This semester, you will keep a Civic Issues blog. Each blog will focus on an issue within one of four main categories. Click on each category listed below to view questions that will help you select your focus.
The blog will focus on the selected issue for the entire semester. Features of successful Civic Issues Blogs are:
~submitted in a timely fashion on the assigned week;
~will be around 700 words and will incorporate and link to at least two sources;
~will offer a thoughtful presentation and analysis of the topic. The writer should be “intervening” in a debate rather than “sounding off” on a topic;
~will engage its readers will crisp prose, sensible organization, and opportunities for the reader to engage in dialog;
~will represent in its entirety a focused investigation and analysis of a topic
~will make civility a crucial goal in its style in an attempt to bring readers to the table for a productive interaction.
For some places to turn for research-based, longer-form pieces as examples and for information, review Cultural-Commentary-Sources.
The blog will focus on a selected issue for the entire semester. The questions in each category above are meant to be generative—that is, students are welcome to articulate a civic issue within one of these categories that they do not see reflected in the questions. It’s also the case that some of the questions might overlap, so you shouldn’t feel too constrained by that. For example, if you choose to blog about civic discourse in the U.S., you may end up blogging frequently about party politics. Some issues (e.g., hate speech) could fit within multiple categories (along with free speech in politics, or under Education as campus hate speech). In that case, you will want to choose the broader category that best captures their emphasis and interests.
As you choose a category and issue, you might think about what sparked your interest last semester. Are you interested in exploring issues related to your TED Talk or Paradigm shift paper? Did something you read in an RCL post or saw in a History of a Public Controversy video spark a conversation that you’d like to continue? You might also consider your own interests. What blogs do you follow? What news stories catch your eye? What issues are you curious to know more about? The issue you choose need not be something you’re an expert on; instead, think of this blog as a time to explore this issue and build understanding and opinions through informal research and conversations with peers.
As indicated on your syllabus, you will be required to post on your Civic Issues blog about once a month. On the weeks you do not blog, you will be expected to write robust responses to your blog group’s CI blog entries. Each Civic Issue Blog entry should be around 700 words and should incorporate at least two sources (which you should link to, if possible). Please use the broad category and the specific issue within that category as tags. (E.g. environment, water OR education, state funding).
Responses should be about 300-400 words in length and incorporate at least one source (which you should link to, if possible). Original posts are due by 5pm on Wednesdays. If someone on the team neglects to post their blog on their designated day, other team members should seek out blogs by other members of the class to comment on. Responses are due NO LATER THAN 8AM ON FRIDAYS. Late work will not be counted.
Failure to post a Civic Issue blog will result in an automatic 20 point deduction from the final blog grade. Failure to post a comment will result in an automatic 15 point deduction from the final blog grade.