1. The course is conducted on a blog.
You’ll sign up for a free WordPress account to give you access to the course blog called “Newspaperlessness.com” To get your account, WordPress will insist that you start a blog of your own, but your coursework will all be conducted at Newspaperlessness, NOT at your own new blog.
(Please don’t jump ahead to WordPress. We’ll sign up together as a class.)
2. The “textbook” for this course is
the New York Times.
You’ll sign up for a digital subscription, which will be your only expense for the course. Instead of a $200 textbook, you’ll subscribe to the Times for less than $20.
(Please don’t jump ahead to the New York Times. We’ll sign up together as a class.)
3. We’ve eliminated paper.
Instead of submitting your arguments on paper and getting back handwritten feedback, you’ll publish your drafts directly to the course blog and receive your feedback there too, in view of your classmates and whatever members of the blog public happen to drop by.
- Before every class, you’ll find an Agenda for the day’s activities, assignments, deadlines, riddles, lecture material, links to resources. If you need to miss a class, you can do your work offline from your hospital bed and “virtually attend” class.
- During class, you’ll keep Class Notes in the Comments field of the Daily Agenda. This graded note-taking activity will determine your Participation Grade.
4. Your username will hide your identity.
Since your work will be critiqued in a place visible to your classmates, be careful to select a username that hides your identity (not one based transparently on your name or initials).
5. You’ll find your professor very approachable.
I will often send group texts to remind the entire class of upcoming events, deadlines, or class activities. For that purpose, I ask you to text your name and class details to my phone. Also, please send me an email to my personal email address.
TEXT YOUR NAME TO 856 979-6653
Identify yourself as Comp 8am or Comp 930am
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
6. This is not a journalism course.
It’s a thinking course. It’s a writing course. It’s a course in persuasive argument. It just so happens that newspapers routinely publish short arguments in the form of Letters to the Editor, Editorials, and Op-Ed columns. These short arguments use evidence, persuasion, logic, citation, and appeals to ethics and human emotions, which makes them good models to emulate.
Journalism is “the rest of the paper.” You won’t be writing news stories. Instead, you’ll be using current events and news as the raw material for your own original arguments.
7. Let’s get started.
Subscribe to Our Textbook . . .
. . . for less than $20.
8. Post your Homework to this blog:
(To do that, you’ll need a WordPress username)
and let me know you have a username.
When you have your username, I can invite you to the Blog so you’ll be able to post your first homework assignment.
10. First Homework Assignment:
DUE before class, THU SEP 05
- Study the “Letter to the Editor Workshop”
- —Link to “LTE Workshop2019″
- When you have an idea what components comprise a good Letter to the Editor, read the sample from the New York Times issue of September 01.
- In 1000 words or less, critique the Letter on the basis of how many of the 10 Essential Components the letter includes, and how well it uses those components to make a persuasive case.
NOTES ABOUT POSTING THAT HOMEWORK
- If you haven’t received or confirmed your invitation to the blog, you can’t post your homework. A checklist of steps to take to join the blog are contained in your professor’s post AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG (ironically).
- When you’re logged in to the blog, you’ll find the WRITE icon in the upper-right corner, which will launch the Word Processing space I showed you in class.
- In the Title space, type this, substituting your actual username:
- Before you Publish, open the Categories menu in the right sidebar and find the category LTE Homework under Assignments. Click that box.
- Then publish.
I’m sorry this seems so complicated, but the long-term benefits are many.
Most students at the end of the semester cite “using a blog for class work” as their favorite part of the course.
Good luck, I’ll be here to catch you if you stumble.