Your Blog

Create your own blog

The first thing we must do this semester is set each of you up with your own blog. It’s very easy to do. There are many free blogging services out there, the two most popular being Blogger and WordPress.

First off, what is a blog anyway?

What will your “news” stories be? Well, they will be summaries, reactions, and critiques of one primary source and one secondary source assigned in a given week. Your blog is your own personal space on the web in which to interact with this class. Of course, it is also a public space. Keep that in mind as you write. Your audience starts with Dr. Hutchison, but also includes your colleagues in class and anyone else who might stumble upon your humble corner of the internets.

How to begin? Well, has simple instructions for registering your own blog here.

Once you’ve registered a blog, make sure to email me ( with your name, your blog’s name, and its url (that’s the blog’s web address). Once you’ve done that, feel free to customize your space anyway you’d like, and start by posting a brief introduction of yourself, including where you’re from, what you do or study, and why you’re taking the class.

Setting up your blog:

  • Go to the to to find instructions on setting up your blog.
  • Please title your blog using your first name and at least the first initial of your last name (Dr. Liz would be “LizH”).
  • Once you have established your blog, copy the URL address from its homepage (this address should not contain “admin”) and send it to
  • Your first blog post is due Monday, February 1.  Blog posts are due each week except Weeks 1, 2, 6, 12 and 15.

 Writing your blog:

By 5:00 pm each Monday, post to your blog a short essay with your observations and questions about the week’s readings, with a focus on one primary and one secondary reading from Murray’s chapter.  Each post should be between 450 and 500 words, or a text four to five times as long as the paragraph you are reading.  Since each of Murray’s chapters and source excerpts begins with an overview and questions for the readings, you can build on these questions and focus on two specific selections, rather than trying to write comprehensively about all the week’s readings.

Because some of you may be contributing blog posts for the first time, a word of advice: while this assignment is designed to allow for student creativity, your blog posts are still formal writing in the sense that they will be evaluated for evidence of your engagement with course topics and materials.

Blog assignment evaluation:

I will be reading your blog posts each week, recording those completed on time and their success in addressing the readings on a limited scale (B for timely completion, A for evidence of engagement with readings).  Blogs submitted after 5 pm Monday will not be accepted, but at the end of the semester, your lowest blog grade will be dropped.  In other words, please post your thoughts on the reading in a timely fashion to get the most credit for this assignment and prepare well for discussion in class.