Students are responsible for creating and maintaining a course blog. Blog posts will be assigned and are due by classtime. Students also must comment on three other student blogs per week. These responses are due every Friday by 5pm. Blogs and blog responses are 25% of your final grade.
- Blog Post #1 (due 1/27): In order to test your blog, write a short response describing your experience getting the blog up and running. Also, consider if any of your choices along the way seemed rhetorical? Why or why not?
- Blog Post #2 (due 1/29): Search for a topic of your choice through both Google and the WSU Library. Keep track of each step you take, writing down not only the step, but why you made the various decisions you did along the way. Eg:
- Sat at my office desk, opened Firefox version 3.0.5 on my 2GHz Intel Core Duo iMac computer.
- Used the built-in Google search window and searched for--January temperature Pullman, WA.
- Looked at Google results. First hit is labeled Pullman, Washington – Wikipedia. I read the description below which says “Dec 24, 2008…The average density of air in the Pullman vicinity is approximately 1.15…” This didn’t sound like what I was looking for, but I clicked it anyway.
- Ended up in Wikipedia at the entry for Pullman, WA. Looked at contents list which lists “Geography and climate.” Clicked link.
- Read Climate section of entry, which only includes average tempature of warmest and coldest month. Coldest month, however, is listed as January, with average minimum temparture of 22.7 degrees. It occurs to me this isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.
- Return to Google search results.
- Blog Post #3 (due 2/3): First, go back and reread the Foss' "The Nature of Rhetorical Criticism" (see 1/20) and Weinberger's Prologue and Chapter 1 (see 1/22). Second, redo blog #2, searching for ONE topic in BOTH places. You really have to have some concrete in mind, something you want an answer to, otherwise it will be difficult to really search. If you already did this, then you can repost the steps. Third, write appx 400-600 words in which you connect the readings to the actions you made in your search. If this stumps you, think critically about how your searching behaviors are impacted by the rhetorical choices made in the results pages. Ask yourself if any piece of the search seems miscellenous in the way Weinberger describes it. Think about the ordering of things and how it impacts you. Go forth and make connections!
- Blog Post #4 (due 2/5): After installing your theme, describe in what ways your theme choice is rhetorical. Who is your audience? What is your purpose? And how do the visual strategies of the theme encourage the audience to understand you or your material, and/or to engage with the material?
- Blog Post #5 (due 2/12): First, after reading the chapter on the database design process, write a blog post that explains the three normal forms—in your own words—and provides an example of how they might be used. For instance, the chapter includes the example of students taking courses. Use your own example, and assume your audience is someone who is bound and determined to use a flat file instead of a database. So, in addition to explaining the forms, you also have to persuade the person to understand why forms are better in the first place. Second, login to your domain's control panel and gather the following information: Number of MySQL databases used and available, operating system, Apache version, PHP version, MySQL version. You can find this information in the left column of the control panel. Write a second blog post called "System Information" and just put the information there that you have gathered.
- Blog Post #6 (due 2/17): Think back to your search from Blog 2 and 3. In light of your reading and the lecture from 2/10, try to articulate what you think happened on the backend of both searches.
- Blog Post #7 (due 2/19): Log into Facebook as Devin and add yourself as a friend. You can do this the other way around, too, if you'd like; add her, then proceed to play around with her info. Go ahead and do whatever you want to create an identity for Devin. Change her sex, add pictures, change her music and movies preferences, write wall posts both to her and from her. Be aware that if you put her in a network, there will only be the option to change that network two more times before Facebook cuts you off. Watch how, over the next two days, Devin's profile changes. What are you noticing? How are you and your fellow classmates constructing an identity for this person? Why did you choose to execute the changes you made? How much of yourself is reflected in Devin? Or, did you act completely differently than yourself when logged in as Devin, and if so, why? Are you interacting at all with Devin, and how? When you write your blog, I want you to think about the changes that Devin went through in two days. What kind of online persona has she ended up with? What does this say about the ways in which people present themselves online and communicate with others? What has this activity taught you about authenticity and privacy online? Lastly, who is Devin's audience? When editing her content, who do you want to see the changes you made These are guiding questions, mind you; you are in no way required to answer ever question mark in this post. Use the concepts from boyd's article as well as the topics we covered in class - the self, identity, audience and friends, privacy - to craft your blog post. And, please, have fun!
