Sometime before February 1, you will set up your own blog to use for all of your written assignments, and to keep track of your thoughts about any of the issues we cover. You can also maintain this blog after this class is over for personal or professional purposes.
[Note: if you already have a blog you used for another course or any other purpose, you are welcome to continue to use that blog for this course, as well.]
A blog is your very own, personal online journal. In this class, we will be making our blogs private and only accessible to you, your classmates, and instructors.
In the context of this course, your blog has two purposes:
1) Your blog will provide a space for you to keep all of your writing assignments over the course of our semester together. You will not hand in any written assignments; rather you will post them on your blog. In this sense, your blog is merely your assignment notebook that you will use as you read and prepare for class each week. You will also be posting any additional thoughts you have: responses to class discussion, after thoughts, things you forgot to say in class, relevant experiences you have, etc. But importantly, your blog is a collective classroom space and as you post (and comment on others'), you will gain a much richer understanding of everything we read and discuss in class. I want you to think of it as interactive and intertextual in that way. In this sense, your blog is much more than just a Microsoft Word document that happens to be online. It is a hypertextual space that allows you to link to images, webpages, video and other online tools and toys.
2) Creating your own blog will also introduce you to the blogisphere if you don't know this place already. Why blog? We am trying to encourage you to practice having public discussions about the content we are learning in this class. Further, we think you will enjoy it, and hope that you will discover creative educational uses for this online medium. You will see how easy it is to use blogger.com, and perhaps it will inspire you to be a blogger in other areas of your life.
To start your own blog, you will go to: www.blogger.com
If you do not already have a Google account, you will need to create one. If you do have a Google account, sign in in the box at the right. This will allow you to create your own blog on a site called blogger.com.
Click the button that says NEW BLOG (you will see this even if you have blogged before) and follow the instructions to get started.
Don't forget your Username and Password!! You will need them to login everytime. Please write them down on the top of your syllabus so you don't forget!
As you fill in the info, you will be asked to give your blog a TITLE. This title will appear at the top of your blog. (Ours is called "RIC Youth Development")
Then, you need to choose an address: http://_______.blogspot.com. This will be the web address associated with your site. You can call it anything you like. Be clever or simple (or both) -- it is up to you. Write it down so you don't forget it! (You can also find it later on in your Dashboard where all of your future blogs will be listed.)
You will also need to choose a design template for your blog. Look through the options listed and see what appeals to you. You can change this later so don't worry too much about it initially... Once you have the account set up, you can start posting.
A “posting” is an entry on your blog. (For clarification, you have one blog, but many postings). Give the post a title and then compose as you would any journal entry. When you are finished, hit the button at the bottom that says Publish. It will not appear on your blog until you publish it. You can always go back and edit old posts and create new ones.
When you are done creating your site and posting your first entry, please come back to this blog and post a comment at the end of this first posting (scroll down) that includes your blog address so that we can post it in the link list to the right.
- Once you are in your blog, look at the top right corner of the screen. If you click on the word DESIGN, you will be able to make design changes, create new posts, edit old posts, etc. (You can only do this if you are logged in to your blog.)
- Once you are in the DESIGN screen, you can do all kinds of things to make your blog a bit more interesting. Change your fonts and colors, edit a post, change your settings. See the tabs at the top of the screen for all kinds of options.
- Poke around online and make a list of websites related to education, media literacy, social justice or anything else relevant and post them on your blog. You can add all kinds of things by ADDING A GADGET from your LAYOUT screen.
- Just do the best you can with this. If you get stuck, don't fret... we are happy to help you anytime as you work on getting this started. And remember: you can't break it. It is just a blog. Everything can be changed if need be!
Dr. McKamey and Leslie Torres
(Many thanks to Lesley Bogad who drafted this introduction).