Recently in How to Blog Category

Some thoughts on your first blog assignments...

I really enjoyed reading your first round of blog entries/comments and am, for the most part, very impressed with how well you are using the blog to engage with the class and each other. Keep up the good work!

Here are some of my thoughts about the blog assignments so far.

Never assume that your reader knows what you are writing about:
When you are drawing upon the readings, be explicit with your discussion. Don't assume that your audience has read the readings that you are discussing. Remember that we could have "silent" readers who aren't in the class. And even if we have read the readings, we might not immediately recognize what part of a certain text (or which text) that you are discussing.

Be very clear in your discussion:
You should always fully explain your points and link them directly with the readings. Mention page numbers. Follow up on statements like, "The author raised some compelling points about invisible labor," by describing at least one of those compelling points. Don't just write, "I think women are treated unfairly." Make sure to write how women are treated unfairly, what the causes of the unfair treatment are, and which readings discuss the unfair treatment.

Use the readings to support your points:
While it is fine for you to bring in your own opinions, make sure that you always work to connect your discussion with the texts. Relying on the texts, and specific examples that come out of the texts, enables you to focus your discussion and avoid statements that are too broad. Note: Using the readings is crucial because it is one very important way that you can demonstrate that you are reading the material.

Demonstrate a serious engagement with the readings and each other:
A serious engagement means that you spend time really thinking about what you want to write and how you want to respond to my questions or the blog posts of others. Always think about how to create entries/comments that can make us curious, that encourage us to ask questions, and that work to open up discussion instead of shutting it down. 

Use more images:
The design for this blog is very basic so adding in images makes it a lot more fun to look at. Here is what I wrote about how to post images in my How to Blog, a primer:

a. First, find the image you want. Probably the easiest way to do this is by opening up a new tab or window, going on images.google.com, and putting in a key word to search. That's where I have found most of my images...like this one:


images10.jpg

Because this is a basic primer, let's stick with google images. So, you have typed in "Brady Bunch" and found a great image of the family that you want to use. Click on the image. Then click on "see full size image". Drag the full-size image onto your desktop. Now you are ready to upload the image into your entry.

b. Switch back to the entry you have been working on. Put your cursor at the place in your text that you want the image to appear (like where you are discussing the Brady Bunch). Then click on the button (which is a few after the link button) that looks like an image and is called "insert image."

images11.png

Click on the "upload new image" link and then browse on your desktop for the image of the Brady Bunch that you just found on google images. After you have selected the image, click on upload. Now that the new image is uploaded, you will be given a bunch of file options. It is up to you how you want the image to look, but here is what I usually do. I click on "display image in entry," "use thumbnail (with a width of 150 pixels)" and "Link image to full-size version in a popup window." In terms of alignment, pick whichever works best for you.

images12.png
Finally, click on finish.

Want more advice on how to write on the blog? Check out these two entries, here and here, that I wrote about blog writing for students.

Has anyone else had access denied?

| 2 Comments

Hey everyone, just wondering if anyone is having, or has had an issue with accessing certain aspects of the UThink Blog features. At this point, I know I don't have access to most of the features from the dashboard, such as "preferences", "tools", and "design". Also, I cannot access the cumulative list of comments made on my entries (which is helpful for compiling blog info to hand in for grading), found on the right side of the Dashboard page.

Ideas? Suggestions?

Here is an image of what I get when I click on those things I listed above:
access denied image.png

I can't think of anything I did that I shouldn't have...

Web Vista

If you haven't ever used Web Vista, here's how:

1. Click on myU and sign in (with you x500 and password)
2. Once you are on your main page, click on the button that says, "my Courses & Teaching"
3. If you are registered for the class, our course should show up on your page.
4. Click on the link that says, "WebVista C"
5. Then click on "log in"
6. You should now be on your WebVista main site. This site lists all of your courses that have WebVista sites. Click on the one for our class (GWSS 3004).
7. You should now be on the home page for this course. Click on any of the folders to access and download the readings
8. You're done!

