Category: Meta

My Self-Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

I read all the books much faster than I otherwise would have, except for Windup Girl and Flight Behavior. Those two I would have read non-stop no matter what; I just couldn’t put them down—which, with Flight Behavior, was very surprising; it’s not my style at all.

This semester, I bought those little Post-It bookmark tabs for the first time, and annotated as I read. This was a new practice for me, and I did it mainly to be ready for in-class discussions. I also high-lighted many of the most overt references to climate change in the stories.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style?

The blog format really freed me up to say exactly what I wanted to say in the way that most succinctly captured what I meant. I could use ellipses and pop culture references, for instance, and even slang, which in a formal essay I would have had to rephrase into two or three whole sentences to convey the same point. For this reason, I’ve loved this class. I believe we’re all highly-enough educated and smart enough here to be trusted when we say, “Yeah, I can write formally, but formal writing is boooooring!” All work and no play… This informal stuff is a welcome respite.

I’m not sure how my writing style here would compare to how I’d write on a non-academic discussion board, though. It’s been years since I’ve been active on one of those, and I’m a better writer now.

But the prospect of a wider audience has certainly motivated me to think all my posts through, with a seriousness that I don’t necessarily apply to all my schoolwork. “Coasting” through this class was not an option for me. The whole world might find out!

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I feel like I should have been reading more of my classmates’ reviews throughout the semester. I’ve read maybe half. But I did make a point of reading at least some each and every week, and I did pay some more attention to the extra stuff like news articles, links we posted to outside resources, and especially the hubbub surrounding Dan Bloom.

Whose reviews I chose to read was typically decided by who had commented on my own posts, who was in my other classes, who was the most outspoken or entertaining, and whoever was at the top of the page.

 

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I like this idea. It feels like we’ve contributed to the worldwide discourse on the topics at hand in a slightly more real way than we’re allowed to in most liberal arts classes. We’ve thrown our two cents into the discourse on literature (on cli-fi particularly), into the discourse on science, and into the big discussion of social criticism.

Do I think other people might read our posts? They might! And they might come from a scholarly direction, or they might arrive here just for fun, wondering about what the heck “cli-fi” is, or wondering how we imbue any words with heavy meaning anyway: “global warming,” “climate change,” “environmentalist agenda,” “carbon combustion complex,” and so on.

Final Audit

To be honest when I did any writing for the blog, I did not approach it any differently than I would have if I were writing an essay for any class. I have a fairly analytical mindset to begin with; so reviewing these books came quite easily to me. I tended to just sit down after finishing the book, and in a stream of consciousness style, writing my thoughts in one sitting. I really tried not to put too much thought into how my reviews sounded. When I think about what a review should be, in my mind, it is simply the author’s personal thoughts and interpretations of the given work. I think this is what was intended by starting a class blog, which was simply to have a way for everyone to put down his or her initial thoughts on each weeks reading.

 

I think that parts of the blog could be useful for future readers. Obviously roughly 20 reviews of the same book does not serve much purpose, but there are definitely some interesting points and thoughts on the blog that could be of some use. I think, overall, the blog was a success and it certainly helped me get a sense of what everyone was thinking before we got to class. I truly would not have changed anything about it.

The End Has Come

  • How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

Whenever I started the books I knew I had to pay closer attention to the details of the book, because after I was finished I would later then need to recall those details. I tried to make sure that I was paying close attention to anything about climate change and how it effected the story and characters. One of the things that it made me do, that I never do and hate doing, is dog-ear my pages. If I came across a particular page that contained a lot of climate change then I would fold the page so I knew to come back to it after I was finished reading. It made it a lot easier when I was eventually writing my blog posts.

  • How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

I really enjoyed the blog format, more than I thought I would at first. It made me feel more comfortable sharing my feelings about the book in a less formal way than essays. In other classes I always had to write very structured papers and my opinion wasn’t really included. I really enjoyed the blog because of the fact that I was able to share my opinion of the book as a whole and how I felt about it.

