Journal Directions and Expectations

Reading Journals: Journals will be posted in the class blog space. Each week there will be a particular writing task assigned. You must create an account for yourself in order to participate. For each week of the class, there will be several reading assignments. Each assignment may contain a number of distinct readings itself. You are to write a journal in response to the assigned prompt and post it in the class blog for other students and me to read. You must also respond to at least three other journals to complete the assignment. All journals/responses are due before the start of class the day they are due if you want full credit.

Fundamentally, each journal will point to particular passages within the reading that illustrates the point you are developing, providing enough of this passage so the reader of your journal need not look it up, explain/describe or interpret the passage in your own words, and then describe why you think it is important, why it matters, within the context of the point you are developing.


Think of it as a conversation in writing, or as pre-talking analogous to the pre-writing you do for papers. Our goal is not to produce expertly crafted individual treatises, but to develop the ability to think, respond and communicate through writing. Your contributions should be informal, spontaneous, informed and impassioned.”

Each of the journal points will be tallied and your final journal grade will be based upon the percentage of points earned. Particular directions will be posted in the blog prior to each journal being done. Generally speaking, you will have an assignment requiring you to respond to some element of the reading and you will also be required to respond to at least three blogs that address an element of the reading different than what you responded to. If you do not respond to the expected journals, you will not receive credit for your journal having been completed which can ultimately result in failing the class. Response directions are posted separately.

Some Expectations (these apply to email as well)

  • Always provide an appropriate subject line.
  • Consider a greeting to the writer you are responding to.
  • Free from mechanical/grammatical errors or IM shorthand.
  • Message has signature (do this automatically).
  • The whole of the assigned task should be completed for the journal or the response.


Be sure you read and understand Responding to Journals. We'll spend some time going over this, looking at what makes a good response and a not-so-good response so you can meet the class expectations.