Blog Posting Instructions

By now you’ve read two of my blog posts (“The Palaces of the Telemakhiad” and “Odysseus’ Dirty Linen”) which will hopefully have given you a sense of what I am looking for in these assignments.

Blog posts are meant as discussion starters, and so a part of your grade for them will be determined by whether they do, indeed, generate meaningful engagement from the rest of the class.  Keep this in mind as you write.  You want to raise questions and issues, not foreclose them by giving definitive answers!  At the same time, a good post provides more than a laundry list of possible discussion topics; it conveys a reasoned opinion that others can argue or disagree with.

If you look closely at what I have written, you’ll see that my posts follow a similar structure to a standard literary essay.  They try to open with some sort of “hook,” such as a personal emotional response that I share with my audience, and the first paragraph concludes with a thesis statement.  They also (and this is extremely important!) incorporate quotations from primary sources into the argument.

The overall structure of these posts, however, is much looser than it would be in a formal paper.  I don’t provide an exhaustive analysis of my thesis, but lay out a roadmap for how future discussions might relate to it.  And I don’t try to tie everything up in a neat ribbon in the last paragraph.  And obviously, my language is more colloquial than it would be in a standard paper.

Don’t mistake informality for lack of rigor, however.  Spelling, grammatical accuracy and care with your quotations still count just as much as they would in every other assignment (they do for your comments as well, by the way!)  And please don’t forget to stick to the prescribed word length of 700-800 words!

I recommend that you write your post in your usual text editor, such as MS-Word.  Once you are done, follow these steps to submit your assignment:

1)      Log into your WordPress user account.
2)      A series of brown drop-down menus will appear on the top of your screen.  Go to “My Blog” and select “New Post”
3)      Copy and paste your blog post into the large text field that will now appear on your screen.  WordPress is pretty good about incorporating outside formatting, but you should still carefully proofread what you have written.  The buttons above the text field will allow you to make formatting changes, if necessary.
4)      Pay special attention to the “Insert More” button, which is the fourth from the right.  This will allow you to insert a “Jump” into your text, i.e. to control how much of your post will be displayed on the front page.  Putting the “Jump” right after your first paragraph is generally a good idea, so place your cursor there, and then hit the “Insert More” button.
5)      Don’t forget to give your post a catchy title, and place it in the text field reserved for this purpose!
6)      Leave all other fields (such as “Excerpt” and “Send Trackbacks”) blank.

You can preview your blog post by clicking the appropriate button in the “Publish” pane on the right.  Once you like what you see, hit “Submit for Review”!  Remember that I will need to approve all of your posts before they go up, so publication to the blog won’t be instantaneous.

Tuesday blog posts should be submitted no later than midnight on Sunday, to allow for plenty of discussion time.  Thursday blog posts should be submitted by Wednesday at noon.

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