Unveiled Site that Wasn’t Seemless

One of the interesting aspects of transforming a class to focus on the latest technological innovations is that the technology has glitches–bugs–that need to be resolved.  In the Victorian period the Luddites actually tired to stop innovation (i.e., the mechanization that became the Industrial Revolution) by throwing wrenches and other “stuff” into the gears of machines. Those wrenches were eventually called “monkey wrenches.” And we would call that today industrial terrorism.  The computer “bug,” some accounts record, is named after a lone bug that invaded some computer hardware and created problems.

Where’s all this going?  Well, this is a blog post, remember, so let’s see: the unveiling of the English 305 Portfolio did not evade the proverbial monkey wrench or bug. I invited Jaena Manson and Emma Riehl, who created WordPress portfolios of their English 305 hard-copy portfolios, to conduct an introductory workshop of WordPress. They both know much more than I do about the workings of WordPress.

What could go wrong?  Not much, except that no student could log into his or her WordPress site at the beginning of  class!. Thankfully Casey Gates of Informational Technolgy was in in his office, so he came to our rescue. The reason for the log-in issue? It seems some “switch” in WordPress needed to be reset for each student. Once that was done, each student could log into his or her WordPress site . . . and I think we accomplished what we needed to do for the first introduction to the new English 305 electronic portfolio.

Let the transformation begin!

Description of the Writing Blog

After Engl 305, you will have honed your critical thinking, research, and writing skills; engaged in the activity of literary debate through critical theory; and created your own WordPress site that houses your English 305 Presentation and Process Portfolios.  In addition, you will have developed your skills at writing and designing for web reading and viewing, vital skills for everyone to know.

A key function in WordPress sites in the ability to blog. In the field of Rhetoric and Composition, these blogs may also be called journals, logs, or writing-to-learn exercises. A blog in English 305, for example, will allow to informally write about your experiences in the class, particularity your experience engaging in the writing process through out semester.

You may want to leave your blog “open” for comments from your peers and others, but if you do, you might want to moderate those comments so that they are appropriate for your WordPress site for English 305.  You may also choose to respond to your peers’ comments, thus creating a dialogue about English 305.

Blog posts can be liberating, for you can be as inventive as possible, as informal as you wish.  Your blog is yours to use as you see fit.

So get into the habit of writing frequently throughout the semester–you may even find the blog an interesting way to do some freewriting about ideas for your papers. Your template has set up categories where you can post for blog writing, but feel free to revise those categories if you find a more interesting way to arrange your blog posts.

Happy blogging!

Summary and Evaluation

Ah, Terry Eagleton, Wolfgang Iser, and Gerald Graff–with a sprinkling of Helen Vendler at times–this assignment, while not the most seductive one, demands that students evaluate arguments according to Toulmin’s Uses of Argument, which is the foundation for the way English 305 approaches the teaching of argument and persuasion.

New Historical

I’ve been using a variation of the new historical paper in my Science Fiction and Fantasy and Classic American Novels classes, partly because most of the students in these classes are not English  majors or minors. It’s a tough assignment, but the students are up to the challenge.