Posted in Teaching, Writing

Blogging Beyond English 111

This semester, I required you to create and maintain a blog for a variety of reasons, including these:

  • To create a sense of community outside of the classroom
  • To provide a platform for presenting your work to a broader online audience
  • To foster a practice that can continue long after the semester ends. Your blog can evolve to suit your personal or professional needs.

Blog Response Assignment

The assignment that follows serves several purposes. It introduces you to some of the ways that students at other colleges have used blogs, it offers an exercise in integrating a source into your writing, and it provides an opportunity to consider ways you may expand your blog after the end of the semester.

Directions

  1. Read and take notes on The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers.”
  2. Compose a comment that integrates a quotation or a paraphrase from the article. Introduce the quotation or paraphrase with a signal phrase. Include a parenthetical citation if you do not name the author, Matt Richtel, in the signal phrase. See the examples below the directions.
  3. Follow the quotation with your own observations about blogging, including how your blog might evolve after the semester’s end. Adding or revising an “About” page, posting your résumé, and turning your blog into one that focuses on an interest of yours are just a few of the possibilities.
  4. Before noon on Monday, November 30, post your comment as a reply to this post. To do that, scroll down to the bottom of the post, and look for the image of the air mail envelope. If you do not see it, click on the post’s title, “Blogging Beyond English 111,” and scroll down again. 

To minimize the risk of duplication, I will not make your comments visible until after the noon deadline.

Examples of Integrated Sources

  • Matt Richtel reports that Duke University Professor* Cathy Davidson “makes heavy use of the blog and the ethos it represents of public, interactive discourse.”
  • Professor Andrea Lundsford notes that students at Stanford University “still seem to benefit from learning how to present their research findings in both traditional print and new media” (qtd. in Richtel).

The second example includes a parenthetical citation because the quoted words are Lundsford’s, but the author of the article is Matt Richtel.

If you address your blog in your reflective essay, you may use Richtel’s article as one of your sources.


*When “Blogs vs. Terms” was published in The New York Times, Cathy Davidson was a professor of English at Duke University. She is now Distinguished Professor of English and Founding Director at the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

51 thoughts on “Blogging Beyond English 111

  1. Professor Davidson noted that his university students must publish a blog, “Instead of writing a quarterly term paper, students now regularly publish 500- to 1,500-word entries on an internal class blog about the issues and readings they are studying in class, along with essays for public consumption.”

    1. Santino,
      Will you maintain your WordPress blog after English 111? If so, how will it evolve? If not, note in your response that you have no plans to keep blogging.

  2. William H. Fitzhugh, founder of the concord review Explains that, ” educators shy away from rigorous academic writing, giving students the relative ease of writing short essays.” That is not necessarily true in collage, but in high school students do not learn how to write long essays anymore.

    1. Luke, will you maintain your WordPress blog after English 111? If so, how will it evolve? If not, note in your response that you have no plans to keep blogging.

  3. Professor Davidson from Michigan State University talks about her student stating “The sad thing is, he’s now convinced there is brilliance in the art world, brilliance in the multimedia world, brilliance in the music world and that writing is boring” (qtd. in Richtel). I personally relate to Professor Davidson’s student, and how he started to feel towards writing after being forced to follow the rules of normalcy in the subject. Around the year 2012 or so my education started to hit a blank when classes like Common Core Math 1, and English 1 were implemented. The change in education that was given to us like test mice back then has honestly destroyed a lot of common intelligence in kids now a days. I’ll even admit that my Electronics teacher during my junior year of high school had to reteach us math because the whole class was so bad at it. I have trouble focusing on classes or subjects I don’t like, or can’t relate to. Even though I went to respected schools that were labeled magnet schools, or just respected high star rating schools I often find my lack in good education to effect my daily life depressingly. English has always felt like a boring and trivial class for me sadly, and I don’t mean to disrespect all the effort the teachers and professors that work with me give, but I think its due to my foundation and introduction into the subject that I’ve fallen off from it so hard. Hopefully the destruction of good American education is given more light in the future, but I honestly think it has already shown itself this present in the worst of ways.

    1. Lucas, will you maintain your WordPress blog after English 111? If so, how will it evolve? If not, note in your response that you have no plans to keep blogging. I recommend Cathy Davidson’s book The New Education (2017). In it, she addresses some of the same issues that you touched on in your comment.

