Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reminders of classwork and homework

In classes today, I gave tours of this Writing Studio Blog, pointing out elements at the head, foot, and side of the blog display. At the head of the blog, I pointed out the over-large image behind the title and description, and a smaller image (top right) that is a button to use whenever you want to return to the home page. I've removed that large image already.

I also showed where the Search field was, in the navigation bar (navbar, for short) at the top of the page. You can use that to find specific words or phrases that writers have used in their blog posts. You should note, however, that if you or the authors of the blogs you are searching fail to spell key words accurately, you may not find what you are looking for. For example, when students misspell the word "essay" as "essey," or "home stay" as "fome stay," those keywards are difficult if not impossible to find.

At the foot of the Writing Studio Blog, I pointed out the Creative Commons license, which grants visitors limited permission to reuse what they find on this blog, and two reference tools, in particular:
  • a graphic thesaurus, free for use on the KGU campus, and
  • an online dictionary, providing English definitions of English words.
(For more online references tools, please see the Writing Studio Wiki, Vocabulary References page.)

Key elements in the Writing Studio Blog sidebar that I encouraged all students to add to their own sidebars ASAP include:
  1. a monthly archive, hierarchy style, showing post titles (Dashboard: Layout: Configure Blog Archive, above); and
  2. a labels display (Dashboard: Layout: Configure Label, below).

Archives and labels displayed in your sidebars offer visitors two more ways (in addition to keyword searches and reverse chronology scans) to find interesting posts on your blogs, such as your essays and book reviews.

So much for the anatomy of a blog! Now let me remind you of the homework.

1. Use catchy, descriptive titles on all posts!

2. Add two or more labels to every one of your posts.
  • essays (for completed essays)
  • revisions (for rewritten essays)
  • ...
The list goes on. For a full range of suggestions, please see those in the spreadsheet at the foot of this blog (Labels in Action).

3. Post a rewritten essay: a revised letter of introduction to a host family, in new post on your blog, including:
  • extra information (info.) requested or suggested in comments from classmates or peers on your draft essay.
  • extra info. that you thought was interesting and informative in your classmates' essays - personalized, of course, for the purpose of introducting yourself to a host family.
4. Complete another book review (BR 1-02: Short Title); keep posting one or more reviews per week during the semester (12 or more, total)

5. Make at least one other blog post this week, for a total of three to five (or more) blog posts every week.
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Writing Studio Bulletin: WSB 1-00 (2009)

Hi! If you are reading this the same day that I post it, more power to you!

This Writing Studio Bulletin, WSB 1-00 (2009), is a sneak preview for the beginning of spring semester. The first snapshot below illustrates a couple of the settings that I'll ask you to enable on your own blogs in class tomorrow, with the help of laboratory assistants. The second shows a collapsed outline that I'll open and talk you through, step by step, as you start (or better yet, resume) blog posting this spring semester.

Please keep in mind that the best time and place to ask questions about your course, and get what help you need, is in class - where your classmates, the lab. assistants, and I can help you. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing from you there!

Of course, if you have questions or concerns about past or future bulletins like this, or other posts on this blog, you are always welcome to spell them out in comments on the posts to which they relate. A classmate or a peer may even drop by before I do, notice your comment or question in the Recent Comments feed at the top of the sidebar, and be able to help you along with a follow-up comment or face-to-face advice.

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