#digs16 blogging assignment

Assignment Overview

This portion of the semester-long investigation project will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • share thoughts on issues related to their investigation subject and class
  • detail and reflect on stages of their work process
  • make public portions of your work to enable transparency

The goal of the blog will be to present informed, insightful, curious, authoritative, and in-depth multi-modal posts on issues relating to your investogation subject and class specifically written for an audience outside of the classroom. Each post will need to have features that are important to blogs and blog readers: links whenever having one would make a meaningful connection, images, video, and so on. Write with the tone of exploration but with the confidence of an expert, not just a student learning something new in class. Rather, a writer thinking through new ideas on important subjects. Of course, use tags and assign appropriate categories–be sure to uncheck Uncategorized.

This assignment is informed by and address all five of the course objectives: Effective Communication, Design Thinking, Critical Awareness, Risk-taking, and Reflection.

Setting up the Blog (due by Friday, February 5)

One of the main questions that often comes with web sites is: how can I have multiple blogs for multiple projects? Too often people revert to just adding content to their usual blog, which often feels like mixing oil and water. The content just doesn’t go together. Sometimes people buy a new domain and install WordPress.org or they set up a blog on WordPress.com and then link to. The first option is a waste of money and the second disconnects the blog from your site because it doesn’t have the same domain root.

The solution is to create a subdomain. A subdomain is essentially a folder in your server space formatted to hold a blog (or other) installation (or anything, really), and then be displayed with a URL that places with within your domain root, such as:


Setting up a subdomain is rather painless (and free). It just takes getting to know the Reclaim Hosting client area a bit. Here’s how you can set it up:

Name your subdomain something directly related to your investigation. Don’t name it “digs16” or “required-domain” or anything like that. You will be linking to this blog from your professional web site, so you want to ensure it is professional, as well.

When designing, creating, and writing in your blog, please complete the following:

  1. Choose a professional and meaningful title and subtitle;
  2. Choose an appropriate theme;
  3. Compose a detailed and relevant about page that discusses who you are as well as what you are investigating;
  4. Add at least the following sidebar widgets: Twitter, tag cloud, categories, links, and search;
  5. For each post, compose a meaningful title written for an audience larger than our class;
  6. For each post, include 5 – 6 tags and at least 1 category (for excellent discussions on the reasons for categories and tags see VanFossen, “Categories versus tags — whats the difference and which one?” and Mathes, “Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata“)
  7. tweet links to all your blog posts, including the #digs16 hashtag and any investigation-related hashtags you discover.

Subdomain must be created, WordPress installed, and steps 1 – 5 completed by Friday, February 5.

Blogging Specifics

The specifics are as follows:

  • each student is required to have a minimum of THREE blog posts over the course of the semester (additional posts will be required for certain assignments)
  • THREE blog posts is a minimum and is what is expected. To go “significantly higher” (as written in the grading criteria) in terms of blog posts, you should have significantly more.
  • your posts should contain a mixture of the following:
    • posts that discuss and reflect on your investigation work progress
    • posts that discuss issues relating to your research in terms of ideas presented in class
    • posts that share and discuss stories that you find online that are related to your research
  • posts should be on the subject(s) you have chosen and include references to and quotes from texts we have read in class, but composed for a global audience, such as in these posts:
  • do not wait until week 14 to do your posts; spread them evenly throughout the semester, composing when you’ve found something you want to write about

Each student is required to comment on at least 5 of their classmates blog posts throughout the semester. Blogs will be linked from the course web site, so you will be able to have easy access to them.

Post Requirements

There is no set requirement for the length of a blog post, though the more substantial your discussion the better the post will be as a post itself and as an artifact that helps you reflect on your research. Indeed, one of the features of the medium of blogging and the characteristics of posts is that the length is determined by it’s content and goals. However, for our purposes, each post should thoroughly discuss the subject at hand. See posts for prior students for some excellent examples:

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