  4. Stanford University Professor Andrea Lundsford observed “even after presenting information to their media platform instead of the traditional print method, students are still benefiting today.” Moving forward I feel maintaining my blog on wordpress will help me broaden my audience and better develop my platform on a professional level when it comes to creating and adding to my resume.

    1. Calista, adding your resume to your blog and linking it to your cover letter will likely give you an edge over other applicants. I encourage you to add an “About” page as well.

  5. In the article *Blog vs. Term Papers*, author Matt Ritchel reports that for many students, writing a blog “gives the writer the immediacy of an audience, a feeling of relevancy, instant feedback from classmates or readers, and a practical connection to contemporary communications.” This point, along with others outlining the benefits of writing a blog as opposed to writing traditional term papers, resounds with me as a student, especially since I am one of a growing number of students that are required to write a blog in at least one of their classes. I agree one hundred percent with the arguments Ritchel provides throughout his article, and I think that other people who read this article will be swayed toward the benefits of blog-writing. I think that when this semester ends, I’ll definitely be making changes in my own blog. For one, I think I’ll focus on publishing my original work; short stories and poems, as opposed to focusing on blogs for my class. Additionally, I’ll be revising my personal ‘About Me’ page to better reflect how I’ve changed over the course of the semester and over the course of quarantine.

    1. Jordan, I’m glad that you’re planning to revise your “About Me” page to reflect how you have “changed over the course of the semester and over the course of the quarantine.” Some magazines and journals–both print and digital–do not publish poetry and short fiction that has previously appeared on the writer’s blog–and some writing contests do not accept entries that have been published as blog posts either. To avoid limiting your opportunities for awards and publications, I recommend posting only excerpts of any work that you may want to submit elsewhere.

  6. In Matt Richtel’s article we are presented with a modern-day debate of “old literacy” versus “new literacy.” Within this publication we hear several different opinions and observations from those tackling this challenge. One of those comes from Stanford professor Andrea Lunsford as she states, “we’re trying to figure out how to preserve sustained, logical, carefully articulated arguments while engaging with the most exciting and promising new literacies.” This specific quotation from Lunsford stood out to me as it is something I related to throughout creating my own blog as I navigated the process of integrating both literature and technology into one. Sense I have come to find myself to be an “old school” type of writer, navigating these new forms of writing wasn’t the easiest thing for me. Ultimately however, creating a blog challenged my ability to access different forms of publication and stemmed creative thoughts as to how things can be shared/what audience it can reach. Maintaining this blog for futuristic use I believe I will turn it into a way to share my creative outlook and reach potential consumers/ broaden my networking abilities.

    1. Kellyn, I’m glad you’re considering how your blog may evolve both to showcase your creativity and serve as your professional presence online. Adding your resume and linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants. Regarding your reference to “potential consumers”: Are you exploring the option of using your blog as a source of revenue?

  7. Distinguished Professor Cathy Davidson notes that “this mechanistic writing is a real disincentive to creative but untrained writers” (qtd. in Richtel)
    Ever since I started blogging, I’ve come to realize that having a personal blog helps keep me centered. It’s also freeing, I can post my words and thoughts exactly as they are. I don’t have to care about fitting a certain mold, I can be as creative as I want.
    After this semester, I’d probably turn this blog into an “About” page. I’ll refine and redefine my blog into a link that tells more about the person I am, my interests, and my strengths. It’ll be another means of connecting to and knowing me.

    1. Justina, an “About” page is usually one feature of a multi-page site. I recommend adding your resume and linking it to the cover letters that you submit for jobs and internships. That may give you an edge over other applicants.

  8. In The New York Times magazine, Matt Richtel states “Why not replace a staid writing exercise with a medium that gives the writer the immediacy of an audience, a feeling of relevancy, instant feedback from classmates or readers, and a practical connection to contemporary communications?” In my own experience writing a blog has been much easier and rewarding then writing a three page paper, with a blog I can get critiques and encouragement and help almost instantly, while a paper has to be graded and only the teacher can see it.

    After the semester ends I plan to grow my WordPress blog into a collection of my poems, short stories, and book ideas. I will post rough drafts and finished products of stories and ideas that I have. Hopefully I receive some critiques and help form others who are interested in what I am writing about and want to grow with me!

