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First Blog Feedback

September 12, 2016

Here is Autumn’s blog post in response to the first week of Walden reading. I refer to her post to highlight a few elements of writing, reading, and blogging that will make for a more effective response. I am not suggesting that this was the only strong blog post (far from it), nor that this is the only way to do the blog. By the way, you are welcome to browse through what classmates are blogging–how they are reading and approaching the assignment. That’s why I have you post your link to the Student Blogs page.

  1. Title. I think of a title as I complete the first draft of a post, as I think about some initial revision, and ask: what has emerged as my central focus, what am I arguing here, beyond the initial summary of the reading? What are some keywords and terms? The title can then start the argument for your reader. Autumn’s “Settling Nature” is a good example. You can certainly do better than: Blog post #1. Mike also provides a good example of how a title can be simple yet highly effective in its simplicity.
  2. Move from the initial reading into the closer reading (both are required), but look for ways to relate the two (which will also help you synthesize the initial reading, to shape the summary toward where you will be going in the closer reading). Note how Autumn’s includes the discussion of houses in the summary, then digs in, by also posing some conflict: her “however” effectively signals this turn.
  3. Identify keywords and terms–in the reading, and then put them to work in your response and argument. This is what Thoreau does. And Autumn does this with some help from the OED. Good practice for the writing projects. You can use the blogging software to play this out further: add “tags” to your post. I also do this to guide my revision: what are my key terms? what’s at stake? Tagging your posts will generate interest from other readers in the wordpress system and beyond–should you be interested. It also helps you categorize and remember what you have been blogging over the semester.
  4. Make links to other discussions, texts, other ideas out in the world, or from your studies elsewhere. Autumn refers back to Burroughs to extend her closer reading, and then links to an environmental artist found in Terrain.org to provide some contrast.
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