Why Blog?

Welcome. This is the blog for GWSS 3004. Hopefully it will play a central role in our discussion of and engagement with the material. While only class members (the instructors and the students enrolled in the course) can post new entries, the blog will be open to the larger public (for reading and commenting).

Having used blogs in my courses for over three years now, I see how valuable they can be for:

  • Developing community between students
  • Enabling students to engage with the material and each other in different ways
  • Encouraging students to really think about and process the ideas
  • Helping all of us to organize our thoughts and ideas
  • Providing a central location for posting information and handouts
  • Allowing for a space outside of the classroom for engaging with the readings and each other

But blogs aren't just useful for creating connections between students (or teacher and students or students and other communities). I spent the past summer writing in my own blog, Trouble, and I discovered that blog writing can make you (the writer) a better writer and thinker. This is especially true if you write in your blog on a regular basis. I wrote every couple of days this summer and I found that by theend of August my critical thinking skills were in much better shape then when I started in May. I also found that my understanding of my chosen term--trouble--had grown deeper and richer over the summer as I creatively explored different ways in which to engage with it.

Writing in a blog alleviated a lot of my anxiety about "serious" writing; somehow posting an entry didn't seem as intimidating as writing a formal manuscript. Writing in a blog also encouraged me to make new connections between ideas in unexpected ways. I found myself applying theoretical/political concepts like Michel Foucault's notion of curiosity or Judith Butler's notion of gender trouble to children's movies (Horton Hears a Who) and television shows (Hannah Montana). Not only did this experience allow me to reflect on these concepts but it also helped me to really understand them as I worked to translate them into more accessible language. For more on how/why I wrote in my blog, check out my about pages here and here.

It is my hope that the experience of writing in our course blog will enable you to develop your critical thinking skills and enhance your understanding of feminism and feminist movement/ movements. It is also my hope that writing in our blog will inspire you to keep writing and thinking and questioning and connecting.

How to Blog, a primer

HOW TO BLOG, A PRIMER

Step 1: Getting Started or How to Log In and Set up my Alias

1. Go to http://blog.lib.umn.edu/
This is the UThink main site for U of M blogs.
Thumbnail image for image1.png














2. Log in by clicking on the link (login to UThink) located right under About UThink on the right hand side of the page.

3. If you are not already logged into the system, you will be required to submit your x500 and your password. If you are already logged in then clicking on login should take you directly to your Dashboard. Your dashboard will list any blogs for which you are an author (courses, personal blogs).
 
image2.png


To access our blog, click on "System Overview" at the top on the left hand side. I have added all of you to our blog as authors, so you should see our course on your list of blogs. Click on it.

4. Now you should be on the author page for our blog. This is where you can create entries, upload files, and edit entries.

image3.png

5. For those of you who haven't used UThink before: You can set up your own alias for posting. This means that when you post an entry or a make a comment, only your alias will show (not your email address or your name). As the blog administrator, I will be the only person who knows that it is you posting. If you are a little nervous about posting, this is a good way to stay somewhat anonymous. To set up your alias, click on the link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen that says, Hi x500 number (in the image above, the link says Hi puot0002). Now you are on the edit profile screen.

image4.png

Choose your display name. As you can see, mine is Sara. You can pick whatever name you would like.

Step 2: Creating a Basic Entry

6. Now that you are on the author (or, the behind-the-scenes) site for our blog and now that you have signed in and created your posting name/alias for our blog, you can create an entry. Click on create (located on the right hand side right above the course title) and scroll down to entry. Click on it.

image5.png

7. You should now be on a page titled "Create Entry." You can create a title for your entry by typing in the box, "Title." Then, type your entry in the bigger box below.

images6.png

8. A note about body vs. extended entry: Above the big box where you type your entry, there are two options: body and extended. If you are writing a particularly long entry, you could post the opening paragraph in the body section and then the rest of the entry in the extended section. When people look at your entry on the blog, they will only see the part you wrote in the body with a link at the bottom that says something like: "continue reading entry x." This can be helpful in making the blog visually more compact, but it not necessary.

