How to make a blog posting

Alright alright alright…

Note:  the interface could look different to you since you are an “author” and I am an “administrator”, so what I provide below may not be altogether helpful.  I think you will figure it out, though.  The key points are that you need to be sure to (1) select the proper “Category” for your post (like “Introductions – You and Your Topic” or “Closing”), (2) hit “Publish” once you are happy with your posting – you can review a draft before you publish, and (3) be sure to include web links, visuals, citations, etc.  The most interesting blogs in the past have had visuals, videos, etc. (you have to explain and cite them, of course).

Once you are at, there is a “pencil” icon at the upper right of the screen – you can click on that.  A form will then appear covering the right 3/4 of the page – this is where you will type in your post.  It will have you type a title first.  Then there is a large box below the icon buttons to type in your blog post.  The icon buttons allow for things like “Add Media” if you want to add a visual or some other sort of attachment.

Once you have finished with your post, there is a column over on the left side.  The first thing I need you to do is go down to “Categories” and toggle the box for the category that this post fits under.  As you can see, there are 5 categories of posts this semester, from Introduction to  Closing.  This selection will ensure that your post is published within the correct category – this step is ESSENTIAL for correctly binning your post.  Otherwise it will go to “Uncateogorized” and I will need to go in and move it to the proper location.  You can see the other blog categories on our main page – on the right half of the window – we will post to this semester, like “Background”, along with one called “Course Updates” where I may occasionally post instructions like these.

Once you have toggled the correct category, you can click on the bluish “Publish” button to publish your post, or you can click on the “Save Draft” or “Preview” buttons to see what your post might look like “live”.  In the end, you will need to press the “Publish” button. At the very end, there will be a green bar that appears to allow you to view your published post if you like.

That’s it (I think)!

Elements of your Critique Post

Critique – Things I would like to see:

For this part you will formally critique or “comment on” someone else’s blog postings up to this point in time (within the Introduction, Background, and Current Status categories). Your critique/comment should contribute to the discussion the blogger has made – you may debate or support the ideas he or she has expressed in the blog, but you must do so in a respectful manner. That’s what bloggers do, right?  :-)  You may have personal knowledge about the blogger’s topic that you can contribute. Remember – be respectful.  I will send you the blogger’s “user name” and then you will need to sift through the three blog categories listed above to find and read their postings. You will then make your comment within the “Critique” category.


Elements of your Current Status and Controversies Post

Things I would like to see:

Generally for this posting, I would like you to tell us what’s happening with your topic today and what sorts of controversies may be surrounding it.  For example, with Tar Creek, I would research how the Superfund cleanup is going, what politics may be involved in the ongoing cleanup (funding is always an issue, which at times has been blocked or supported in a lukewarm manner), and what are some residual impacts of the contamination that are ongoing.  Some people think that Grand Lake may some day be contaminated by this…

Remember – CITATIONS!

That’s it for now…

Elements of your Background Post

First – CITATIONS!!!  I want you to cite your references within your text and in a list at the end of your blog post.  This will go for all of your postings.

Tell us some of the history behind your topic, and ultimately based on that history, why it’s important to look at this topic. Most things have a history, so this is your chance to do some research. Many of you laid out a road map for what you were going to look at and how. I would like for you to save the “what’s going on with your topic today and any of its current controversies” for your third blog installment. So for this one, focus on what has come before and what has set up today.

For example, if I was researching Tar Creek in northeastern Oklahoma, I would look back at how the mining in that area got started in the mid-1800s but really took off in the early 1900s, and how the lead and zinc there were needed for wartime activities during WWI. I would look at who was involved in the mining and who was the excluded (the Quapaw, for example), how the government of Oklahoma helped grease the skids for what was done, what sorts of immigration patterns developed to staff the mining activities, etc. Then I’d focus on the chat piles that were left behind by the mining operations, and how the towns like Picher actually promoted them for tourism at one point. Then I’d talk about how people started getting sick and how the area eventually became a federal Superfund cleanup site. There’s a bit of tribal history regarding desecration of the land. Then everyone who hadn’t already left town was told to leave, but some stayed. Finally, an EF-4 tornado hit Picher a few years ago and took care of most of what was left.   Something like that.

When we get to the “today” part, I would then focus on what’s happening in that area now, how the Superfund cleanup is going and what the politics for that have been recently, and what some residual impacts might be, including how the Grand Lake of the Cherokees, a major water recreation spot in our state, is probably slowly being ruined by the runoff from the chat piles miles away. But more on the third installment later.

That’s it for now…

Elements of your Introduction Blog Post

Greetings!  As you know, there will be five blog postings due throughout the semester, for a total of 20% of your overall grade.  I will provide instructions for each posting.  Here goes for your Introduction – You and Your Topic:

Introduction – Things I would like to see:

Title: If someone is surfing the web, you want her or him to stop. They look at the title first.  Be creative.  You can keep this for each posting or you may modify it some each time to reflect the particular thing you are talking about.

Paragraph 1: Motivation. At a high level, what is the topical area you are looking at and why is it important to you? It is key to set the larger context here. Why might the problem be of contemporary interest and importance to the larger community? Keep in mind the society part.

Paragraph 2: What is the specific problem or issue you will be looking at in your blog? This paragraph narrows down the topical area. In the first paragraph you have established general context and importance. Here you establish specific context and importance.

Paragraph 3: Start with your thesis statement – “In this blog, I will attempt to show that…”. You will then provide a roadmap (to the best of your ability) for how you will attempt to “show that”. This will include the general approach you are taking – that is, how you are going to study this topic: web articles, journal articles, books, other blogs, videos, talking to people who are engaged in the topic in real life, etc. You could then close with some sort of teaser to get readers anticipating the second element of your blog, the Background element.

That’s it for now…