Digital Community Development with #ugstJOUR

This Fall semester I am co-teaching the UGST 1000 – First Year Seminar class which is partnered with the Introduction to Mass Communication (JOUR 1210) and U.S. History I (HIST 2610) in a Learning Community at UNT. This section of the First Year Seminar will be connected and engaged on campus, in the community, and online. The plan is to connect students to helpful resources, people, learning opportunities, and places that best support their major/career decisions, while developing their digital identity, and grow their learning networks:

Last Fall, our class experimented with Tumblr for reflections, but I have decided to return to my tried and true avenues for blogging and communication – WordPress and Twitter. To thread our class learning network, my students are sharing their blog reflections and will be tweeting with the hashtag #ugstJOUR. The class will use #ugstJOUR to tag and link their questions, comments, blog posts, assignments, and more throughout the semester. BYOD will be encouraged and utilized for this class.

Here is the WordPress and Twitter section of my class syllabus:

WordPress (WP) Posts:  Throughout the semester you will be asked to reflect about class topics, assignments and other happenings having to do with major/career exploration.  Rather than using a paper journal or requiring you to turn in a reflection, we would like you create your own WordPress blog to share your journey with the class.   Each WP post should have a minimum of 350 words, and posts are due by 11 pm on the date which are listed on the class schedule.  This assignment will be graded as follows:

A = a response that is well-written at the level of both the sentence and the paragraph; it addresses with precision all the required elements and utilizes theory to develop a creative solution to the issue/topic
B = a response whose sentence and paragraph-level writing is good but not distinguished; it addresses with some degree of specificity the required elements and a creative solution to the issue/topic
C = a response whose sentence and paragraph level writing is average and not particularly clear; it addresses a potentially interesting point with the issue/topic being addressed but without precision
D = a poorly written and superficially conceived approach to the issue/topic
F = a work with barely coherent response to the issue/topic or not meeting the word minimum

About WordPress. WordPress blog accounts are free and can be created by visiting http://wordpress.com. If you are able to write in a word document, then you should be okay to write blog posts. For more information, be sure to read the instructions at the end of this syllabus. By default, all posts to WordPress are public and open for everyone to see.  Since we hope that our class is a sharing and connected community, we would like to keep all blogs public. If there are topics or posts that you do not want to share with the class or world at large, please feel free to post these privately to share with only the instructors. Just be sure to provide us with the password so that I may read them for grading purposes. Additionally, when creating posts for WP, you are free to express yourself in any way you see fit.  While every class-assigned post (you are free to post more than is required) must include some form of written explanation, you are totally free to include pictures, videos, audio, etc. In fact, I encourage this.  Because these are blog posts and personal reflections, I will not be asking you to create bibliographies or citation pages, but do be aware that it is good netiquette to link back to the sites that provided your material.  You can find the Official UGST 1000.003 WordPress blog at http://ugstjour.wordpress.com/. For help go to: HOW TO: Set Up a WordPress Blog.

About Twitter: We will be using Twitter (https://twitter.com/) as a forum to engage in conversation inside and outside of our class meetings. Twitter is a form of communication where you can share short, 140-character messages with others. During the semester, you can follow the class twitter handle @ugstJOUR [https://twitter.com/ugstJOUR] and we will be using the hashtag #ugstJOUR to connect our messages.  You can sign up for a free Twitter account, upload a picture and create your own bio. Regular questions and prompts will be given to respond with using the #ugstJOUR hashtag, and you will be required to respond to others tweets as well. For help go to: HOW TO: Set Up a Twitter Account.

Be sure to follow the class  #ugstJOUR WP Blog and Twitter handle @ugstJOURThis two spaces will be used during the semester for general class announcements, campus updates, information sharing, helpful resources and they will serve as a model for your own blogging and tweeting experiences. Also be sure to follow your fellow #ugstJOUR blogs & Twitter accounts. This learning network will be a great space for you to connect, post, communicate & share both inside and outside of our class meeting times.

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