Blogging English 2

Friday, October 13, 2006

Course Syllabus

Blogging English 1 & 2

Group 1: Mondays 14.30-16.00

Group 2: Tuesdays 12:30 – 14.00 pm, Maldura Aula B
N.B. There is only 1 meeting per week so students are required to spend 3-6 hours doing work outside of class online.

In-class meetings:

16-17/10, 23-24/10, 6-7/11, 13-14/11, 20-21/11, 27-28/11, 4-5/12, 11-12/12, 18-19/12
We will not meet on Monday 30/10 as it will be a long weekend. Any changes to the calendar will be notified on the course blog.

Credits: 3

Teacher: Sarah Guth

Course Description

Students entering university today can be considered to be part of what Diana and Jim Oblinger call the ‘Net Generation’ in their recent EDUCAUSE book (2005). The authors speak of a generation of students who have grown up with technology and who may be more technosavvy than the very professors who are to teach them at university. The working world these students will face upon graduation also requires different skills than in the past. As Bruns & Humphreys (2005) state: “In a knowledge-based, networked economy, students leaving university need to have attained skills in collaborative and creative project-based work and to have developed crtical, reflective practices.” In Italy, the ‘Net Generation’ may be a good 10 years behind the one in the United States and other European countries which means students in this course may not officially be part of the ‘Net Generation’. Nonetheless, when you enter the workplace you may find yourself competing for jobs with peers in other countries who are and consequently have acquired skills that you have not.

Social software’ is a term used to speak about a new generation of web-based tools that facilitate human expression, communication, and collaboration. This course aims to use four different types of social software to help students develop their technological and collaboration skills while at the same time improving their English. The tools we will be using are weblogs (online journals), wikis (systems for collective authoring), distributed classification systems such as, and the use of RSS feeds to distribute information.


Students who choose to attend this course are expected to participate actively and, in the end, form part of a dynamic research community. This course is intended for students of the laurea specialistica who are able to express themselves well in English, able to autonomously take control over their own learning process as well as work in groups, and who are motivated and curious.

Course Objectives

  1. Students will develop competency in the use of blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and web syndication (rss feeds).
  2. Students will improve their communicative fluency in English and their reflective and critical thinking skills by publishing their thoughts, opinions and reactions on a course blog and on a personal blog.
  3. Students will develop a wiki where they can begin to explore different written genres, e.g. encyclopedia entries, theses, writing an abstract, etc., as preparation for the module with Prof. Dalziel. In doing so students will learn to write collectively, assess each other’s work, and provide feedback. The focus here will be on accuracy and ability to collaborate.
  4. Students will develop their practical research skills using online information networks as they look for, find and share online resources.

Required Books and Materials

All of our reading materials will by online resources made available by the instructor on the course blog or provided by the students themselves as a result of their online searches.

Course Environments

Course Blog: Here you will receive all communications regarding assignments (e-tivities), changes in the program, etc. This is also where you will carry out weekly e-tivities to develop your informal written communication skills as you learn to blog. There will be various types of assignments, from exploring the blogosphere to reading online resources and discussing them to recording your own voice and exchanging voice messages on the course blog.

Personal Blogs: All students will be required to develop and maintain a personal blog. The blog will be a place where you will keep a diary about your learning process.

Project Wiki: In the second part of the semester, the class as a whole will collectively undertake the design and construction of a wiki. Students will develop topics of their choice to explore writing various genres and to learn to write collectively. You will create pages, edit each other’s pages, and add images and useful links.

Distributed Research Database (and RSS feed): This database, maintained in, is where all the online research will be collected and shared. As you surf the web in search of resources for learning English and information about the topics we discuss in class and in the e-tivities, you will bookmark items using the tag bloggingenglish. Even if you decide an item is of little interest to you, you should bookmark it if you think it might be of interest to someone else in the class. The aggregated collection of items will be available to the whole class by subscribing to the RSS feed generated by You will select specific items from this database for your individual analysis, which you will post on your individual blogs (as part of specific e-tivities).


This course is graded in continuous assessment, i.e. there will be no final exam but rather you will be graded on what you produce during the course.

1. Distributed Research (links posted to 10%. Items can be useful online resources for your English language learning (grammar sites, sites with audio and video, etc.), journal and news articles related to our topics, opinion pieces, genre studies, etc. You will post resources that may be of interest to you or others in the course (‘sharing’ is the key word!).

2. Individual Analysis: 40%. You will not be graded on the accuracy of your grammar but rather on the contents (how much and how well you reflect on the topic of the e-tivity) of your posts to your individual blogs and to the course blog when that was requested as part of an e-tivity.

3. Final paper: 25%. At the end of the course you will be expected to write a final paper (max 5000 characters). You will choose the topic for your paper. You could write a final paper on the experience of using the social software, on social software itself, on one of the particular genres we have considered, etc. Your grade will be divided into 50% for linguistic accuracy (grammar, cohesion, syntax, vocabulary, etc.) and 50% for contents.

4. Comments to classmates' posts: 10%. The last part of each e-tivity involves responding to your colleagues. You will also be expected to periodically visit the personal blogs of your classmates and respond. I will consider both the number of comments (i.e. if you responded during each e-tivity) as well as the quality of your comments. Your comments to someone's blog post should provoke further reflection on the part of the blogger, not just show agreement.

5. Editing the Wiki: 15%. This is a collective grade, i.e. I will grade the final wiki contributions as a whole and give this grade to everyone in the class. As we will correct the language used on the wiki during class I will also take into consideration the linguistic accuracy of the contents in the final wiki.


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