- Blog Post #8 (due 2/26): When it comes to the order of things, Linneaus had it right. Unfortunately, Kristin has it right, Julie has it right, Lauren has it right, and every single one of you has it right. Our orders of things will always differ. But each of us has a set of common things we are attempting to organize: in this class, we are all organizing our blog posts. If a blog post is a bucket of data (and it is), then there are instances of metadata that go along with it. Although there are many different bits of metadata you could work with, focus for a moment on three things: the title of a blog post, the category into which you place that post, and additional tags you attribute to that post. When we, the first organizers, provide these bits of metadata to our readers, they can (according to Weinberger) "pull pieces together" and "contextualize and understand those pices" of data. The vast majority of you have not implemeted categorization or tagging of posts; those who have played with categories have not done so to any great extent. Even more troubling, as far as useful metadata is concerned, is that your blog titles are often completely meaningless! For example, "Blog#4" in the category of "Uncategorized" -- think about the rhetoric behind that sort of (non-)decision -- what does that imply? (That's a rhetorical question). For this blog assignment, first give your blog a useful title. Next, implement categories for this and all your other posts (look in the Posts area of your WordPress dashboard, as well as part of the post creation screen itself). Edit your other posts to put them in categories, and give them informative titles. Finally, for the content of this post, discuss how your previous implementation of metadata (or lack of implementation) adhered/did not adhere to the four points regarding trees as noted on page 70 of the reading. Then, discuss the informational and rhetorical decisions implied in your new implementations of metadata. As far as the length of your posts and the depth of your response, a good minimum for this one would be twice the length of this prompt, which is 372 words.
- Blog Post #9 (due 3/5): This post is based on your group work from 3/3. First, describe the visual you created and describe why you designed it the way you did. Refer to your group members contributions/ideas AND LINK to their blogs when you mention them. Second, describe the connections you made between the reading (either Battelle/google or Tancer/prom) AND the issues we have discussed in class so far. IF YOU WEREN'T IN CLASS do the following: Describe 3 reasons why you think it is important to know how Google started as a business. Make specific references to the reading. Next, describe three reasons why you think it is important to understand how marketers use searches and social networking. Make specific references to the reading.
- Blog Post #10 (due 3/26): Option 1: Describe a time when you violated (accidentally or on purpose) copyright. Did you recognize this violation at that time or after the fact? Describe how this accidental or willful violation illustrates the need for revised copyright laws in the digital age. Please cite the article from 3/24. Option 2: Describe how you understand plagiarism in terms of the copyright or fair use laws (see wikipedia or notes from class today). Describe the repercussions for plagiarism at WSU and explain how you see this connecting to copyright. Please cite the article from 3/24. Option 3:For all you Battlestar Galactica fans: Let's discuss the use of "All Along the Watchtower" in various incarnations throughout seasons. Pick one or more (or all!) and discuss where on the spectrum of originality you think the usage falls, and why. For instance, what do you do with Hera's drawing? Starbuck's recreation on the piano in the bar? Other instances? If you need to refer to definitions of copyright and fair use, the Wikipedia entries are ok (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use). Any references to the article from 3/24 are much appreciated.
- Blog Post #11 (due 4/2): Find 3 articles that discuss some aspect of Yelp (lawsuits, usefulness, history, etc). Write a post that describes the key points from your sources in light of the research questions from your blog. Consider how these sources illuminate the technical and rhetorical functionality and/or implications of Yelp.
- Blog Post #12 (due 4/9): FIRST, Post your research log as it stands so far. Click the "Display All Entries for Copying/Pasting to Your Blog" link on the front page of your log and just copy and paste into wordpress. If you want to, you can do one post per entry, or you can paste them all into one post. SECOND, describe in details two possible paper topics you see emerging from your research thus far. If you're leaning more towards one, specify why.
- Blog Post #13 (due 4/14): Try to settle on a final paper/project topic. Describe your primary research question, that is, what is the question you hope to answer in your paper and presentation? What type of research and/or evidence will help you answer this question? Consider the post an informal project proposal.
- Blog Post #14 and 15 (due 4/24 and 5/1): By Friday of week 14 and 15, you must respond to 5 of your peers' presentations. For 4/24, choose 5 from week 14. For 5/1, choose 5 from week 15. Questions to consider answering:
- Things you liked about the presentation and why
- Things you feel the author might think about/expand for his/her paper
- Any connections you see to class readings and/or discussions that the author didn't make him/herself
Students are responsible for a large research project. The final project is worth 50% of your final grade. See the assignment sheet here.
Participation is based on your attendence, your level of attentiveness in and preparedness for class, your participation in class discussion, and your respect for others. Because we will be working collaboratively on many assignments, and because learning is a communal effort, your regular attendance is important. You can miss two classes with no questions asked. After two absences, in order not to lose points you must contact me and explain your reasoning for the absence. More than five absences will result in a failing grade for the course. Participation is worth 20% of your final grade.