 

  • How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

After I posted my reviews I would always check out what other people were writing about. It was interesting to read their reviews and then hear them in class. I have to say that I always enjoyed reading what Bobby had to say. I think that he was successful at the blog format as a whole and I enjoyed the touches of humor.

  • I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I think that at first I was a little hesitant with the blog. I didn’t have any experience with blog format so I didn’t really know what was expected from my posts and how to even approach it. After the first few posts and observing what other people were saying, I became a little more comfortable with the format and the subject matter. I think it totally lived up to its promise. The blog was a great way to post our thoughts on the books and have an opening for discussion. It was definitely better then what I had feared. I really wish that other classes of mine would have done it as well.

  • Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I think that it would be a great resource for anyone interested in the topic of climate fiction and climate change in general. The blog contains really great points about the books and its relation to climate change. It is also a source that is not completely made up of one single person’s opinion. Anyone who comes across our blog will find a variety of opinions on the topic not just one particular view.

Overall it was a great class that I really enjoyed. Thanks!

Great Class….cli-fi is here to change the world….

While reading the novels, I was aware that I would need to give my opinion on the books and it made me try to capture key points and objectives. I tried not to read leisurely but some of the books were long and I basically would either skip certain chapters and write about what I remembered and how it tied into the topic of climate change. Having not been a science fiction reader I was unsure what was science fiction was and I focused more on the themes of client change in each of the books I read. In class, I tried to pick up on the ideas of what was on others mind and tended to answer and participate when I felt it was something useful and or have a opinion that meant something.

The writing for me was more expressive in nature. I felt less constraints in expressing myself and how the various books were good or bad for me. My other courses have been more formal in nature in regards to having to do a lot of research on the various topics. My writing is my writing I did not feel anything outside of trying to get  a decent grade. If people were interested that’s nice but it was not a major point for me.

I actually enjoyed reading Dennis’ comments, mostly. He had the most to say and it was well written. There were a few others that really were able to share thoughts and opinions that made sense and allowed me think about what I wrote or shared.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings? This for me was the most important idea for this class. Reading the novels but discussing climate change helped me to understand and really be in touch with where we are as a society. While I knew climate change was a real topic and something that American society focus on from time to time being able to read about it in more detail helped with me having a better connection to the world around me. The blogs helped in writing down my thoughts as it related to the novels and also what was going on in my day to day living.

 I initially was a bit intimated because I never wrote a blog and I was a bit unsure what to say in terms of my thoughts. What made it a bit easier was that it was fiction and I could look at it from the stand point of something that was not real and try and focus on what message was trying to be conveyed. The books were lengthy, I think after a time I started getting a bit tired of all of the reading and was thinking maybe it could be less books but more talking about different ideas or the underlying message in the novels. I think it is a great idea to have this looked at publicly. I think others will get more attention than mine but if what I share will help someone understand the topic and help with changing our current climate for the better, I am all for it. Kudos to you Ted! Best of Luck and thanks for a great semester!

Final Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

Knowing that I had to write a review about the book made reading more of a chore than it usually is for me. I realized that I would have to be thinking much more in depth than I normally would because I would eventually need to articulate my thoughts to other individuals. It made me pay more attention to detail and focusing how best to explain what I was thinking while reading the book. I prepared much more for class and spoke more carefully because I knew that everyone was feeling exactly how I was and did not want to embarrass themselves.

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

I really enjoyed writing in a blog because I just got to write as myself without any proper formatting or things like not being able to use the word I while writing an assignment. I definitely was always remembering that some random individual would be able to read my writing so once again I was more careful about what I wrote and trying not to sound unintelligent. This class made me realize how I feel about exposing my work to others.

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I always read a couple of the most recently published articles whenever I checked the blog so if someone’s review happened to be in that group of postings I ended up reading it.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

Posting on a blog did not affect how I read or watched stuff unrelated to the course readings but it did make me pay attention in that I was looking for climate issues and climate fiction in passing. Before this class I had never thought about the environment or climate change at all but now I think about it a ton (which just makes me depressed most of the time).