    1. Alyssa, I’m glad that you’re planning to maintain your blog as a platform for your writing. Some magazines and journals–both print and digital–do not publish poetry and short fiction that has previously appeared on the writer’s blog–and some writing contests do not accept entries that have been published as blog posts either. To avoid limiting your opportunities for awards and publications, I recommend posting only excerpts of any work that you may want to submit elsewhere.

  9. I believe that a blog is a better way to exercise one’s writing abilities while also not having to go through the stress and frustration of writing a 15 page term paper. Matt Richtel reports that Professor Lundsford, “collected data on students from their writing and came to the conclusion that student enjoy writing for an audience. Students feel like they’re writing something personal and actually getting something out of it instead of only writing for the grade within the class”.

    I plan to evolve my blog after the semester ends by posting a resume to help with any other future jobs I may apply for and even write an “About Me” page. It would help employers get an idea who they may be hiring and decide whether or not I meet they’re requirements for the job position.

    1. Joe, adding your resume to your blog and linking it to your cover letter will likely give you an edge over other applicants. I encourage you to add an “About” page as well.

  10. Matt Richtel addresses the issue that high school and college students blog papers instead of writing papers because they don’t find writing interesting. He states a claim made by William H. Fitzhugh that “part of the problem is that teachers are asking students to read less, which means less substance – whether historical, political, or literary – to focus a term paper on”. I feel that in the future I can use my blog to share any achievements or memories made with family and friends. I could use it to write reviews about new restaurants I’ve tried, new places I’ve visited, etc. Hopefully whoever reads any of those will try some of the stuff I experienced or something similar and share their experience on their blog for others to read.

    1. Josh, I’m glad that you’re contemplating developing your blog into a platform for your restaurant reviews and travel writing. I recommend adding your resume as well. Linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants.

  11. Matt Richtel reports a study by William H. Fitzhugh that “A study in 2002 estimated that about 80 percent of high school students were not asked to write a history term paper of more than 15 pages”.
    Regarding blogging, my blog after this semester may be disused.

    1. Andrew, you’re under no obligation to maintain your blog, but I encourage you to think of how it can serve as your professional presence online. Consider adding your resume. Linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants. If maintaining your WordPress blog doesn’t appeal to you, explore other blog platforms, such as Blogger, Wix, Google sites, and GoDaddy.

  12. Lunsford, a professor of English at Stanford. “We’re trying to figure out how to preserve sustained, logical, carefully articulated arguments while engaging with the most exciting and promising new literacies.”
    Many people maybe be against blogging but in my opinion I feel like blogging is a good way to share my work and for everyone to understand it since I write sloppy. Blogging is a good way for more audience to see what we think our for example Whenever I wrote about my career it was a good way and easy way for my class mate to know more about my self whenever I wrote about my career Plans.

    1. David, will you maintain your WordPress blog after English 111? If so, how will it evolve? If not, note in your response that you have no plans to keep blogging.

  13. “Writing term papers is a dying art, but those who do write them have a dramatic leg up in terms of critical thinking, argumentation and the sort of expression required not only in college, but in the job market,” says Douglas B. Reeves, a columnist for the American School Board Journal and founder of the Leadership and Learning Center.
    In my opinion I think that writing papers is an art and it’s something that we will always need and specially if we are applying for a job, in some job they require to write something about your self. But blogging is something that help us a lot this day like for example we used it on our English class to turn our work in. I feel like blogging also help our teachers to grade our work easily.

    1. Saul, will you maintain your WordPress blog after English 111? If so, how will it evolve? If not, note in your response that you have no plans to keep blogging. On another note: Blog posts aren’t easier to grade than traditional assignments, but requiring students to post their essays as blog posts enables them to present their work in more visually appealing ways and also provides them with a broader online audience.

  14. Matt Richtel reports that blogging in contrast to writing a paper is “relatively fun”. With close reading and observation to his opinion, I have concluded that I disagree. Having to keep up a blog post this fall was less productive than writing a paper that integrates developed evidence and knowledge. In my opinion, blogging is not for everyone, my blog will most likely not evolve after the fall semester at GTCC.

    1. Adriana, you’re under no obligation to maintain your blog, but I encourage you to think of how it can serve as your professional presence online. Consider adding your resume. Linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants. If maintaining your WordPress blog doesn’t appeal to you, explore other blog platforms, such as Blogger, Wix, Google sites, and GoDaddy.

