Friday, October 23, 2009

Writing Studio Blog Visitors Diminished

Since I started using a cluster map in the sidebar to indicate where visitors came from, the number of visitors, year on year, has diminished. The image below shows how much.

Though each year the cluster map gets archived about the middle of October, and new hot spots start appearing in the sidebar display, it is still possible to see where previous visitors came from (ClustrMaps - archive of user maps). It will be interesting to see what happens this year.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Writing Studio Bulletin: WSB 2-01 (Fall 2009)

This bulletin, the first for fall semester, represents a selection of comments that I've posted on various students blogs. As I suggested in one of the selected comments, I expect anyone who gets such comments directly to share the gist of them with classmates and peers.

This batch of comments includes suggestions touching on six categories of continuing concern:
  1. Action Plans for Fall Semester (due September 30, 2009),
  2. Book Reviews (12-18+ this semester),
  3. Display Language for blogs,
  4. Essays,
  5. Labels, and
  6. Wording.
Please read through them all, and determine what action you should take with regard to your own blog posts. Within those six categories, I've listed comments in reverse chronological order.

Action plans for Fall Semester (due September 30th), including:

  • links,
  • quotations,
  • short references
You [still] need to include references and links to five classmates blogs from which you gathered advice.
(October 7, 2009 16:31:33 JST)
Where are your [quotations and] references with links to suggestions [that] you gleaned from classmates' [1st semester] portfolios (§6.0, July 2009)? Those are a necessary part of this week's blogging assignment.

Please make sure that your buddies' posts include references and cross-links to classmates portfolios, too.
(September 30, 2009 14:19:07 JST)
Book Reviews
Though these two comments date back to last year, the suggestions still apply to many newer book review posts on your blogs this year. So I'm re-posting them here.
After rereading this review, I'm still wondering:
  • why you chose to read ... [short title in italics was here],
  • whether you'd recommend it to your classmates or peers, and
  • why or why not.
Would you mind making your book review(s) a bit more communicative in those regards?
(June 25, 2008 17:18:00 JST)
I'm glad to see you got the book review numbering system going right for first semester. However, in order to encourage the readership of, and comments from classmates and peers with similar interests, it would be better to shorten the prefix (or key string) for all of your book review post titles to "BR", and add part of the actual title, for example:
  • BR 1-05: Barney Bear...
Then, if someone sees the word bear in your blog archive, they might want to read (and comment on) what you've written. For example, I love bears, but don't want to have any more close encounters with bears in the wild. How about you?
(May 28, 2008 15:47:53 JST)
Display Language
... Your blog is still set to display a Japanese interface. I suggest that you set it for English right away!
(July 21, 2009 17:41:18 JST)
... Perhaps a catchier and more descriptive title than the one you've given it would attract readers' interest, and give them some idea what you've written about.
You seem to have left out all of the paragraph divisions ... marked on the paper copy of your initial draft. In electronic documents, such as blog posts, you should insert two line returns between paragraphs. Those create horizontal white spaces to mark topic changes, and lead readers' eyes to topic sentences.
You also have forgotten to include a word count, in square brackets, at the lower left corner of your post (for examples, see posts on the Writing Studio Blog). You need to include a word count on every post for class this year. The sooner you get in the habit, the better!
Please advise your classmates and peers to do the same, always:
  • Use catchy, descriptive titles;
  • Define paragraph boundaries; and
  • Include word counts.
(April 9, 2009 10:19:28 JST)


This post isn't one of your essays, or mainly about essays, is it?
Would you please reserve the label "essays" for essays proper (2-01a, 2-01b, 2-02a, ...)?
(October 20, 2009 17:15:52 JST)
... I'd like you to reserve the label, "essays," for actual essays (complete drafts and major revisions).
(July 21, 2009 17:41:18 JST)
 This quick post isn't about "health," is it? Why have you used that label on it?
(June 2, 2009 21:20:21 JST)


Would you please give additional examples of what you mean by "and so on," and "and so on" (2009/07/09 11:56)? It usually takes at least three examples to sketch a category or group.
(July 9, 2009 12:29:51 JST)
[698 words]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Social Media and Social Networking Explained

This post contains two videos that I discovered in a post on Jacqui's Ask a Tech Teacher blog (Social Media--What the Heck is This All About??), which in turn I had discovered via a post on the Learning with Computers group blog (Personal Start Pages), on which I've been following comments for almost a year now. They are produced by Lee and Sachi LeFever, and licensed for non-commercial use.

I always enjoy the clever, quick-paced presentations in their "in Plain English" series, and the animated visual reinforcement makes the concepts easy to understand. Please take a look at one or both of these two, and leave a comment to let me know whether you enjoy and learn from them, too.

Social Media in Plain English

"A simple story that illustrates the forces shaping social media" (leelefever, YouTube, May 28, 2008).

Retrieved October 13, 2009, from

Social Networking in Plain English

"A short explanation of social networking websites and why they are popular" (leelefever, YouTube, June 27, 2007).

Retrieved October 13, 2009, from

[175 words]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BR 2-01: Bridges of Madison County

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Waller, R.J. (1992). The Bridges of Madison County. New York, NY: Warner Books.

[100 words]

Recipes4Succes[s]: Citation Maker

I'd like to point out a website with an online tool that you can use to produce roughly formatted reference citations for bibliographies:
It's really easy to use, even without logging in. Please try it out with the book you brought to class today; use it to make an APA-style reference to include in your next book review post.

Unfortunately, Firefox kept crashing when I tried to open the "PDF of instructions on using the Citation Maker." So, if you have questions about this tool or how to use it, please ask in class today or post your questions in comments on this post.


  • APA: American Psychological Association
  • PDF: Portable Document Format
[120 words]
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