Response posts and comments

Every week, you are asked to respond to our readings and discussions on this website. You will respond by writing a response post and by writing a comment on one of your classmates’ responses.

Use this link to sign up for one response per week (you must be logged in to your UMD account). You may give yourself one week off.

I’m asking you to make these posts for three reasons:

  1. Because we learn better when we pause to reflect on our activities, whether readings or conversations; things that didn’t seem important at the time can come to feel much more significant. When you experience something confusing or upsetting (and many of the stories we will be reading for class do have confusing and upsetting elements), writing about it can help to make sense of why a creator makes the decisions they do.  And reading others’ responses, perhaps formulating answers to the questions they pose or posing alternative points of view, will help you to more fully articulate your own ideas.
  2. Because regular reflective writing helps us to come up with new creative ideas, which will be useful as you work on your class assignments and capstone proposal.
  3. Because the collection of writings on the website will give us a collective record of your time in class that each student will be able to look back on, tracing the progress of your own and your classmates’ thoughts and ideas from the beginning of the semester to its end.

Response posts should respond to the following questions.

  • What do you think the writer/creator’s goal was? In what ways were they successful? Try to get beyond your own immediate responses.
  • What audience do you think they were trying to reach? If you aren’t sure, ask yourself what you think an ideal audience member for this work would need to know.
  • What lit you up? Were there passages, moments, ideas that left you breathless and excited?
  • What shut you down? Were there passages, moments, ideas that made you confused, angry, depressed?
  • How does this work connect to the other material we have discussed in class?
  • What do you want to talk about? Where would you like our class discussion of this piece to go?

Write at least 300 words; you may focus entirely on one question, give short answers to a few, or write anything you like so long as it is a direct response to the reading. You are welcome to include images or other media.

Comments should be substantial, at least two sentences in length, and may respond to any aspect of your classmates’ work. Disagreement is welcome, but remember to stay respectful! Only one comment per week will be counted, though you are welcome to make more if you have more to say.

Each response post is worth 10 points and each comment is worth 5 points. Your lowest three comment scores will not be counted (i.e., you can forget to comment three times in the semester with impunity.)

Responses are due by 12pm on the day of class.

Comments are due by the end of the week (midnight on Friday) so that you can use your comment to reflect on class discussion if you wish.

You may comment on any post made during the week, including your own.