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

My attitude towards the blog did not change because I enjoyed it from the start and still enjoy it more than writing a regular term paper. The blog was definitely more enjoyable than I thought it would be and I may try to do more blog writing because of this class.

Final Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

I definitely think knowing I’d have to write a review affected the way I read each book, and how closely I read it. I had to go into it with the mindset of, “Okay, what do I have to pull out of this that would be relevant to a review?” and spend the book really looking more for key points and flaws rather than reading for enjoyment. However, it’s reading for class, so that aspect isn’t necessarily a problem.

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

I typically find when writing for other classes that I have a tendency to be long winded. I found more and more consistently with the blog that I had to be punchier and I had to make my points more succinctly. My screenwriting class uses the discussion board format where every week someone submits their script for critique online and everyone must post on the discussion board what they thought. I think I prefer this method because it gives me more opportunities to write creatively

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

Not as often as I should have, but I did try to read a handful every week. I tended to gravitate toward Bobby’s reviews because I think his writing style is very fun, and we seem to have similar tastes as far as literature goes.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

Not really, because I wasn’t approaching them from an angle of having to review them. When I read for pleasure I consume it as I would a film or television show and just experience it viscerally without necessarily analyzing it. At least not at first.

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I didn’t really have any negative attitudes toward the blog at the beginning of the semester. I thought it was a cool idea, and it turned out to be a very engaging teaching tool.

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I do! Given that cli-fi has not quite reached the mainstream in a big way, I think it’s good to provide people with a wealth of opinions on the matter from a host of different sources. None of us feel the same way about cli-fi or climate change in general and it would only serve to make someone’s view more rounded by intently looking at our blog. In that sense, I definitely believe the blog can be used as a useful teaching tool.

Final Blog Audit

 

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

I usually read books pretty closely, but I think for this class I definitely annotated them more because I’d read things that I knew I wanted to write about in my reviews later. It also helped to see you (the professor) with the book thoroughly marked up so that I didn’t feel like a crazy person with stickies hanging out of my book! I also came to class with very specific ideas and topics that stuck out to me about the book but again, that’s probably due to me annotating inside of them so much.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

It definitely changed the way I wrote, because I think I felt like I had to back up my arguments even more than usual and be more assertive when making claims on whether or not I liked a book. As far as the formatting of writing blog posts instead of papers, I loved it! It’s a lot more casual and not as stressful. I also felt more comfortable writing my opinion on books, because everyone else’s interpretations were so varied.

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I think in the beginning I read the first few brave souls who posted first on the blog just so I could see how they were formatting their posts and how casual we should be with the blog. Then later on, I started writing and posting my blogs first, and then seeing if anyone else agreed with me and if they didn’t, what their takes on the books were. I didn’t read all of the blog posts simply because of time, but I read a couple each week, just to get an idea of how everyone else in the class was feeling about the book. I did gravitate towards reading some students’ reviews who always seemed to have similar opinions to mine and there were a couple that I’d always check out because their writing voice was really fun to read.

 

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

I took another class this semester that was really heavy & close-reading about the American Gothic Short Story  and I think the combination of that and this class caused me to also annotate books that I read just for fun; it’s really weird! I feel like I have to underline certain things because I’ll want to come back to them but I don’t know why I would come back to them lol.

 

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I was really intimidated by the aspect of blogging, especially when you mentioned that other students in the class might comment on them. I’ve taken classes before where the commenting portion really got out of hand as far as disagreeing about certain topics, so that made me a little anxious. But I think that everyone’s been really cordial and respectful of each other’s opinions. At least online. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would and it helped me realize how I felt about books that I might have been on the fence about if I hadn’t actually sat down and written a review on them.

 

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

With the exception of one, I’m really proud of the reviews that I’ve written and I’d love for them and the other reviews on the blog to help someone else trying to learn more about cli-fi. This blog would definitely be useful to people interested and curious about it. Especially if they’re unsure about just jumping in. I think the blog provides a lot of insight on cli-fi and on climate change in general and I think it’d be a great starting point for people interested in it.

