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.
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.