviewing survey results.
[159 words]

Friday, January 11, 2008

Typing Accuracy and Speed: Different Strokes

This post is a quick one to share a bit of advice regarding differing goals for typing in different contexts. I hope everyone will take heed:
Though you've inserted the necessary space between "64" and "words" in the subject line of your reply, that kind of space is still missing at the end of your last entry in the attached file. This is an extremely common typographical error among your classmates.

When I searched for your message by student number in the subject heading (06...), I didn't find your message because the number in the heading is still missing a zero. ... If you think about strings of characters in gmail subject headings and filenames like telephone numbers, perhaps you'll realize how important accurate typing is in those contexts.

However, I want you to remember, and to remind your classmates and peers, that for gmail subject headings and typing speed trials, we have different goals - accuracy and speed. You need to work on your typing speed, too!
(personal correspondence, January 11, 2007)

[168 words]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Subscribe via Gmail Today!

In these final weeks of the semester, you should expect to find numerous new posts on the Writing Studio Blog. As do the past few posts that I've made, new posts will provide important information with regard to your blogs, your portfolios, and final exams for Writing IVc.

If you haven't done so already, I urge you to subscribe to receive automated announcements of new posts on the Writing Studio Blog by entering you exact gmail address in the "Subscribe via Gmail" widget in the blog sidebar, and then pressing the submit button. If you already have subscribed via gmail already, please try it out with your cellphone mail address, too, and pick whichever is more convenient for you.

The gmail subscription widget, which looks like this non-functional graphic (right), actually will work for any kind of email address. The subscription widget is a ways down the sidebar (further right), currently between my "Local Favorites" link list and the Google Talk gadget.

I recommend that you copy and paste your gmail or other email address into the subscription widget to make sure you get it perfectly accurate. Then press the "Subscribe" button.
[193 words]

PF Clippings: Too Little, Too Much, & Too Many

This post is to share and amplify comments that I've made on student blogs regarding template clippings for fall semester portfolios (PFs).

1. Too Little, Too Much, and Untitled

This is a comment I made today on a fall semester portfolio (PF). The PF post on which I commented was untitled:
It looks like your untitled clipping from the Writing IVc: Portfolio template is missing several lines at the beginning:

Student ID: vwxyz
(last five digits of
your student no.)

Writing IVc: Portfolio [Please use this title.]
(See: Note 1, below.)

0.0. Overview
Reviews, Posts, and Words
(See: Note 2, below.)

[Your clipping also] includes too much at the end:

///// [copy to here] end of template Posted by pab at 13:50 1 comments Links to this post [Photo] Labels: assignments, books, comments, essays, graphics, labels, links, media, portfolios, reflections, reviews, writing
  • The missing lines at the beginning are necessary parts of the portfolio [from "Student ID" to "(See: Note 2, below)" ].
  • The extra lines at the end ["/////...", including the graphic and labels from the Writing Studio Blog] are inappropriate in your portfolio post.
Please note that the extra lines at the end is a recurring fault I had pointed out in July (Your Portfolios: Common Faults to Fix ASAP, item 1.).

2. Too Many PFs or Pieces of PFs

Though your completed fall semester PF must consist of a single post (as your spring PF was to have consisted), some students in Writing IVc have published multiple draft PFs this week. One has published her/his draft PF for fall semester in many separate pieces.

On your blog you should publish only three PF posts for fall semester; they should have these exact titles:
  1. Proto-Portfolio 2-01: Reviews, Posts and Words,
  2. Proto-Portfolio 2-02: Essays, &
  3. Writing IVc: Portfolio.
You should label all three of those fall semester posts as "portfolios".
[316 words]

Final Agenda: Cross-Post from Calendar

Here's a clipping from the course calendar for the end of fall semester (end of January), in agenda view, to remind you that the end is in sight:

MondayJan 14

Complete draft portfolios due on blogs
WednesdayJan 16

Class meetings - Rm. 1443
MondayJan 21

Final portfolios due on blogs
WednesdayJan 23

Class meetings (exam schedule) - Rm. 1443
Note: Though the exam schedule for January 23 differs from the regular class schedule, we will meet in the same room.
[134 words]

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Labels, labels, labels..., please!

Today as students looked for one another's final essays to review, several had difficulty finding essays to review on classmates' blogs. So they had to ask for assistance repeatedly. Even when peers' essays were there, they weren't necessarily easy to find. One reason was some blogs had no label "essays" in their lists of labels in the sidebars.

In order to get comments on your essays from peers, and to have them reviewed by peers, your essays must be easy to find. So please make certain to apply the label "essays" (plural) to all of your essays, and to no other posts.

The same goes for portfolios. To make it easy to find both proto-portfolio elements and portfolios (completed and in-progress), you should label all posts on your blogs that relate to portfolio development with the label "portfolios" (plural).

I won't go on and on about other labels here. I'll just remind to you keep them simple (one-word, generic, or plural forms), and urge you to review all recent posts (fall semester) that I've labeled with the label "labels". You can find them all by clicking on the label "labels" in the Labels (aka Tags) list in the sidebar!
[199 words]

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

WSB 2-10: Peer Reviews Replace Typing Trials

This Writing Studio Bulletin (WSB 2-10) is to inform you that reviews of your peers' essays on learning with computers will replace typing speed trials at the very beginning of class on January 9.

It is also to advise you, if you have yet to routinely surpass the typing speed threshold for fall semester, to practice on your own outside of class.
[62 words]

Winter holidays in the UK?

