This semester I'll be teaching a Writing 20 here at Duke organized around Utopian science fiction from the latter half of the twentieth century: Star Trek, The Dispossessed, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, and Dollhouse. (A longer description can be found here.) In keeping with the themes of the course that consider the digital as a possible space for Utopia, I've decided to move from the Blackboard discussion forum to a public blog housed with Duke's new WordPress project.
Students will write blog posts of 200-400 words four times over the semester, and comment on at least twelve other student posts. Blog posts can be revised and expanded for either the smaller essays or the major papers; in fact, I encourage this.
Later in the semester, the blog will also be used to facilitate an interview with the author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, that great-great-grandfather of blogging, Cory Doctorow.
Having never done this assignment before, I have no idea how this will go; I distribute blogging guidelines to the students tomorrow morning and they'll post short introductory posts over the weekend. If this is successful, I imagine I'll return to HASTAC to show their good work off; if it's a debacle, we'll never speak of this again...