Why do our students blog?
Many cultural observers have heralded the great democratizing possibilities of the Internet, arguing that those who were once silenced by power and resource inequities can, at least theoretically, broadcast their voices and harness new media to organize and advocate. In this age of communication, rhetoric seems a powerful tool, indeed. Blogging is one such way rhetors can get their message out there, whether they are advocating for political change, building interest communities, sharing experiences and information, or just having fun. Since most blogs are meant for an audience, blogging is an implicitly civic action. Because blogging intimately connects rhetorical practice to civic life and brings together written, oral, visual, and digital media, it’s an ideal activity for this course. Plus, in a 2010 study of blogging in LA 101H, Penn State’s forerunner to RCL,”intensive blogging,” was shown to improve student writing in all areas compared to occasional blogging. This makes sense. The more you practice reading and writing, the better you become.
For RCL I in the Fall, students create two distinct weekly blog categories–a Passion Blog and an RCL Blog—and post entries in both (due before class) for a ten-session blogging period. Each section spends weekly in-class time reading and responding to one another’s blog posts. Indeed, thoughtful commenting on others’ blogs is a significant component of students’ final blog grade.
Sample Passion Blogs