 

Hope everybody has a great summer!

Le Fin

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

 

Knowing that I had to write a review certainly meant that I had to read the books with a thought of what I would be saying in mind. It made me a more careful conscientious reader, because I was mindful of the materials that I was reading. By that I mean that I had to look for the elements of the stories that were important to the class. I was more aware of the climate change elements, and in particular in making sure that they exist in the novel. This was particularly important to me because reading is something I really enjoy, and it was an interesting challenge to read for things in a story rather than just enjoy it.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

 

I would say that I did not really enjoy writing reviews as much as it may have somewhat appeared. I enjoyed the process of discussing the books, and that there was certainly less pressure to write formally and academically, two things I greatly despise. I did enjoy the possibility of a wider audience, as I would hope to publish a book one day, but as of yet, I have been unsuccessful. So hopefully my experience with this blog could help me towards this goal.

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

 

I did not read them very often. I did enjoy reading them when I did, but I didn’t do it very often. I enjoy the input of my classmates; this is an interesting take, because I don’t usually have access to what my classmates are saying. Knowing how they feel about their classes and the books we are reading is a newly fascinating experience for me. And no, there were no particular writers to whom I gravitated.

 

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

 

Yes, definitely. I found myself more aware of things to do with climate in movies and shows that were not class material. There is a lot more out there than you would think. IT is interesting how different your perceptions of the world are when you’re looking for particular things versus when you’re not looking.

 

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

 

My attitude towards the blog definitely changed over the semester in quite a few ways. Firstly, I hated the idea of a blog to begin with because despite being of the Internet era, I am not very Internet savvy. So, I did not like the idea of a blog. But, I do like it now. I have learned it, I have become comfortable with it, and it makes sense to me now. I do know how to write traditional papers, and I do really like them, but now I do not quite know if I would ever want to write a normal paper again. I like blogging, and review writing, it makes me feel like a critic, who I was already, but now I can be a professional one.

Final Blog Audit: Cli-Fi Popular Fiction

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?
Given that this popular fiction course had a genre specific theme, “Cli-fi” (climate-fiction), and knowing there are mandatory blog posts made me read the texts more critically in relation to climate-change and the authors’ intended message, from my perspective. Whether the books/authors addressed climate-change literally like Oreskes’ and Conway’s “The Collapse of Western Civilization” and Squarzoni’s “Climate Change”; or made subtle inferences to adverse climate-change and/or weatherization like Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl”, or Buckell’s “Hurricane Fever”; or developed sub-textual themes of grave importance in conjunction to the effects of climate-change like in Stewart’s “Earth Abides” (conservationism), Atwood’s “The Year of the Flood” (sustainability), or Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” (commonality through religion and the hydrologic system); all these works of literature stimulate discussion. Having to post on a blog inspired me to focus on the preceding points-of-interests.

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?
I read all the blog posts and Reviews submitted by my colleagues, but only after my own review had been completed, as I did not want my opinion or experience of the text jaded by excellent interpretive insights. I gravitated more towards the negative and critical Reviews only because it is easy to simply say “I liked the book because…”; however, when you do not like nor care for a particular text you cannot simply state “I don’t like it.” The critic needs to demonstrate a legitimate reason for the distaste. For instance, I did not care for “The Windup Girl” not because it is a poorly written, structured, or executed novel; on the contrary, I did not like the book because it was written excellently, I am not a fan of the “Sci-fi/Cli-fi” genres of writing. I have an immense literary respect towards the author and the book because it is beautifully composed, but I could not truly appreciate this work of art due to my own prejudices toward “Sci-fi” and “Cli-fi.”

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?
Yes, I was careful to only read material related to the theme of climate-change with specific references or direct correlational links to the assigned works of fiction. Secondary source materials are important as they reinforce factual real-world effects that these fictional works highlight to visitors who read the blog’s informative Reviews.