  15. Matt Richtel reports that Duke University Professor Cathy Davidson “instead of writing quarterly term paper use the blog and the ethos it represents of public, interactive discourse”. I also believe that the blog is better than a quarterly paper and can make those who like more social interactions more engaged. For me my blog most likely not grow out side of the class.

    1. Raymond, you’re under no obligation to maintain your blog, but I encourage you to think of how it can serve as your professional presence online. Consider adding your resume. Linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants. If maintaining your WordPress blog doesn’t appeal to you, explore other blog platforms, such as Blogger, Wix, Google sites, and GoDaddy.

  16. In “Blogs vs. Term Papers” Professor Davidson states that “This mechanistic writing is a real disincentive to creative but untrained writers,” for the report of Cathy N. Davidson, an English professor at Duke, wants to eradicate the term paper and replace it with the blog.

    1. Henry, will you maintain your WordPress blog after English 111? If so, how will it evolve? If not, note in your response that you have no plans to keep blogging.

  17. Matt Richtel reports that Cathy Davidson at Duke University allows her students to “Instead of writing a quarterly term paper, students now regularly publish 500- to 1,500-word entries on an internal class blog about the issues and readings they are studying in class, along with essays for public consumption.” I agree with blogging because you expose a part of you to the world whether it’s about a research paper or if its about your interest and who you are as a person. People will get to have an opinion they can give you feedback on what they think maybe they agree and maybe they disagree and tell you why then you learn a variety of perspectives. After this class ends my blog will my more focused on my interests and things that I learn on the way through life.

    1. Pharah, I’m glad that you’re contemplating developing your blog to reflect your personal interests. I recommend adding your resume as well. Linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants.

  18. Matt Richtel reports that professor Andrea Lundsford of Stanford states that,“We’re at a crux right now of where we have to figure out as teachers what part of the old literacy is worth preserving,” and “We’re trying to figure out how to preserve sustained, logical, carefully articulated arguments while engaging with the most exciting and promising new literacies.” Blogging over this semester has helped me become a more open minded writer with more creativity behind my words. my blog will most likely evolve into a little life story, like ill give updates time to time on how my life has been going with school/work/internships, ill right about anything if I can, but most of all my blog will become a place where a possible employer can see what I’m about and how I can fit in inside his/her workplace.

    1. Sean, I’m glad that you’re considering how your blog may evolve both to chronicle your daily life and serve as your professional presence online. Adding your resume and linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants.

  19. In The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, the readers are seeing the argument of whether students should be writing in blogs or term papers. We showed the pros and cons of both. Some pros for writing blogs include giving creativity and represents an “interactive discourse.” A con for writing blogs include failing to teach students the key aspects of thinking and writing. Some pros for writing term papers include learning how to professionally write and learning the style. Some cons for writing term papers include it takes at least 30 minutes for a professor to grade one, and students are less engaged and only feel as they are producing a grade from it. The author, Matt Richtel, had ended the argument well. He states, “As Professor Lunsford illustrates, choosing to educate using either blogs or term papers is something of false opposition. Teachers can use both. And blogs, a platform that seems to encourage rambling exercises in personal expression, can also be well crafted and meticulously researched. At the same time, the debate is not a false one: while some educators fear that informal communication styles are increasing duress on traditional training, others find the actual paper fundamentally anachronistic.” I also agree with Professor Lunsford, as papers do not need to be serious 100 percent of the time, and we can have some fun blogging too. Blogging for the first time has been a fun experience, as I can add pictures to papers, read other blogs, and comment on other blogs. My blog probably won’t have anything added to it after the semester ends, just because I am a very busy student with a part-time job. I will add it to my résumé without a doubt, and it will remain public.

    1. Kaiya, I’m glad you plan to add your résumé to your blog. Finding time to create new content is a challenge, especially when you’re scrambling to fulfill your responsibilities for school and work. I encourage you to try developing posts incrementally (a sentence here, a phrase there). In addition to adding your resume, I recommend updating your “About” page.

