Blog Posts 1-5 (25%)
This semester, you will publish five blog posts to the class website. These posts will appear on the site’s front page and serve for a short time as the “face” of our class to the outside world. Professional writers find composing blog posts a helpful exercise because it puts them in direct touch with their readers and gives them practice fleshing out new and sometimes risky ideas. I am primarily interested in keeping you thinking about country music outside of the classroom and giving you additional opportunities writing using digital methods.
- Posts should be 400-600 words in length.
- Topics: In Posts 1 & 5 you must write on specific topics (see below). In Posts 2-4 you may write on any topic of your choice so long as it has not already been covered by a previous author, it has something to do with country music, and you explain why it’s worth bringing to your readers’ attention at this point in time.
- Some ideas include reviewing a song, video or concert; discussing the implications of a recent piece of country news; responding to a post by another student or a blogger on another site; explaining why you think a particular song or artist should better appreciated; interviewing a performer, venue-owner, or other country “insider,” and delving deeper into a topic that was raised in class.
- You may contribute no more than one listicle/list post because they make the site slower to load.
- Write titles, sentences, and paragraphs that are short and easy to read. For specific suggestions, see Michael Reid Roberts on writing clickbait articles.
- Keep readers interested by embedding images or videos. Place smaller images along the left margin and wrap the text so that readers’ eyes can keep moving through the post without having to do unnecessary scrolling.
- Use hyperlinks to give credit to other writers on the class site and elsewhere when you borrow or respond to their ideas. Note that “using a hyperlink” does not mean copying the URL into the text of your post. To add a hyperlink, highlight a small chunk of text that you want to turn into the link and then click the button in the toolbar that looks like a chain link.
- Be nice. Encourage readers to leave you a comment.
- Submitting your post: You will submit a draft of Blog Post 1 to Canvas. All other posts you will submit directly to the class website. To begin a post, log into the class website and then click the + button at the top of the page. When you have finished your post, click “Save Draft.” Dusty will schedule your post to be published within a few days after you submit it.
Blog Post 1 (draft & final)
Explain the role that country music plays in a community that you belong to. According to the authors of the book Critical Situations, a community is–
the place where our strongest commitments lie. It is where we have our closest connections, our greatest pleasures, and our most serious problems. Our earliest community consists of of immediate family, and later, of other relatives and friends. Friendships are formed through proximity at first–as children we play with the kids next door rather than those living across town–but friendships can also form when we begin to associate with larger groups or communities: first grade, Sunday school, the street corner, the playground at a nearby park. As we grow older the communities to which we commit ourselves expand to include more structured groups: the chess club, the football team, band, debate, fans of the White Stripes or Lost, sororities, other members of our sociology class, and so on. . . . We adopt religious belief, or not, and it might be said that our fellow believers in Lutheranism or Wicca or atheism form a community of sorts. We adopt a politics, or not, and it might be said that Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats, and Democratic Socialists each form a like-minded community. (8-9)
In the post, you should clearly identify and describe one community that you belong to, and then proceed to explain how country music figures into that community. Do you and other members of the community listen to particular country songs? Does the community use country music as a way to distinguish itself from other communities? Does the community avoid country music for one reason or another?
Upload your draft of the post to Canvas as a doc, docx, or pdf file. You may embed images, videos, and/or hyperlinks in the draft, or you may wait to integrate these items in the final version.
Blog Post 5 (Experiences reflection)
Sometime before the post is due, complete four activities from this list of country music experiences. In the post, describe the three activities you completed and embed photos, tweets, etc., that document your participation. At the end of the post, explain how your perception of country music has evolved over the course of the semester and specifically the role that these three events played in that evolution. (Personal request: Don’t watch Country Strong.)
Note: You are welcome to write about the individual experiences in Blog Posts 2-4. Just please don’t repeat exactly the same information in Post 5.
Blog Comments 1-28 (10%)
Since the point of blogging is starting conversations, you will also contribute at least 24 comments to posts that have been written by other students. Comments earning course credit will be thoughtful and at least 100 words in length.
- You may respond to the original post or another person’s comment.
- You may also write responses to comments that other students have left on your own posts.
- To receive credit, your comment must contribute meaningfully to the conversation. That is, it must do more than simply agree or disagree with what has already been written.
Due date: Blog comments are due every Monday at 11:00 am. Although you will have 28 opportunities leave comments, you are only required to leave 24. Your 4 lowest scores will be dropped.