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?
I am not a blogger and this was my first experience participating in any type of blogging activity or postings, and I must confess the experience is not as bad as I expected and feared. Since I am not a fan of the genre theme for the course, “Cli-fi”, I was apprehensive about expressing my unedited honest opinions and Reviews about the books, but my honesty was met with unbiased appreciation. This blog provided a safe place to express oneself without fear of ridicule and allowed an interaction among classmates that may have lacked in the classroom setting. Some people find it difficult to articulate themselves in person and the blog gave them a platform to be heard; if this was the promise of the blog, then yes it did live up to and exceed my expectations.

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?
I support and feel confident about the work I have posted on the blog. My only apprehension would be the potential for negative feedback and/or comments, but I have resolved that with all good there will be bad. That is to say, for each negative comment or criticism there will be an opposite positive reaction. With this in mind, this blog will most assuredly stand as a place of quality information on the topics of climate-change, weatherization, global-warming, and the genre theme of Climate-Fiction, “Cli-fi” literary novels for future visitors. Whether an impassioned Eco-activist or disinterested skeptic, this blog will delight as the commentary of Reviews and posts are infused with intelligent academic insights, humor, and blunt-honesty.

Final Blog Audit

Another semester is done and my time at Temple University has come to a close, and what a unique way to end it. When I first heard the class was about “climate fiction,” the groaning that when on my head was almost deafening, but everything really did seem to work out and I found a few interesting new authors.

Being a fan of science fiction, a lot of the novels were directed towards my interests, and the fact that part of the story was about the climate didn’t really change how I would have normally analyzed the books. I probably would’ve completely missed the climate stuff if I was just reading some of these books on my own. What really made this class unique was the blog.

I, personally, love blogging. I’ve been writing film reviews for a few years now, so the opportunity to do the same with books and get graded on it was right up my alley. I said on my last audit that writing these reviews was a great way to get my thoughts in order before class. Reading other blogs also helped at times to see other points of view on the books or maybe look at some parts that I hated or loved in a different light.

While I could do without some of the readings and would have liked to have explored a few more genres, I will say that this was a worthwhile class to take. What really stands out was my discovery of both Kim Stanley Robinson and Margaret Atwood, both of whose novels I’m going to try and read more of. My only one regret is that I didn’t use the blog as much as I should have.

Final Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

In terms of reading, the blog definitely helped me to focus on analyzing the books for their views on climate change rather than just reading them for enjoyment. I felt as though many of the books that we read were page-turners, and I enjoyed reading them, but the blog assignment definitely helped to keep me focused on the issues that needed to be discussed.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

This format did not really affect my writing style. While I suppose it should have made my writing more informal and accessible, I still felt more comfortable writing in a style that I would use in a term paper. The possibility of a wider audience caused me to stick more to this, as I wanted my writing to be as good as possible.

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I did not often read the reviews posted by other students, but I did read almost all of the other posts on the blog. I enjoyed looking into and commenting on the articles that my peers brought to the class’s attention. While I’m sure many of the blog posts were interesting, the other content seemed more unique, and usually very easy to comment on.

 

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I thought that the blog would be fun to write, and it was. I enjoyed reading and posting the non-review content a lot more than I thought I would. At the beginning of the class, I was slightly afraid of posting on the blog for everyone to see, but this fear dissipated over the course of the semester.

 

So Long and Thanks For All of the Fish That Haven’t Been Killed By the Warming of the Ocean

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

In some ways, I read books more critically. When I know I’m going to be writing a formal essay, I’m more inclined to take a book for what it is and try to work with its ideas regardless of its flaws. When writing reviews, I felt like I could engage with the ideas of a book while also being free to criticize them when necessary. Likewise, writing reviews made me feel more accountable for knowing the entirety of a book, whereas an academic essay allows me to specialize in one particular focus of a book. To some extent that did happen in this context because of the emphasis on climate change, but otherwise I still felt inclined to read with broader lens.

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

Well first it terrified me… but once I got past that, I was excited to have a platform to share my writing. While there’s something more personal about knowing that only a professor is going to be reading your work, there’s also something great about knowing that your writing on a blog may not stuck in such a vacuum. I felt somewhat more pressured to write with a certain quality, (regardless of whether I always achieved that or not), and as someone who enjoys writing, this was a welcome challenge.

