Guidelines for Student Posts

You will be writing and posting two mini-essays on this website. The topics you can choose from, for each of your posts, are described in detail on the main menu. Your final projects, which you will learn more about later, will also be posted on this site. It will live on forever as the record of the accomplishments of our class!

Your posts should be written in a style that is appropriate for this format; your audience is the public, not just your professor. Here are some examples of good web-writing, about images of the Odyssey in ancient art, who Homer was (or if he was even one person), what psychologists think of Athena as a mentor, and what cheese-makers think about Polyphemus’ feta-making skills. This guide identifies some of the key aspects of good web-writing.


Begin by doing online research to figure out what you want to write about. I’ve put some links into each of the prompts to get you started, but these are only meant as starting points. There is a huge amount of information, discussion and debate on each of these topics. If you’d like to write about something other than the given prompts, please come discuss that with me first. I am very happy to talk with you about any of your ideas for a post; if you can’t come see me during my office hours (Tuesday, 9-10 and noon-1:30; Thursday, 9-10 and 3:15-4:30), email me to schedule an appointment.

Your mini-essay must be between 500 and 750 words long, and include at least 3 hyperlinks and 1 image, since these are essential elements of writing in an online format. (To give you a sense of how long that is, this page is 585 words.) When possible, Wikimedia Commons is a good source for images.


There are only a few differences from the first post. The first is that you are now required to engage with at least one of your peers’ posts currently on the website. You must link to it, and discuss it for at least a few sentences — what you found inspiring or provocative about it, and how it connects to your topic. The other difference is that you have a little more room to do so: the word count is now 600-800 words (and remember that you get 10% wiggle room on either side of that). Also, please note that you are required to include at least 5 hyperlinks now. The only other difference is that all the topics on the main menu are now fully open to you.


Here are the categories on the rubric:

1. Creativity: This essay should be something only you could have written. It should show off your unique personality and imagination. Your keen interest in, and excitement about, your topic should be evident to your reader.   Be bold! Say the unexpected!!   20 points
Here, here and here are some examples of posts that rocked this category.
2. Complexity: The essay should demonstrate that you have spent many hours thinking deeply about the topic, examining it from multiple perspectives, and engaging with its many dimensions.   20 points
Here, here and here are some examples of impressive complexity.
3. Coherence: Your perspective on the material is clear, comprehensible, and contestable (i.e. not self-evident). No extraneous, unrelated material. The organization should help the reader follow your argument.   20 points
Here and here are some posts with exemplary coherence.
4. Strong Prose: Word choices are accurate, descriptive and straightforward. Syntax is smooth, not distracting. Rules of standard written English grammar (including apostrophes) are followed. Please note that you are encouraged to use the first-person wherever appropriate.   10 points
Here and here are some beautifully-written posts.
5. Internet-friendly: This includes having a descriptive, compelling title that will differentiate your essay from all the other ones on the page and make the reader want to click on it; the effective use of headings to break up the wall of text; the incorporation of images whenever appropriate; and at least some attention to the principles behind the inverted pyramid structure (i.e. cut unnecessary introductory verbiage; get right to the point and build out).   10 points
Here, here and here are posts that are certain to get a lot of love on the internet.
6. Hyperlinks serve several purposes. The first is to tell your reader where you got your information; in this regard, they do the work that footnotes and bibliographies do in a traditional paper. You need to link to all your sources; failure to do so is plagiarism. They should also demonstrate the breadth and depth of your research. Finally, they should help your reader understand how your topic connects out to the wider world. You must have at least five hyperlinks in your essay, but don’t be afraid to use many more.   8 points
Here are here are posts that made savvy use of hyperlinks.
7. Proofreading and attention to detail. Be sure to use spellcheck!   5 points
8. Connections to and engagement with your peers’ work in the course: you must link to at least one other post on our website, and explain (briefly is fine) how your ideas and their ideas relate to one another.   7 points

Also: if you didn’t put in a byline on your current post, please go back to it now and add one in, and be sure to include one in the second post as well! You will not get a grade (and your post will be considered late) if there is no byline. Here is a nice example of a byline.

The Draft Appointment

The draft of your post, worth 40% the grade for this assignment (which is worth 22% of your final course grade), will be due at the time of the meeting you sign up for during the week of November 16-20. Please share your draft with me as a google document at least 5 minutes prior to our appointment time.

During our meeting, I will read your draft out loud, and you will follow along. As I read, I will stop to discuss with you places where your writing is particularly successful, and passages that need improvement. We will discuss issues such as your choices of images and hyperlinks, the quality of your evidence and primary sources and how successfully you use them, the complexity and clarity of your observations and arguments, and any other matters that will improve the overall quality of your final post. We will also look together at the rubric to assess your draft. You should take detailed notes on whatever we discuss (but please don’t do the editing during our conversation).

Your post (i.e. the final draft of your mini-essay) is due on our website by the start of class on December 1. It is worth 60% of the grade for this assignment. Please refer to the directions that Christine Moskell sent you for how to post; you can also email her if you need any technical assistance.