Only 1 Week Left: How You can Aid Your Grade

Before I get to writing out my commentary on how I think you guys are doing as far as blogging goes so far, I have a simple FAQ to address

I've been getting emails from students asking me to look over their blogs to make sure that they didn't plagiarize anything, which tells me a couple things. First, it means that Andrew did a proper job of scaring the living piss out of at least some of you guys in the class, which is good given that the consequences for plagiarizing are horrible and nobody should ever consider it. The second thing, however, is that exactly what counts as plagiarism may not have been made clear enough. So, just to make sure all is well regarding the topic.....

Plagiarism: The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as your own

Essentially what I'm getting at is that as long as you give credit to the original author of a publication you decide to pull some evidence or viewpoints from, you aren't plagiarizing. I have yet to see any cases of anyone doing so in their blog post so far, and it would be great if we could keep it that way. So, if any of you guys are wondering if you may have accidentally crossed the line, ask yourself "am I presenting the original writers work in a way that people will think it is mine?" If the answer is no, then you're probably good, but since it is such a horrible thing always feel free to double check with myself or Kira.

Now moving on.....

Since the first blogging period will end almost exactly one week away from whenever I post this, I figured it would be a good time to give my two cents on how I think you guys are doing so far

My first recommendation for you guys would be to start using more live links in your blogs posts. Most of the posts I have read have only one or two live links in them, which is almost never enough to be worthy of an A. You should aim to have at least 3-5 live links per blog post if you are going for an A on the blog period. In addition, you shouldn't just give the link to a wikipedia page at the end of the post. Really leverage the ability to put the links exactly where they fit in your blog post, and try to get as much information from as many different, direct sources as you can. For example, if you read about a study in a certain article, try and actually find that study somewhere on the internet and reference it in your blog post. While you can't always access such material, if you can it will be a lot more supportive as evidence for your argument than an editorial with little or no citations to back it up.

My second comment isn't hard advice per say since it isn't really a solid guideline, but the subject matter is arguably more important to your overall grade than any other aspect of your blog post. Whenever you guys are writing your future posts, really take the time to do critical analysis of the subject. I'll put it you this way, if I can spend 15 minutes on Google researching your subject and get just as much out of it as reading your blog, you haven't done enough analysis. After I read your blog post, I should not only have a good idea of what you're topic is and why it's relevant, my mind should also be completely blown because you presented a well thought out and supported argument on the subject that I have not seen in any other publication. Now this may sound confusing and maybe even extremely difficult, but trust me, once you get a grasp on what I'm getting at, the quality of your blog posts will improve.

As for actually gaining that understanding, this post, this post, and this post are all good examples from last year of people who exercised the above principles. In addition, feel free to find or email myself or Kira and just talk us through your topic. Odds are we can get you pointed in the right direction and help you get closer to an A, since that is what we are here for, after all.

Oh, and Happy Friday!


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