Thursday, June 4, 2009

Assignment #1 2009-2010 What is an academic blog? Due July 20th

Hello and welcome to your AP Psychology blog. This site will be a useful tool for you to keep up in AP Psych. You will also create your own blog

This assignment is due on Monday, July 20 by 4:00 PM. Read through this whole assignment before beginning to work on your new blog. Several students have had to redo some steps because they didn't read the assignment all the way through.

This entry is taken with some modifications from Ms. Knudson's "Explorations in Literature" blog. Thank you, Ms. Knudson!

Most of you are familiar with the idea of a Blog, which is short for "Weblog," essentially a web space where people can post ideas, opinions, share links, etc. Some popular blog sites with which you are probably familiar include this one, Blogger, but also ones such as MySpace, WordPress, Facebook, and others.

What made blogs revolutionary is that they provided authors with the ability to easily share their ideas and resources with audiences in a way that was never possible. Back in the early days of the Internet, in the 1990s, people who wanted to do this had to build a web site, separate pages, etc., and it was much more cumbersome to do the same sort of thing that recent technology has enabled us to do within minutes. Richardson writes that instead of being based on "static chunks of content," blogs are "comprised of reflections and conversations" that "engage readers with ideas and questions and links. They ask readers to respond. They demand interaction" (18).

While most of you are familiar with using blogs for social purposes -- to keep in touch with friends, discuss matters of daily life, etc., -- most of you are not familiar with using a blog for academic purposes, to extend conversations that begin in the classroom or with your reading. In this way, academic blogs, while they have a social aspect, are much more focused as learning tools. Richardson cites Fernette and Brock Eide's research on blogging as having an enormous positive impact on students, in that they:

*Promote critical and analytical thinking
*Are powerful promoters of creative, intuitive, and associative thinking
*Promote analogical thinking
*Are a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information, and
Combine the best of solitary reflection and social interaction (2005)

So how will you be using your academic blog in this class?
Good question.

The answer is that you will be using it in several ways.

Consider your audience.

First, you will be using it to learn how to blog. Remember, your audience for an academic blog is much different than your audience for a social blog. When you are writing for a social blog, your audience usually consists of your immediate social group -- your friends. However, when you are writing an academic blog, your audience is much different, consisting of teachers, professors, scholars, or others throughout the world who may have in interest in your academic topic, so how you express yourself becomes an important focus. For example, you would not write for a teacher or a professor the same way you would text message a friend. The language you use will be much different as will the form and content.

You will also be using your blog to complete class writing assignments. Writing assignments will be consist of the following types (not necessarily in this order):

peer commentary

An added bonus is that this medium is paper free, so we're engaging in academic work that is both online and environmentally green.

ASSIGNMENT #1 -- 10 points

Creating Your Academic Blog

Even though many of you have social blogs, when you create your academic blog it will have a distinctly different look. You will have to create a free gmail account if you don't already have one. Go to to create your site, please be sure to go to the Settings portion and select "NO" when it asks you if you want your site to be profiled in search engines, etc.

Once you have created your site and your first assignment, please email the full URL address of your blog to me at so I am able be create a link to it on my master site. For example, the full URL address of my blog is .

Any time you e-mail me or any teacher, please put a relevant subject in the subject line of your e-mail and sign your full name in the body of your e-mail. For example, the subject of the e-mail you send me about this assignment could be something like, "AP Psych Blog URL & Assignemtn #1."


Your site should be appropriate for an academic setting, following code of conduct guidelines
Do not put any personal identifying information on your site (no last name, age, place of residence, etc.)
Your site should have a title - Make it unique, relevant and creative.
Your site should have a links section (this will be for academic links that you find that are connected to your research)
Make sure fonts are easy to read and the page is not too busy -- this is an academic blog, remember. Don't use colors or complex backgrounds which make it hard to read.
Always write in complete sentences and proofread your work before posting. Use the spell-checker that is part of Blogger.
Each assignment should be specifically titled with the assignment number as well as a descriptive title.

Your first blog writing assignment should be your first post.

Writing assignment #1 How do you feel about blogging?- (10 pts) 3 paragraphs

In a short essay, describe your experience creating this blog. Some aspects of this experience you should address: What is your prior blogging experience? Is this the first time you've set up a blog or are you already a seasoned pro? How did it feel to do it? How do you think it will help you to do high quality assignments in AP Psych? How do you feel about having your work up on the Internet where other students and teachers can read it... or complete strangers?

To get all the points for this assignment you must e-mail me the link to your blog by July 20 at 4:00 PM. Your site must follow the above guidelines and must include your first post with a response to assignment #1. If you have questions please e-mail me well before the deadline at

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