"the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time..." -- Kerouac

Thursday, September 08, 2005

the first ever blogged syllabus?

This is an experiment. Obviously, the strengths of blogging a syllabus are that it can be easily changed and you can have quick reference without having to hunt through your desk to see what's coming next. I'm hoping that most if not all of the reading for this course will be online.
The subject matter for this seminar is so new and protean that I expect things to shift a bit as the semester progresses. Here, for now, is how I exect the term to go.
September 8. (Dis)orientation.
September 15. The blog universe. What's out there? How many things currently call themselves blogs? What are some of the obvious uses of blogs? Why is this happening?
Reading: All of the blog sites listed in my blog entries leading up to the first class. And click around avidly at all those sites. At Technorati, you should then visit the Top 10 sites. I will be posting a few other relevant items this week at this site.
September 22. First half of the class: The proto bloggers. Blogging was -- and perhaps still is -- a highly personal activity engaged in by rank amateurs. We'll read and discuss the blogs of five people doing it "the old way," plugged into no particular network of fellow ideologues. We'll discuss the curious human need for self expression and the transfer of what is private to what is public. Second half: Our first (but not last)look at the was the blogosphere shapes and sorts ideas. We'll try to figure out what the "meme of the week" was and how it rose to the top.
Sept. 29. Megablogs. Certain blogs are not the work of one person but of many. DailyKos, Huffington Post, Metafilter and Plastic are examples of community blogs. What sort of creatures are these? And do they represent the rise of some new kind of media?
Oct. 6. We'll continue the previous week's discussion with some reading and anaylsis of blogs by the pros. Some bloggers, such as as James Wolcott, were already famous. Others were at least drawing paychecks from the media entities that created their blogs. Still others have "turned pro" pretty fast -- think Wonkette. What does this do to the "profession of content-provider?" Is blogging evolving a class structure with elite, paid bloggers at the top? Or is the sheer profusion of amateurs willing to review a movie or break down a Senate race posing a threat to people who have traditionally made a living this way?
Oct. 13. The blogs where you live. How do blogs help people understand their communities? How is Connecticut enriched by its blogs?. (Local bloggers will visit this class.)
Oct. 20. The way we write. How is language used on blogs? Is it changing English usage and style? In what sense, if any, is a blog "literature?"
Oct. 27. No class. A good week for professor-student conferences.
Nov. 3. The public debate. This is certainly the most notorious role played by blogs: shaping public issues and shifting certain stories and ideas onto the mainstream radar screen. Are blogs actually transforming society by making it more "open source?"
Nov. 10. Specialties and special uses. Law. The arts. Medicine. Science. Yoga. Faith. How subcultures and interest groups find special uses for blogging.
Nov. 17. Audio, video, mobile. Blogs are moving beyond text. I'm not looking forward to this class, for some reason.
Nov. 24. No class.
Dec. 1. Reserved for something I haven't thought of so far. Otherwise, we'll use it for a really intense look at meme theory and how it works in the blogosphere.
Dec. 8. Glorious wrap-up.

REQUIREMENTS. It's pretty simple. Come to class. Participate in discussions. It's a big part of your grade. At seminars, we're all supposed to teach other. The other weekly duty is a blogging diary, a weekly journal of what you looked at and --briefly -- what you thought of it. At almost every class meeting, we will discuss the "meme of the week." I'll explain that as we go along. I'm going to push you to have your journal be an actual blog and ask if we can all link to each other. Although I'm getting a little dizzy thinking about that. I will also solicit a short paper, handed in at the end of the term, on some aspect of blogology. This is by far the least important of the three requirements.


Post a Comment

<< Home