  20. Professor Andrea Lunsford believes her students at Stanford equate blogging with “actually producing something personally rewarding and valuable,” as opposed to writing a term paper, which “they feel as if they do so only to produce a grade.” I’ve heard many times about how schools and employers can find a student/ job applicant’s bad internet presence. It would be beneficial to have a good internet presence where your resume of jobs and classes were posted as well as blog entries detailing your interests. It can help someone learn more about you than just what they get from an essay and a transcript. I plan to expand my blog in this way, especially by adding a resume.

    1. Olivia, I’m glad that you’re considering how your blog may evolve to serve as your professional presence online. Adding your resume and linking it to the cover letters that you submit for internships and jobs will likely give you an edge over other applicants.

  21. Matt Richtel reports that Cathy N. Davidson, an English professor at Duke, wants to eradicate the term paper and replace it with the blog. That being said, I will still try to use my blog that we had created this semester. I will be using it for my job applications and adding on a resume.

  22. In The New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, discussed whether or not a blogs should that should be integrated into the college writing courses. Matt Richtel’s was talked to various college professors and put together some of the pros and cons of the both. using rhetorical situation in his writing, he able to write an interesting article that in the end and some readers would think to be a little bias.

  23. In the New York Times article “Blogs vs. Term Papers”, author Matt Richtel contemplates the views of several different professors in debate over the developing future of classroom writing. The debate can be simplified to whether the old, long written way writing was more about content or structure and whether blogs would be better adapt to answer what the need to about the topics. Andrea A. Lunsford, an English professor at Stanford University, believes that her and other teachers must decide for themselves what is worth being preserved from the traditional classroom.

    I would like to continue my blog on subjects that I am interested in following the end of the semester, at some point maybe adding my resume and updating my about page. Mainly I would like to use it as a creative outlet.

  24. Matt Richell states, “A study in 2002 estimated that about 80 percent of high school students were not asked to write a history term paper of more than 15 pages.” in Blogs vs. Terms article on The New York Times. Going forward, I do not believe I will keep up with my blog. I am a future career machinist and devote all of my time into learning the ways of machining and what it takes. I don’t see how the blog will benefit me or my time in the future. I struggled to keep up with it, due to me not being able to enter my moodle or email for some time. But also, I wasn’t driven to continue with the blog as it has no appeal to me.

  25. Douglas B. Reeves, a columnist for the American School Board Journal and founder of the Leadership and Learning Center explains that “Writing term papers is a dying art, but those who do write them have a dramatic leg up in terms of critical thinking, argumentation and the sort of expression required not only in college, but in the job market.” This is a useful quote for my last paper because I talk about the important of using both blogs and writing term papers.

  26. Williamson H. Fitzhugh said “part of the problem is that teachers are asking students to read less, which means less substance — whether historical, political or literary — to focus a term paper on” (qtd. in Richtel) In my perspective Blogging hasn’t really changed anything about my academic skills in English, I agree with Williamson H. Fitzhugh that we as students don’t really read anymore. the most we read is articles and a book thats set up like a comic book. After the semester ends I do plan to continue my blog but as a resource for my art work. Hopefully with me using the blog page as a resource ill be able to get more attention on my work and start doing work for people.

  27. Professor Andrea Lunsford comments “Pointedly, why punish with a paper when a blog is, relatively fun?” (qtd. in Richtel). Blogging is definitely a creative and responsive outlet for receiving feedback on one’s writing. The convince of people being able to access your work and being able to communicate with you actively gives an encouraging effect to the writer. With everything I’ve learned about blogging, I definitely feel more confident and motivated to read and write more.

  28. According to Matt Richtel, a reporter at The New York Times, “Professor Lunsford concluded that students feel much more impassioned by the new literacy. They love writing for an audience, engaging with it. They feel as if they are actually producing something personally rewarding and valuable, whereas when they write a term paper, they feel as if they do so only to produce a grade.” I think student feel free to express themselves that in a formal writing.
    Writing is not really my strength, but I will try to keep my blog active for all my school assignment.

  29. Stanford University Professor Andrea Lundsford observed “even after presenting information to their media platform instead of the traditional print method, students are still benefiting today.” I believe that this Blog could help me beyond this class by showing my audience a different side of me and also i get to put my thought out their and see if other people have the same ideas as me.

  30. New York Times author Matt Richtel, concluded that a term paper makes students write a paper that they can explain defend and repeat. the blog post is the new way to enforce those rules while working on a students creativity to help make a good writer

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