Beginning this Sunday, March 6, and continuing through the end of the term, you’ll maintain a group blog that tackles a local and contemporary trend, topic, or theme in a “journalistic” way (see how to add multiple users here). This post describes the requirements, how you’ll be evaluated, and what’s due next week – oh yeah, and the group assignments.
For your group blog work, you will:
- Provide original content through your own reporting and analysis
- Connect with and engage your “community” of interest.
To complete this project, you’ll need to draw on the skills you’ve developed so far (as well as those to come) and work as a team. It’s up to your group to make sure everyone’s strengths are brought into play. The result should be not just an interesting conversation piece that flickers into existence for a few weeks, but a robust and engaging addition to your portfolio that will set you apart in the job market (feel free to look at past students’ work). Who knows – you might even want to continue updating it after class!
Even though this is a team project, though, you’ll be graded individually. This will be judged on the frequency and quality of your posts, comments, and other demonstrable contributions to your online publication.
- Posting frequency: Every person is expected to post at least once per week. Your groups must each arrange and follow a posting schedule to ensure regular updates throughout the week. You will have a posting deadline—if you don’t meet it, you will not get credit for that post.
- Weekly budget: Every Sunday (beginning March 6), your group will email me a budget for the current week and following week. Your budget will include the following:
- Current week: Which stories are you going to run, when (day, date & time), who will write each, and a brief description of each story.
- Following week: May be a little more loose, but should still include the above information.
- Longer term: Identify any bigger or longer-term stories you are pursuing.
- Promotion: What will your group do this week to publicize your blog? What will you be doing to connect to a larger community?
- Comments: You should be reading your group’s blog every day. I expect you to make 5 meaningful comments per week (not all on the same day!). These should be divided between your group blog and some outside blogs of interest (which is good way of attracting like-minded bloggers to your site). Be sure your comments are meaningful!
- Added Value: A plain-text post adds only one level to the conversation. That’s not enough. I expect to see you using your skills with links, images, maps, audio, wikis, and more, as well as integrating the site and its promotion into other social media like Facebook and Twitter.
- Site Add-ons: This includes extras and widgets like blogroll, RSS feeds, etc. Everyone does at least one.
How You’re Evaluated:
Each Sunday (beginning March 13), you will (individually) send me an e-mail memo that includes links to your posts and comments that week (I’ll show you how you can link to specific comments). In that memo, I’d also like to hear a short update on your experience from the past week and your blogging plans for the week ahead—plus any questions or concerns you’d like me to address.
You’ll get a grade for each week’s worth of blog posts (√, √+, √-), rather than a grade for each post individually. If you like to think in terms of points, imagine that each post is worth 10 points and that I would score in the following way:
* 4 pts: Content — Is it interesting? relevant to your blog’s focus? fresh?
* 3 pts: Links — Quality and relevance of the link(s) you included in the post
* 3 pts: Mechanics — Grammar, spelling, punctuation and appropriate style
* Bonus points! … for HTML, outside comments, etc.—beyond-the-call stuff.
Because you’re only expected to post once a week, I’ll expect the writing and ideas to be especially sharp – we’re not looking for long reviews. If you’d rather post more frequent quick hits, rather than two “meaty” posts, I’m open to that. What matters more than the number of posts is the overall quality of the body of work.
Bottom line: Be passionate about blogging. Learn from your mistakes. Just have fun in the process. And you’ll be fine.
Due next week:
- Create your group blog in WordPress and email me the link – due Friday, March 4
- Your group’s first budget: Email me this list of topics and dates for your first two weeks of postings (see above for explanation). It’s your first week, so this may change, but it must be thorough and complete – due Sunday, March 9
- Your group’s first post: A focused mission statement for your group’s blog – due Monday, March 7
One more thing:
In addition to creating a blog, you’ll need to add all your group’s members as authors (you may all be administrators or just choose one member for this role). Follow these steps:
- In your Dashboard, select “Users” from the left bar
- Under “Add User from Community,” enter the new user’s preferred email address
- Choose the new user’s role (contributor, administrator, editor, or author)
- Click “Add user”
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