Archive for September 12th, 2008

Blogging assignment

We’ve talked around blogging for the first couple of weeks of this class. Now it’s time to go deeper, or at least get our feet wet in preparation for the semester project to come later. So, between now and next Friday’s class, I’d like you to do the following:

1. Pick a topic of particular interest for you and set up a blog to cover that topic. This is more of a “beat” than a diary. Pick a current issue/topic that’s relevant beyond you personally.

2. Build your blog using WordPress. It’s a pretty intuitive system, as you may know already, but spend some time running through each of the menus and categories to become very familiar with how it works. Play around with various blog designs, and try to create your own personalized page header. 

3. Populate your blog with at least 4 posts (although more is better) over the next seven days, mixing up the lengths and styles of posts. Try to make one post no more than 50 words, while another may go as long as 300 words. How do you write a good post or maintain an attractive blog? Some ideas here and here. Also, you’ll find some good suggestions from Mindy McAdams and her class assignment to blog … but, not to worry, I won’t be grading your posts so rigorously. But I will be looking for the right ingredients in your work.

4. Add visual elements to your blog: embedded html video from YouTube, for instance, or an embedded slideshow of photos. Post at least one photo (of your own, or from the Web) and write a caption for it.

5. Add widgets—the add-ons that go in the sidebar of the blog, and can be anything from RSS feeds to hit counters to tag clouds and much more. There are some examples at ReadWriteWeb. You also might get some ideas here. And you can embed links from Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Try to add Google AdSense and earn 25 cents. (UPDATE: More ideas for blog widgets here.)

6. Have fun with this! Be current, interesting, on-topic, and give us some relevant links to outside material … but, above all, just experiment and enjoy yourself. Look at this as an opportunity to break into blogging, if you’re not already familiar with it, before we plunge into the semester project work a little later in the semester.

(In case you’re wondering, I’ll be grading this as part of your larger participation grade. Just show me that you can do the work and enjoy it!)

Meanwhile … this is due by Monday: In the comments section, tell us about your blog and provide a link to it.

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