tfw fall 2009 major assignments

Module Assignment Specifics

Below are the assignment specifics for Blogging with WordPress, Micro-blogging with Twitter, RSS Feed Reading with Netvibes, Online Portfolio with Blackboard, the final paper.

About the Final Paper

For this assignment I would like you to think about how the online spaces you have created and written in over the last four weeks represent you and your identity/identities. Think about each online space you have been using—blog, Netvibes, Twitter, Blackboard portfolio—and how they are helping to construct an identity for you online. What do these spaces say about you? How they represent you? How you are being constructed by them just as you are constructing the spaces yourself? How is writing in the many genres we have been exploring contributing to your identity construction? What does the different kinds of writing you have been doing in each space, as well as the varied topics, say about how a medium can impact the written text.

You may cite from the readings if you would like, but this should not be thought of as an academic paper. You do not need a thesis, intro, conclusion, etc. Rather, I’m more interested in how you are thinking about the relationships among online spaces, identity construction, and writing. Students have had the best results when breaking their papers into sections, with one section for each of the four spaces we use. Please including the following for each section as a way to help address the questions posed above.

As a way to address your identity as constructed by your blog posts, I would like you to make a Wordle of your blog posts. To create the Wordle, complete the following:

  • copy the text of all your blog posts together and paste them into the Wordle form field.
  • create a layout for your Wordle that is both readable and pleasing to look at
  • take a screen shot of your Wordle image (instructions for taking screen shots)
  • open or paste the image into Microsoft Word and crop out the portions not needed

As a way to address the identity you constructed using Twitter, include and discuss the following:

  • a screen shot of your Twitter page—what does the layout, picture, and bio you write say about you?
  • a screen shot of one of the statistics about your Tweets found at TweetStats as well as a screen shot of the Tweet Cloud generated by Tweetstats (or, you can create a Wordle of it if you would prefer—just follow the link)
  • consider how often you used the #tfwf09 hashtag, who you @replied to most often, and how often you re-tweeted and discuss what you use of those Twitter grammars impacts how your identity is read / perceived by others

When discussing your Wordles, consider what the larger words say about your interests and topics. Are they consistent with what you thought you would be writing and thinking about? Are there any smaller words that surprised you? How so? Cite briefly from your blog posts as a way to provide evidence for your discussion.

As a way to discuss your identity as constricted by your Netvibes space, take a screen shot of a certain section of your space and discuss it in detail in terms of your overall discussion.

Page length: 2 – 3 pages, double space, Times New Roman, font size 12, 1″ margins (not including the screen shots). I will not accept and cannot read Word Perfect (.wps) files. If you use Word Perfect, save the file in Rich Text Format (.rtf) and upload that file. Submit your paper to your Blackboard portfolio (email Dr. Wolff when you have submitted it).

Module 1 Due Date: Monday, Oct 12 by 11:59pm
Module 2 Due Date: Monday, Nov 9 by 11:59pm
Module 3 Due Date: Thursday, Dec 17 by 11:59pm

Submit your paper to your Blackboard portfolio (email Dr. Wolff when you have submitted it) in the Intro to Writing Arts binder you created. After submitting, make sure you complete Step 5 of the instructions for setting up the Blackboard portfolio:

Add Dr. Wolff as a Guest Portfolio Reviewer of your portfolio so he is able to see your organizational structure and read your paper. You will be asked for his username; it is: wolffw. Read about how to add a Guest Portfolio Reviewer.

In addition to the final paper, make sure that each and every requirement for each of the spaces has been completed. That is, every single bullet point should be fulfilled. Also, please add the following:

  • in the same Word document list the following
    • your public Netvibes URL
    • your blog title and the URL
    • your Twitter home page URL
    • all blog posting titles and the date they were submitted (there should be at least 10 total)
  • add a link to your public Netvibes page on your blog’s blogroll

Please see the syllabus for how the essay and work will be assessed. Email me with any and all questions.

Online Portfolio with Blackboard

Structure your Blackboard portfolio in such a way that allows you to store information (school, personal, work, etc.) so that you will:

  • be able to find things when you need them in a few years when you complete your Writing Arts portfolio
  • be able to add to it as your education and your interests evolve

To do this you will need to think about how you want to name and organize folders. You may want to look at the classes that you are required to take and build those courses into your structure.

The Blackboard Portfolio has many features, only a few of which we will be using here. Follows these step-by-step instructions and you should be okay. The instructions will take you to portions of an overall portfolio tutorial created by Rowan IT. Use this tutorial and it is quite helpful.

