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The Basics

Before we get started there are a few very simply tips that you should ALWAYS follow on ALL your blog posts for ds106. If you start with these, you’ll be starting strong.

Pick Strong Titles

Think of your title as the handshake your blog is making with your reader. Okay, that’s a little creepy, but you get the picture. Don’t ever choose boring titles like,  “This Week’s Post” (blech). Be creative. Be funny. Be yourself.
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Paragraphs are Your Friend

It’s mean to make people read a wall of text. Don’t be mean. Organize your ideas and use paragraphs to show us that organization.

Linking Makes the Web

The Web doesn’t work without hyperlinks. It’s that simple. Don’t ever, ever, ever include a link in your post and not make it clickable. Make EVERYTHING clickable that you can.
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Embed All the Stuff

Links are important. Links are great. But don’t ever use a link when you can embed. Show us your work (photos, videos, tweets) right there in your post.

Assignment Posts

You’ll be completing a lot of media assignments from the ds106 Assignment Bank for this class, and you’ll write a blog post for each one. Here are some tricks and tips that will help you make your assignment posts shine. 

Post Separately

Each of your media assignments should be blogged separately. There are practical reasons for this (so we can easily track different submissions for different assignments in the Assignment Bank), but the goal is also to help you get in a regular habit of blogging and build a library of posts over the entire semester. 

Tag Properly

Every assignment in the Assignment Bank has specific instructions about how to tag your posts properly so that they’ll be associated with the proper assignment prompt. Follow these instructions carefully, using WordPress’ tags feature in the post editor.  

Tell the Story behind the Story

Make your weekly posts your own. Find your own voice and share it with us. The posts don’t need to be formal (they should be clear, spell-checked, and generally grammatically correct, tho) — and they can be in conversation with each other, from week to week. 

Reflection Posts

As we explore the concept of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives, we’ll be reading articles and some short stories and novel exceprts. We’ll be watching some films and TV episodes. And we’ll be listening to some radio show episodes, I’ll ask you to reflect upon these in blog posts, too. Here’s some advice about writing strong reflections.   

Finish the Story, Film, etc.

This should go without saying, but it’s hard to write a reflection if you have finished the thing you’re reflecting  on. So, you know, just try and finish it. 

Use Media

This may not seem obvious, but if you can include media in your post, you should. The Web is a media platform, and when you’re writing on the Web you want to think about what media complements your message.  The media can  be from the source material (a clip from a film we’ve watched, for example), but  you can use your own photos, reaction gifs, etc. to illustrate your post. 

Pick a Point to Focus On

Reflection posts shouldn’t be summaries of the source material. Nor should they be merely a statement of whether you liked it or not (although it’s fine to mention this). Rather, I’m interested in hearing what resonated with you about the thing we read/watched/listened to. You don’t have to respond to the WHOLE thing. Pick one or two things that jumped out at you. Try and relate it to your life, other things you’ve been exposed to, etc. Ask questions and if you’ve read some of your classmates posts, feel free to respond to their questions (and link to their posts!) 

Weekly Posts

The final kind of post you’ll be writing for this class are your weekly summary posts. These should summarizes the work you’e done for the week. Some students like to start these early in the week, save them as drafts, and gradually write/finish them as the week progresses. 

Curate

Your weekly post shouldn’t just be a repeat of everything you already wrote in your other posts. Instead, choose the work you want to focus on. Make sure you embed and talk about this work in detail, but link to everything else somewhere.  

Tell the Bigger Story

You know how you told the story behind each assignment? This post should tell a story, too, but it should be the larger story of your week. Talk about the bigger picture instead of all the details you got into in the assignment posts. What did this week mean to you? What are you most proud of and why? If you could do the week over, what would you change? What are you looking forward to? 

Answer the Question of the Week

For this class, every week I will pose a particular question that I would like you to address in your weekly post. This could be about the  message of somethings we’ve read, the kind of digital media we’re working with, or the overarching story we’re telling together. It won’t be a yes or no question — it’s meant to get you thinking about something specific, along with all of your classmates. Go ahead and have fun with these questions. There are never any “right” answers, so don’t hold back!

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