Blog assignment

Blog Assignment: ENGL 3170—Science Fiction

Professor Ken Simpson

Marks: 10

Length: (1)at least one blog of 200 words that embeds hyperlinks and other media including photos, video, and/or music); and (2) several comments on the posts of others

Purpose: to give students the opportunity to (a) respond to literature in forms other than the essay (b) develop writing/blogging skills (a hybrid of visual and verbal expression) (c) develop thinking skills


The blog is an online conversation among students that provides more detail and depth about issues connected to the course than is possible in the classroom. The most effective use of the blog occurs when posts are interconnected and part of an unfolding thread of dialogue, both in terms of a substantial post (200 words and embedded media) and comments that respond to other posts. Thus, each student is expected to contribute at least one substantial post and several comments that are constructive in responding to others.

Ultimately, this exercise could also develop essay writing skills, especially in developing a thesis, analyzing issues related to science fiction, and getting feedback about ideas. This is a chance to explore ideas that might find their way into an essay at a later stage. Float an idea and see what others have to say as a way of developing your ideas; launch a probe to see what forms of life are out there.

Since the focus is on the blog as a site of exploration and conversation, I will not be assigning marks based on form or accuracy (except in a limited way as I note clarity of expression) but on your constructive use of the medium (where “constructive” means responding with genuine intellectual curiosity in your substantial post and with sensitivity to others in your comments).

Please note that copyright issues regarding material that you might want to embed in a post and the basic skills of authoring, embedding, creating links, etc. will be addressed in a seminar presented by Brian Lamb of the Centre for Student Engagement and Learning Innovation. Issues of confidentiality/privacy will be addressed by (1) informing students of the issues (2) using pseudonyms (3) avoiding the disclosure of personal information (4) requesting consent. I will monitor the blog only to ensure that the exchange of ideas is respectful.


For a mark of 9-10

  • Minimum of 2 blog posts (200 word minimum each)
  • At least one post is exploratory in thought and form (includes photos, video, links to other ideas, etc.) while the other can be text only
  • Excellent writing, on topic
  • At least 5 constructive comments on others


For a mark of 7– 8         

  • 1 blog post (200 word minimum)
  • Some exploration in thought and form
  • Well written, on topic
  • 3 constructive comments on others

For a mark of 4 – 6 

  • 1 blog (100 words)
  • Text only
  • Satisfactory writing, on topic often
  • 2 constructive comments on others


For a mark of 0 –3 

  • One short blog (less than 50 words)
  • Text only
  • Unsatisfactory writing, off topic, disrespectful of others
  • No comments on others

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