  1. Log in to Blackboard and set up your portfolio as was shown in class and is described in the tutorial section entitled “Accessing Your Portfolios.” The first time you access your portfolio you will be asked to choose from a list of “tools.” Check them all.
  2. In class we learned how to construct a useful hierarchy for organizing our course information. Now we are going to put that into play. There are two key features of the Blackboard portfolio that we will use for this: folders and binders. Folders will be used for non-course organization. Binders will be used for course-related organization. For example, you might create a folder called “Spring 2008″ in which you would include a binder called “Intro to Writing Arts.” Learn how to Add Folders and Add Binders.
  3. Once you have read through the pages, create your hierarchy, including folders that represent your educational timeline by structuring the organization of your portfolio. Inside the preset “Classes” folder, create binders for each course you think you will need to take in your remaining time at Rowan, and put them in the proper Folder. To learn more about what courses are required, see the Writing Arts major requirements. I realize that you may not know exactly when you will be taking specific classes, so try to get as close as possible to what you think you will take and when.
  4. Once you have completed your final essay for this module, put it in the Intro to Writing Arts folder. Only Microsoft Word documents will be accepted.You can learn how to Add Files to a Binder.
  5. Add Dr. Wolff as a Guest Portfolio Reviewer of your portfolio so he is able to see your organizational structure and read your paper. You will be asked for his username; it is: wolffw. Read about how to add a Guest Portfolio Reviewer.
  6. Email Dr. Wolff when you have completed Step 5 letting him know that you are (finally!) done.
  7. Sit back and be proud of yourself.

About the RSS Reader with Netvibes

You will each be setting up your own ecosystem. This ecosystem provides you with the ability have updates from certain sites (sites that have an RSS feed) to be sent directly to you. You can also see your email, social bookmarks, include web pages, listen to podcasts, and many more. Each student will:

  • set up a Netvibes account
  • learn how to add tabs, RSS feeds, and widgets to your ecosystem
  • set up both the public and private side
  • in the public eceosystem, create a series of tabs broken down by interest areas (no less than 3 tabs)
  • add feeds from each of the class blogs as a way of getting started with the system
  • add a feed for #tfwf09 tweets (go to Twitter search, enter #tfwf09, and the results will have an associated feed)
  • begin adding widgets form the Essential Widgets category, such as YouTube, Twitter, and so on
  • by the due date of the final module essay, have no less than 20 total feeds or widgets in your public ecosystem (this number includes the class blogs); your private should have no less than 10
  • yes, you can add cute little animal widgets like I have, but no more than 4

This portion of the ecology is asking you to think about how what you read and what your interests are help construct a portion of your (online) identity. Your public Netvibes page is viewable to the entire world and as a result you should construct a professional space that includes a host of interests and resources that you might one day use in the future (for your own learning, for your courses at Rowan, for the classes you might one day teach, and so forth). The private space can have more personal-related items: email, Facebook, MySpace–whatever you wish to keep to yourself.

Micro-blogging with Twitter

Blogging is when people publish their ideas for a (mostly) unknown audience in posts of any length. Micro-blogging is when people publish their ideas in a much shorter format to a known audience. The Twitter tweet (the name of each post) is 140 characters long. Just as with blogging, one cannot fully grasp the medium without engaging with it. So, we are going to engage it over the course of this module and 1 week into the next. Each student will:

Blogging with WordPress

You will be broken into groups to run a collaborative blog hosted by WordPress where each of you will post information relating to your personal, professional, and educational interests. You will post responses to the readings in the blog. Each group will:

  • name their blog
  • learn several WordPress blog features (how to create posts, links, and so forth)
  • choose the topical themes of your blog (based on the interests you previously listed)
  • choose a layout theme for your blog consistent with your topical theme
  • write an about page that describes who you are (you can keep your identities anonymous) and what the blog is about (not just for an assignment!)
  • post at least 3 posts per week per individual (if there are 3 people in the group, that’s at least 9 per week total. Do not wait until the end of the module to do all of your posts—I will be looking to see that you have done the required amount each week
    • 1 or 2 posts can be about the readings (these will not have prompts; the response topics and lengths are up to you. I strongly suggest that your posts in response to assigned readings are at least the equivalent of 1/2 page single space, Times New Roman, font 12)
    • 1 or more should be about other things directly related to the topical theme of the blog. These can be any length—whatever you think is best based on the topic of your post
  • write at least 1 comment to a post on your course blog, and at least 1 comment to a post on a different module blog (these can be of any length, but should be more substantive than something like, “Nice post!” or “Great idea”—the goal should be to further the conversation)
  • add at least 5 sidebar widgets to your blog, including a blogroll (or, “links” as it is called in the dashboard) and the class’s Twitter stream

I encourage you to add and change images and learn the many features of this great blog software. To learn how to do just about everything, see WordPress topics and click on the topic that interests you. You can also stop by the WordPress forums. Look at these first before you email Dr. Wolff.

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