Blog & Discussion Guidelines

Each week, two or three students will write a blog post in anticipation of Friday’s class. These posts are intended to be a starting point for both leading discussion on Friday and a potential starting point for the midterm and final papers.

Each post needs to address the following questions in addition to other ones of your own devising:

  1. How would we read the popular culture topic through the critical theory we have talked about that week?
  2. How do you feel about this kind of reading? What does it enlighten or obscure?

Each post must be at least 500 words, appropriate to the subject matter listed on the syllabus. You should write in an appropriately academic style, though casual uses of slang and first-person- and second-person address are also permitted. You should also include photos, links, and/or other content relating to the pop culture topic, so that the rest of the class can be educated, or at least on the same page, about that topic. You should present some critical thought or question that could be discussed in more depth during class the following day. Posts are due by noon each Thursday.

Afterward, the rest of the class will provide constructive comments on those posts. Each comment should be around 200 words, providing a deeper analysis of how our readings relate to the popular topic, a different viewpoint on the subject, and/or more information. We will use these posts and comments as a jumping-off point for our discussions on Friday; as well, you should think of your comments as a way to help your fellow students think through their potential paper topics.

In class on Fridays, the students who wrote the main posts will be responsible for leading discussion, using the ideas and questions they posed in their blog posts. The rest of the class will be very enthusiastic participants. This will count toward a large portion of your participation grade.


Topic Sign-Up:

Twitter (9/4): Michael, Patrizio

Hashtags (9/11): Camron, Claudia

Facebook (9/18): Patrizio, Claudia

LinkedIn (9/25): Fares

Pumpkin Spice (10/2): Patrizio, Quinn

Selfies (10/9): Claudia, Fares

*Ferguson (10/14): Camron

Apple Products (10/23): Patrizio, Michael

The University (10/30): Camron, Michael

Female Pop Stars (11/6): Quinn, Claudia

Gay Best Friend (11/13): Quinn, Fares

Diversity (11/20): Extra Credit

Coffee Imports (12/4): Michael, Fares

*The Holiday Industry (12/9): Camron, Quinn

*Posts on these days must be submitted by noon on the Tuesday before class.

These topics can shift, should we collectively come to an agreement during class for better topics.


General rubric for blog posts:

A-level: Blog is written in a clear manner and student has obviously thought critically about both the readings from the week and the pop culture topic. Blog presents invigorating ideas and questions for discussion.

B-level: Blog is written in a clear manner and is on topic, but student has not pushed his/her thinking beyond what has been discussed in previous classes; ideas are somewhat redundant. Blog presents fair questions, but some may be lower-level (yes/no, agree/disagree).

C-level: Writing style is lacking in finesse, with numerous grammatical and/or spelling errors. Student has presented ideas that are off-topic or do not deal vigorously with critical readings. Most ideas and questions are not challenging and do not relate to the critical theory in any real way.

D-level: Writing style is nearly incomprehensible. Post does not even mention critical theory.

F: Post unsubmitted.

Late posts will result in a lower letter grade by the hour.


General Rubric for Discussion (both leaders and participants)

A-level: Makes a high number of comments each class. Comments are constructive and challenging, almost always taking the class deeper or in an interesting direction.

B-level: Makes a fair number of comments each class. Comments are mostly constructive, but can be sometimes off-topic.

C-level: Does not contribute well to class, making only a requisite one or two comments each day. Comments may be aggressive, disruptive, or disrespectful.

D-level: Does not contribute at all to class or is consistently disrespectful to other participants.

F-level: Does not show up to class.

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