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I tried to read everyone’s reviews to the best I was able. There may have been some skipped because they were posted really close to class, but even then I often tried to catch up after class. I’ll admit that I sometimes skimmed them if there was a lot or could tell where someone was generally going, but I was nonetheless eager to see what everyone else thought about the class. There were a couple of people whose writing I did especially look forward to each week, but I don’t want to name any names at the expense of dismissing other writers.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

I generally do a fair bit of reading outside of class, at least in terms of following the news, but this class made pay a little more attention to climate change related issues.

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I didn’t really have any expectations (good or bad) about the blog at the start of the semester, as I’ve never used this medium within a classroom setting, but overall I think it worked out well. Between Dan Bloom and the Reuters article, I’m kind of surprised by the amount of attention that it has gotten, which was pretty exciting.

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I think this blog is definitely an interesting resource, if for no one else, than for writers who may be considering working with cli-fi or just climate change in general. While we’ve produced discourse in the context of a college classroom, I think we’ve kept a level of accessibility that might be useful for judging how readers in less formal settings engage with cli-fi. I don’t know that my own work will necessarily be of help or interest to anybody, but I’m happy if one person gets anything out of it. Even a negative reaction is worth something.

So I don’t leave on a sour note, I thought I’d post this screenshot of the blog dashboard.

clifi posts

As a class we’ve produced 301 posts (+this one), 116 comments, and 7 pages of content over the semester. I think that’s pretty incredible.

Final Audit

To be completely honest, I’ve never really enjoyed having to write blogs unless it was something I was really interested in.  I think it always becomes more of a “busy work” assignment as opposed to an actual learning experience.  In terms of the books we covered, there were some I found interesting and some I didn’t like at all.  I’m sure this was how it was with everyone.  At times, due to the fact I wasn’t really interested in some of the books, I found myself simply doing the assignment because I had to and not to try and learn anything.  I feel that this affected how I wrote my blog responses.  What I mean by that, is that I simply reviewed the books and readings instead of taking a firm stance on the subjects because I wasn’t as interested in them.

Again, I think I only really paid attention to other blog posts when it was something that appealed to me or awakened my imagination.  However, when I did review blog posts I felt I paid the most attention to the writers from class who were the most thorough in their posts.  This also included individuals who engaged a lot in class and had strong arguments.

All in all, looking back at it, although I don’t personally like blogging, I did learn a decent amount about myself and my own writing style that will help me in the future not only for class but in the real world.  In a way, I was able to open up personally in terms of supporting my beliefs and arguments surrounding the topics I was interested in.  So that was one of the better aspects to blogging for class.

Final Audit

The blog portion of this class was something that made me extremely nervous at the beginning of the semester. I was worried that other people would be reading what I was writing because I wasn’t entirely confident in my writing and I was nervous about doing something wrong (like misunderstanding a character’s motives or the plot). Along with this, everyone in this class really intimidated me because the majority of them are significantly older and therefore smarter than me, making me a little hesitant to post on the blog. Eventually though, I got over myself.

Knowing I’d have to write a review of the books we read in class made me really pay extra attention to everything that was happening in the book, something I don’t typically do when I’m reading just for fun. Not like I don’t pay attention when I’m reading for fun, but I definitely don’t pay as much attention to really specific things like I did with the books we had to read for class. What mostly motivated me to do this was the high expectations that the blog had to meet, seeing as now anyone in the universe who wants to read this blog can do so. I think this is really cool because our blog posts can potentially help other people further develop their own opinions about cli-fi and also help them form a better analysis of whatever book they’re reading the review of.

I tried to read at least two of my classmates’ reviews every week just to make sure I definitely knew what was happening in the book. This was especially helpful for The Collapse of Western Civilization because while that book was one of my favorites (because of how quickly it read) it was extremely confusing, so reading my classmates’ reviews definitely helped with clarification. Overall, I think the blog was a really helpful and successful part of the class that should definitely be continued as long as this class is offered. I think that if the blog didn’t exist, I probably wouldn’t have liked this class as much as I did because while in-class discussions are helpful, the blog posts allowed us to have a more in-depth look of everyone’s opinions of the books.

