Recently in Blog Instructions Category

Hey everyone, a couple more things to note before you start blogging. I will be sorting through a large volume of posts coming in at different times, but luckily Kate Briggs has come up with a clever way to organize this process. Since you are making six posts in total, I've created categories (Writing 1-Writing 6) to which you can add your posts*. So if you're doing your third post and you're in Section 12, add it to Writing 3; Section 12 before you post it. The category option appears right below where you type in the body of the post.

I will do grading based on these categories, so if you don't assign your post a category it most likely will not be graded. Also, it doesn't look like you can go back and assign the category after posting, so I would recommend doing it right away so you don't forget. I appreciate your help with this, as it will make things a lot easier for all of us.

One more thing: please add your full name to the end of all posts. Otherwise, all I see is your UMN username.

*I've also decided to divide the categories into sections 12 and 13 for all subsequent writings. Section 12 meets at 2:30 and Section 13 meets at 3:35.

For those who are struggling with posting, including the insertion of images, URLs, etc., a very helpful student in another section has put together a guide with screenshots. Please use this excellent resource if you have any issues.

Hey, we have had a lot of problems with people being unable to post on the blog. One thing we've found is that you can't post if you use a direct link to the blogs. If you are having this problem, login by going to:

Introduction to Blogging

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Hey everyone, it's time to start blogging this week. The first entry is now due on October 2 instead of September 25. Here's a link to Kate Briggs' blog, where you'll find important instructions:

Also, here is the section of the syllabus about blogs. Please review this before blogging, as it includes the grading criteria you are responsible for following.

WRITING ACTIVITIES--worth 6 points each
In addition, we have a writing component for discussion sections. Each section leader will create a UThink blog for their students. You will post on this blog as a contributor six times during the semester, and read posts by your classmates. Posts are due no later than 11:59 PM on the following dates. Late posts will penalized 2 points per day.

Post #1: Sunday, Oct 2.
Post #2: Sunday, Oct 9
Post #3: Sunday, Oct 23
Post #4: Sunday, Nov 6
Post #5: Sunday, Nov 20
Post #6: Sunday, Dec 4

While you can definitely write your posts anytime and post more than one post, cluster posting will not be accepted. That is, you can't write six posts before Sept 25, and figure you are done with that for the semester. Only one post will be graded per fortnight, so you should plan to pace your posts.
Length: Posts should be ~250 - 350 words long. If you can answer the prompts in less than 350 words, great, you don't need to pad, "Brevity is the soul of wit." But neither should your post be deficient, too short to do justice to the questions.

What to write about:
A blog post is a specific form of writing, but one that is easily adapted to other settings. A good post starts with some prompt--an idea, a claim, an article, an experience--and the post responds to this prompt by providing evidence to support or rebut the prompt, in writing that is brief, focused and interesting. One of our goals in Psy 1001 is to help you develop critical thinking skills and a blog post is an excellent way to practice critical thinking as you write. Behaviorally, writing that reflects critical thinking has these features: the author a) asks questions and is willing to wonder; b) defines problems clearly; c) examines evidence; d) analyzes assumptions and biases; e) avoids emotional reasoning; f) avoids oversimplification; g) considers alternative interpretations; h) tolerates uncertainty. (from Wade, C. (1995). Using writing to develop and assess critical thinking. Teaching of Psychology, 22. 24-28.) I would add to this list, i) takes the perspective of others.

Generic prompts:
We have several general topics that can be used for any of your posts, 1-6. In addition, we will provide articles, questions and readings on the discussion page on the website to which you can respond if one of these don't work for you.

1) Identify one important concept, research finding, theory or idea from Psy 1001 lectures or the Lilienfeld text from the past two weeks. Summarize the concept in your own words and explain why you believe this concept research finding, theory or idea is important. Apply this to some aspect of your life (real life example are an excellent way to learn. Photos, You-tube videos, etc. are encouraged.) As you reflect on this concept, research finding, theory or other idea, what other questions occur to you? What are you still wondering about?

2) Provide a link to an article, hoax or claim that has been made in the media and evaluate the claim using one or more of the six principles of critical thinking. Apply a concept, research finding, theory or idea that you have learned about in Psychology to provide an alternative explanation. Which principle is most useful for evaluating this particular claim? Remember to cite your sources.

3) If you can think of a different explanation or want to support something one of your classmates has posted, you can respond with a post of your own. Be sure to provide evidence to support your response.

Grading criteria: Each post is worth up to six points.
Concepts, 0-3 points: Have you followed instructions? Have you provided a relevant concept or prompt? How well have you summarized the psychological concept or applied the six principles of critical thinking? Are you thinking "beyond" the example, that is, making inference and forming connections? Have you provided an original insight? Have you provided evidence to support your claims? Is this post worth reading? Are you demonstrating behaviorally that you are thinking critically? (See above.)

Mechanics: 0-1.5 points. Have you used paragraphs to divide your thoughts? Is your post visually interesting? Have you used correct grammar, spelling, and standard speech (not slang, not jargon)? Is your post easy to read? Have you cited your sources or provided links?

Clarity of writing, 0-1.5 points: Is your writing crisp? Clear? Engaging? Are you using words precisely? Do you have words that are unnecessary or filler words? Are you on-topic? Have you provided clear transitions and a clear flow of logic?

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