WordPress Blog Assignment
Businesses, consumers, and individual citizens all utilize blogs to reach wide audiences and stay connected with readers and/or customers. Blogging has become the most common form of writing on the Internet and has turned into a lucrative business for millions of writers. Blogging also enacts a culture of “Read/Write” instead of “Read Only,” which is inherently more democratic. (See Lawrence Lessig’s book, Remix.)
We’ll blog to gain experience with the nuances of the genre, to develop understanding of the technical aspects of blogging, and to target a specific audience for some of our writing.
How will this work?
This term, we will each develop a thematic WordPress blog related to an area of personal interest and consistently post a variety of on-theme content (“stories”) throughout the semester. You can find examples of student blogs developed for this course here. The subject matter of your blog will thread through all of your projects this term. E.g. If you decide to blog about the Western lifestyle, then all of your projects would line up with that overarching theme.
If you don’t have experience blogging, don’t worry. Your classmates and I will support you in the creation and maintenance of your blog through in-class workshops and online instructional videos.
What will we do first?
We’ll begin by studying the blog genre and looking at some of the most successful blogs on the Internet in attempt to understand the features of a successful blog. You will search the web and select a series of your very favorite blogs. Next, we’ll complete a rhetorical analysis of the form, content, and style of the blogs we like the most.
What do we do next?
Next, you’ll be asked to commit to a blogging theme for the next 15 weeks (or more, if you so choose). You’ll develop a catchy blog name, and complete an audience analysis to help think through your audience’s expectations for your blog. This audience analysis will play a key role in the blog evaluation process at the end of the semester. In some cases, you’ll be free to decide on content and form of your blog posts. In other instances, I’ll provide a mini-assignment for you to complete for your weekly blog assignment (e.g., a Storify Story, Profile, and Photo Essay will be required posts).
You’ll create a WordPress account. You may be familiar with blog platforms like blogger or edublogs, but we will be using WordPress for this course because it is a more complex and dynamic program that offers a depth of formatting and design options that most blog builders lack. Learning WordPress will also provide you with a marketable skill to use in potential internship or job situations. Basic WordPress blogs are free. You can pay to have a custom domain like I do (multimediacomposition.com).
Let’s get started.
- Visit http://en.support.wordpress.com/getting-started for instructions on how to get started.
- Create an account.
- Make note of your username and password for future reference. Please choose a name that easily identifies you as the author.
- Locate the help files within WordPress (see link below). Use them to help you learn how to personalize your blog’s appearance using a theme.
- Post a short introduction that will allow a larger audience to understand the purpose of your blog. This can be revised throughout the term as your blog takes shape.
- Post a link to your blog in the Webliography for our course so your classmates and I can bookmark your blog and visit it often.
- Write a minimum of 400 words per week on theme. Blog a minimum of 12 out of 15 weeks this semester with six posts before midterm.
Access WordPress Help Files by clicking the icon below or visiting http://en.support.wordpress.com/.
How will I be graded for this assignment? *
I’ll consider both form and content when evaluating your blog. Use the following questions to self-evaluate.
- Did you consistently blog on your defined theme throughout the semester (minimum of 400 words per week and 12 or more well-written posts)? This totals about 5000 words for the semester.
- Did you include all the required posts (e.g. Profile, Storify, and Photo Essay)?
- Did you use a variety of text chunking techniques and incorporate images and headings to increase readability and reader interest?
- Did you personalize your blog by creating a descriptive “about” page and adding a customized graphical element?
- Did you utilize categories and tags to organize and promote your blog’s content?
- Did you select a WordPress theme that supports menu navigation?
- Does the graphical theme of your blog match your content and tone?
- Does the overall blog design look professional?
- Do your blog posts address the audience expectations that you outlined in your audience analysis?
- Is the writing style and graphical design appropriate for the content, purpose, and audience of this blog?
- Does your blog demonstrate an understanding of copyright and fair use (as discussed in class)?
* We will be discussing all of these criteria throughout the term to help you succeed on this assignment.