Blogging

Having the blog be the primary way to communicate, outside of class, was a different experience than I’m used to. I’ve never had to write for a “broader audience,” and I think I grew accustomed to it. With that said, I definitely think I wrote in a way knowing that other people than the professor would/could be possibly reading my reviews. I was thinking of what I’d be writing, during the different readings, and felt like I almost came more prepared in terms of structuring my thoughts simply because of the public nature of the posts.

I agree with some of the other posts that say it gave the people who don’t talk as much an outlet to express themselves, as I am definitely in that group. I have always been able to express myself better in writing, and when I have time to lay out my views. The blog (along with papers) allow me to do that, and in the blogs case, frequently. I believe it was a great way to have everyone share their opinions on the books, in an open forum. I would read the other students stories as I could, but I do wish I had more time to comment on them, as there are some amazing writers in this class!

I also concur that having the blog made me more interested in news stories, current events, and articles regarding climate change etc. Things I might not have paid as much attention to if I was just reading to “read.” Having the blog so easily accessible made me more apt to post an article that I found particularly interesting, funny or relevant. That part was very enjoyable, and I enjoyed when other students would post articles as well, as I got very interested in the topic over the course of the semester.

Final Blog Audit

Discovering that I’d have to write a review on the blog definitely changed the way I read the books assigned for the semester. Usually when I have assigned readings, there are specific things a professor is looking for from a student to understand and answer. However, the type of reading we did in this class I felt was on a way more personal level and students were able to share what specifically stood out to them and why. I thought this aspect of the reading and blogging kept it very interesting due to the fact that everyone was able to blog about what they personally got from the reading. This created a thread of creative blog posts which were ultimately very interesting to read. I also thought beneficial as well because to be able to hear from other students something they felt stood out greatly in the reading could inform me of something that I might of missed or misinterpreted.

I at first felt a little stressed and intimidated at the fact that other students would be reading my blog posts on a daily basis. I was only used to handing in my writing to a professor for him or her to read confidentially. I never had to blog for a college course before. I thought the possibility of having a wider audience would make me become more hesitant on certain things I wanted to share, but that ended up not being the case at all. The casual writing style that I used to write my reviews was extremely refreshing and at times was even therapeutic. Being an English major, I am more than used to writing traditional papers, so it was really nice to be encouraged to write in my own casual writing style when reflecting on the assigned readings.

I tried to read my classmates’ blog posts as often as I could because more often than not, they all had very interesting things to share. I truly did enjoy the aspect of having a class blog a lot more than I thought I would have and I would like to see it utilized in more college courses.

Final Blog Audit

Personally, I had never taken a literature class before in which our own opinions of the books had mattered so much. Typically, all that matters to the professor is literary analysis and close-reading skills. In the case of the classics, this is totally fine, and the right way to teach a literature class. However, for a literature class about a burgeoning genre such as cli-fi, writing subjective reviews of the weekly novels was the perfect way to test the effectiveness of the genre as a whole. The weekly reviews really allowed me to examine if I found the novels to be effective works of cli-fi or not, which I think is perfect since one of this course’s aims was to examine the effectiveness of the genre as a whole.

Ultimately, the blog did not change my style up too much. I took the reviews quite seriously and treated them as though they would be graded like any other essay I write. Naturally, the style was much more personal and casual. Personally, I got the most enjoyment out of writing the longer expert reviews, as it challenged me to take the two novels I selected very seriously, while also injecting my own (highly positive) opinions into the reviews. Of course, it helps that the two novels I selected for expert review coincidentally happened to be my two favorite novels of the semester (Stewart and Atwood).