9. When you are finished typing your entry, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on save (If you want to preview your entry first, click on preview. This can be helpful in making sure that you formatted everything correctly and that you put in the right address for your links). Once you have saved the entry, click on the view site button which is located at the end of the row that starts with the "create" button.

images7.png 

10. A note about tags: Right after the text box (where you type your entry) is a much smaller box labeled "tags." Tags work like key words and can be used to identify the key topics in your blog. So, if you are writing a blog about Roseanne as a queer character or the Twilight series as reinforcing heterosexual romance, you could tag your entry with the keywords: Roseanne, television shoes, working class, anti-capitalism or Mormonism, heteronormativity, vampires. Type the keywords in and separate them with commas. Put these keywords in before you save your entry. These tags will be reflected in our tag cloud which is located midway down on the right hand side.

Step 3: Creating links, inserting images and embedding youtube clips.*
*These should all be done before you hit save and post your entry.

11. Links: Okay, so now you have typed in your brilliant entry about the representation of feminism in 1970s popular culture, but the whole thing looks kind of...boring. One basic way to make it more interesting (not to mention interactive) is by adding in links to other sources (that you have referenced in your entry or that point to more information on the topic or that offer a different perspective). The way to add a link is to highlight the text that you want to create a link for (like Mimi Marinucci and her great article about third wave feminism and The Brady Bunch).

images8.png

Then click on the image of the chain (you will find this image in the row of buttons above the text book). Enter the address for the link and then click on OK.

images9.png

12. Images: But, wait, you say. Links aren't enough. You want more things to add to your entry. You want images.

a. First, find the image you want. Probably the easiest way to do this is by opening up a new tab or window, going on images.google.com, and putting in a key word to search. That's where I have found most of my images...like this one:

images10.jpg

Because this is a basic primer, let's stick with google images. So, you have typed in "Brady Bunch" and found a great image of the family that you want to use. Click on the image. Then click on "see full size image". Drag the full-size image onto your desktop. Now you are ready to upload the image into your entry.

b. Switch back to the entry you have been working on. Put your cursor at the place in your text that you want the image to appear (like where you are discussing the Brady Bunch). Then click on the button (which is a few after the link button) that looks like an image and is called "insert image."

images11.png

Click on the "upload new image" link and then browse on your desktop for the image of the Brady Bunch that you just found on google images. After you have selected the image, click on upload. Now that the new image is uploaded, you will be given a bunch of file options. It is up to you how you want the image to look, but here is what I usually do. I click on "display image in entry," "use thumbnail (with a width of 150 pixels)" and "Link image to full-size version in a popup window." In terms of alignment, pick whichever works best for you.

images12.png
Finally, click on finish.

13. Youtube clips: Now that you have started adding things, you can't stop. Links and images aren't enough. You want to embed cool youtube clips in your entry. Here's how:

a. First, find the youtube clip that you want. Open up another tab or window and go to youtube.com. You can search for clips. I searched for "feminism" and found this funny video about Ms. Pac Man: A Feminist Hero.



Once you find the clip, you need to embed it. To do this, you need to find the embed box (located on the right hand side in the grey box under the URL), highlight the embed text and copy it.

images13.png

Note: For a fancier version of the youtube clip you can now customize your embed clips. At the end of the embed box you will find a blue gear image. When you scroll over it it should say "customize." Click on it. Now you can pick a color scheme for the border of your clip (I recommend green to match our site) and a size (I would say 500 X 405). Now copy the embed text and follow the next step.

images14.png
b. Now go back to your entry and put your cursor on the place that you want to insert the youtube clip. Before pasting it in, make sure that you have changed the format (located above the insert image button) to none (away from rich text or covert line breaks). The embed text will not work in rich text; it will just show up like a bunch of code. Once you have switched the format to none, paste in the embed text. Now you have added a youtube clip.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the How to Blog category.

Handouts is the previous category.

The Issues is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 4.31-en