- Word Counts,
- Blog Posts,
- Blog Designs, and
- Portfolio Development.
1. Word Counts
Niina said, "I was puzzled about [the] number of words, because there were some person who they reached 10000 words[,] and there were some person who they didn't reach 10000 words in first semester" (WED JUN 30, 11:17:00 AM JST).
Asaki asked, "Should I post more than 10,000 words, right?" (WED JUN 30, 10:08:00 AM JST).Though the questions in the previous post (10 portfolio posts..., 2010.06.29) focused on second semester portfolios, Niina's right; some of the 1st semester proto-portfolios included in those second semester portfolios last year (2009-10) occasionally did reveal total word counts less than 10K words. That may be why Asaki asked whether she should "post more than 10,000 words...." She's right, too; everyone should exceed the target for original writing, by writing – not copying – 10K+ words this semester.
The closing date for word counts, book reviews, and other blog posts is the due date for 1st semester Portfolios; please check the Calendar of Events page and Writing Studio Blog calendar for details.
2. Book Reviews (BRs) and Other Posts
YUKI asked, "How many BRs do i need to finish in this semester?" (WED JUN 30, 10:21:00 AM JST).
Kana said, "I'd like to know what to write except diary" (WED JUN 30, 09:57:00 AM JST).As I have told students who asked in person, in class, the target number of original book reviews is 12 or more [for] this semester. Book Review Showcases in Portfolio Templates (sheet 1_2_BRs) already have space for 15 or more. That's one per week, on average. If you write more, you can increase the number of rows in your spreadsheet; if you need help doing so, please ask someone who knows how.
Regarding what to write about in routine weekly posts (three or more per week, on average), your imaginations are the limits. For more about topics and foci for day-to-day posts, please see Beating Blogger's Block and Citing Sources (WSBlog, 2008.10.10).
3. Blog Designs
Hitomi said, "I concerned about their blog design[-s]. Some blog is cute" (WED JUN 30, 11:31:00 AM JST).I'm concerned about blog designs, too. Two of my main concerns are: 1) ease of reading, and 2) efficient use of your time to demonstrate and develop your writing ability. You may wonder what that means.
By "ease of reading," in general, I'm talking about neither too large nor too small fonts, and neither too colorful nor too plain texts. For example, too little contrast between texts and background colors defeats readability. You may have heard me say, "I think pink stinks!" That is, especially, light pink on white or dark pink on red. It is best to stick to dark text colors on light backgrounds, or light text colors on dark backgrounds.
Standard blog templates usually take both readability and color coordination into consideration. They are quick and easy to choose or replace.
By "efficient use of your time...," I mean that, if you spend hours and hours trying to get your blog design just perfect, right away, or trying to turn almost every word in a post a different color, you may lose hours and hours that you might better have spent:
- Writing or re-writing blog posts, book reviews, or essays;
- Commenting on classmates' and peers' posts; and
- Responding thoughtfully to comments on your own.
4. Portfolio Development
Chika mused, "What shall I do to make a good portfolio?" (WED JUN 30, 10:15:00 AM JST).Chika's musing is spot on. A short and general answer for now is to keep looking around, listening carefully to, and learning from your classmates, peers, and predecessors. Weak or strong, they provide the best examples and models available.
Now, in hope of promoting a[n] open exchange regarding portfolio development and enhancement, I'd like to leave this post open for follow-on comments. Please feel free to express additional concerns and questions about your portfolios for this semester in comments on this post, as well as to respond here to those of your classmates and peers. I'd also like to ask in advance for your understanding that questions about portfolios and their composite elements for this semester, at least questions not voiced in class, belong in comments here – on this post – rather than in individual mail messages.
PS: Even if you don't comment on this post, you SHOULD "subscribe by email" (at the foot of the comment window) to get notified immediately whenever classmates or peers comment here.
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