Unfortunately, since I had an extremely busy semester, I was not always able to read all of my peers’ reviews. However, when I did read them, I noticed a wide variety of writing styles. Some writers gravitated towards a more academic, serious writing style while others were much more formal. Everyone’s writings were equally interesting to read and there was an interesting blend of styles, in my opinion. My only regret is not having enough time this semester to comment on more people’s blog posts.

Finally, one thing that I really liked about the blog was that whenever I found an interesting article that was pertinent to the class, I was able to share it on the blog. This also forced me to be more engaged in the relevant news pertaining to climate change. So, I for one, found the required 8 blog posts to be a useful addition to make the course as relevant and informative as possibly. Ultimately, I found all aspects of the blog to fit perfectly well for this course, and I do not really have any suggestions for improvement.

Audit

Writing blogs for this class is very different from what I am used to doing in my other classes. I had to adjust to a different style of writing when writing these blogs because I am used to writing more formal essays. Although this transition was hard to make at first, I grew to enjoy writing these blogs because they allowed me to think more creatively with the books. It was difficult for me to narrow my thoughts while writing these blogs because we were given very little guidelines in terms of the content of the blogs. Although it was challenging to write these blogs because they were very open ended, this aspect of the blogs allowed me to produce more abstract and interesting work.

I had experience writing online blogs in other classes. However, those blogs were on Black Board through the discussion board tool, which was different from this class because our class had its own website that was available to the public. I preferred writing blogs on our class website rather than on Black Board because the information about the course was easily accessible and it was helpful to read my classmates’ blogs before I posted mine. Reading my classmates’ blogs was helpful because it allowed me to think deeper about the books and develop my own ideas. I also felt that my style of writing was different for these class blogs than other blogs that I have written in the past because I knew that the public was able to read them. For example, I thought more creatively about how I wanted to present my information because I wanted my blog to be interesting to my reader. In contrast, when I posted blogs on Black Board my blogs were less creative because I was simply fulfilling a course requirement.

In terms of my attitude towards the blog as a whole I believe that I became more interested in it as the course progressed. At first the blog made me nervous because I was afraid that my blogs would not relate to the rest of my classmates’ blogs. As I grew more comfortable posting my blogs, I became less intimidated by the blog and more open to sharing my ideas. I liked that our blogs were reviews of the books because they allowed for more opinions and interpretations of the books. Being able to freely express our personal opinions of the books allowed for our class community to become stronger and we had more interesting conversations. I enjoyed reading my classmates’ blogs because there were many times that I never considered something that one of my classmates wrote about, which deepened my thinking about the books.

Blogs blogs blogs

In the beginning of the semester when I found out a large portion of the class was going to be blogging, part of me wanted to drop the class. Not because I don’t like blogging, I just didn’t think I would be particularly good at it (as reflected in my first blog post grade). Reading other people’s blogs helped me in a lot of ways. I got more in touch with how the writing should be, free but still structured. I learned how to incorporate a lot of big ideas into a reasonable post size so that my classmates and random people reading the blog wouldn’t tune out or start to skim read after the first 4 sentences. I struggled a lot with finding a voice that I felt would adequately show my ideas and stance on certain issues within climate change. My other English classes were very largely paper based, so I actually enjoyed a lot just being able to write what I thought in a way that wasn’t so formal but was still really informing. I had another English class for my internship where we would blog, but that was just saying what we did for the week, so very personal and very easy. This was personal but professional, I feel. I love being able to see what everyone else thinks and how they are fearless in what they write. People that never spoke  in class would have the most incredible ideas and ways of saying them. So in that way I feel what you started here is amazing. Not just for the shy people who don’t talk in class, but for the people who talk too much in class….the ones that everyone pretty much tunes out after a while (sorry), it made it easier to read all of their ideas too. All in all I really enjoyed the blogging aspect of this class, a lot more than I originally thought that I would.

Your Final Thoughts

Blogging

As you’re composing your final “Audit” of the blog element of the course, here are some questions I’m interested in hearing your answers to. No need to answer all of them – and please do take it in whatever direction you’d like – but hopefully these questions will provoke some thoughts:

  • How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?
  • How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?
  • How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?
  • Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?
  • I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?
  • Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?