Did you ever wonder how folks spend winter holidays in the UK? Though I didn't go there during winter vacation, here's a Quia website where you can find out:
  • Happy New Year -
    • Podcast by Peter Carter; and
    • Follow-up activity by Renée Maufroid.
      • Thanks to Renée for promoting this site via the Learning with Computers group (message 3944; January 6, 2008)!
The author of the podcast on that site shows and tells how folks celebrate in England and Scotland, and what else they do. When you've finished listening to and viewing the podcast there, you can check your listening comprehension and cultural knowledge with the gap-fill activity that follows the podcast.

If you don't get all of the answers right the first time, don't worry! I got many wrong, because I was doing other things while I was listening. I didn't see all of the slides in the presentation, or catch all of the details. The answer-checker requires precise wording, and accurate spelling, too.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Portfolio: Writing IVc, fall semester (template)

beginning of template [copy from here] /////
Student ID: vwxyz
(last five digits of
your student no.)

Writing IVc: Portfolio
(See: Note 1, below)

0.0. Overview

Reviews, Posts, and Words

(See: Note 2, below.)

Book reviews

Blog posts



1.0. Essays

(See: Note 3, below[.])

1.1. Showcase
[+ links]





TV in

Learning w/

Totals ---


¶: number of paragraphs three or more sentences in length
W: number of words
C: number of comments
L: number of links
P: number of photos or other graphics
M: number of other media included

1.2. Best Essay

Selection and Assessment: Which of those essays do you feel is the best that you've written this semester, and why? Please remember that a complete answer is better than a short answer, and give at least two reasons to support your assessment.
  • [Remove square brackets, including these remarks; identify your best essay, and write out reasons for selecting it here.]


Titles of posts with links
Dates of comments (yy.mm.dd)
Numbers of words in comments
Qualities of comments**
2.1. Your first comment on your instructor's blog*

2.2. Your best comment on a classmate's blog*

2.3. Best comment by a classmate on your blog*

2.4. Most comments on:
Titles of posts with link
Dates of posts (yy.mm.dd) Total number of words in comments
Qualities of comments*[*]
2.4.1. Any one of your essays* When did you respond to those comments?

--- How did you respond to those comments?

2.4.2. Any of your other posts* When did you respond to those comments?

--- How did you respond to those comments? ---

* Current semester comments on essays and other posts
** Please list the most important qualities of comments on each type of blog post.

2.5. Recent comments display

Does your blog display recent comments from blog visitors in a prominent location, for example in a sidebar, header, or footer widget? Where or why not?
  • ...

2.6. Additional reflections on comments

  • [Remove square brackets, including these remarks; write out your reflections on giving and receiving comments here.]

3.0. Typing Speed Trials

Numbers of words
Dates (yy.mm.dd)
3.1. Worst typing speed trial*

3.2. Best typing speed trial*

3.3. Improvement (best minus worst)

3.4. Average speed for three (3) most recent speed trials**

* Current semester typing speed trials (five minutes)
** Please list all three dates.

4.0. Book Reviews

4.1. Showcase Short titles
with links
Dates (yy.mm.dd) Words Comments
Vampire Killer



















Note: Please calculate book review words and comments totals without the example (above).

4.2. Best Book Review

Selection and Assessment: Which of those book reviews do you feel is the best that you've written this semester, and why? Please remember that a complete answer is better than a short answer, and give at least two reasons to support your assessment.
  • [Remove square brackets, including these remarks; identify your best book review, and write out reasons for selecting it here.]

5.0. Blog Layout, Labeling, Linking, & Media

5.1. Does your blog have an archive?

5.1.1. Does the archive display the titles of posts?

5.1.2. Is the archive organized by month?

5.1.3. Is the archive at or near the top of the sidebar?

5.2. Does your blog have labels displayed in sidebar?

5.2.1. Do your labels include these required labels (typed accurately): ---
  • "books" (plural) AND "reviews" (plural)

  • "essays" (plural) AND "portfolios" (plural, without "proto-")

  • "quickposts" (plural, with no space between quick and posts)

  • "links" (plural) AND "media" (plural)

  • "movies" (plural) AND "photos" (plural)

5.2.2. Does your sidebar display other labels?

  • How many other labels have you attached to three (3) or more posts?
    • ___ other labels attached to three or more posts
  • Which labels, and to how many posts each? Please list those labels instead of www, xxx, yyy..., and list numbers of posts instead of n, m, o... (in parentheses), below.
    • www (n)
    • xxx (m)
    • yyy (o)
    • zzz (p)
    • ...
5.3. Links & media ---
5.3.1. Does your blog include pictures or other graphics?

  • Does your blog profile include a picture or graphic representation?

  • How many of your blog posts this semester include pictures or other graphics?
    • ___ posts including pictures or other graphics
5.3.2. Does your blog include posts with multiple links?

  • How many of your posts this semester include three (3) or more links?*
    • ___ posts including three or more links (including this portfolio!)
5.3.3. Does your blog include other media?

  • How many of your blog posts this semester include other media?
    • ___ posts including other media
  • What kind(-s) of media have you included in posts this semester? Please list them here:
    1. ...
    2. ...
    3. ...



5.4. Overall presentation

What have you done to enhance the overall presentation of your blog? List and explain the three most important content, formatting, layout, or other presentation changes or enhancements that you have made on your blog this semester.
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...

6.0. Additional reflections on your blog writing

  • ...

7.0. Suggestions for your peers and successors

  • ...

  1. This portfolio template amplifies the template for Writing IIIc portfolios.
  2. The overview section (0.0. Overview, above) derives from Proto-Portfolio 2-01.
  3. The essays section (1.0. Essays, above) derives from Proto-Portfolio 2-02.
///// [copy to here] end of template
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