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!

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 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.

Audit

Overall, I think that the blog has been a positive experience so far. As a person who has great interest in climate change, I am always pleased when I see that people are learning about it and having open discussions. It is the most important problem that our generation and generations to come will have to face. Presently, we stand at a very crucial point where our actions can still have a positive impact. In my opinion, any type of change must first be started with a simple conversation, which is exactly what our class and the blog are achieving. While our discussions are not on the world stage or anything close to it, it is important to take whatever knowledge we can take away from the class experience and to share it with anyone who will listen. It is in this light that we can claim that as a class and as bloggers we were successful.

 

I have not taken many writing or English courses in my time at Temple, but the ones that I have taken were quite different from this class. I have written on discussion boards for classes but never on a blog. I find this platform to be interesting as it allows for a broader conversation. Most English classes I have taken have been largely writing oriented, which makes a lot of sense. I do think that when diving into a whole new genre such as cli-fi the discussion based class makes sense as well. I think that in terms of basing a class around the cli-fi genre, a blog is a perfect way for the class to communicate. In my opinion, I am not sure that much has to be done to make the blog better. It definitely sets up our class for better discussions and it allows us to inform each other on topics that we might not have time to discuss in class. I think that as long as everyone feels comfortable commenting on peoples’ posts and reviews, as everyone should, nothing has to be changed. I hate to be that person who has no suggestions for improvement and who says that everything is fine, but in my humble opinion, as long as a discussion is happening we shouldn’t mess with success.

 

 

Blogging Audit

What’s going well?
If the purpose of this blog is to bring informative awareness about environmental issues plaguing the planet, potential dangers that future generations may face due to atmospheric interferences and deterioration, weatherization, global warming, climate change, and to promote the recently popularized genre of climate-change-fiction known as “Cli-fi”: then the blog is a success. The blog is comprised of intelligently constructed book reviews and news postings focusing visitors’ attention on the seriousness of climate change and its effects on future civilizations. Moreover, this blog demonstrates the power of social media as a promotional tool, as many people were unaware of climate-change-fiction. The blog also validates the power the Arts have in bringing consciousness to social ills.

What do you wish was different?
I am not a blogger nor am I a fan of blogging, and this is the first experience I have had with this type of writing. Blogs are great social media resources for obtaining a concentrated amount of information on a particular topic. However, blogs are intrusive and opens doorways for people to read one’s thoughts, opinions, ideals, and not everyone wants this information available to the world. With this in mind, I personally would want to eliminate the mandated blog posts because not everyone wants their writings/thoughts publicized for the world; I would rather submit assignments privately to the professor.

How could we make the blog better?
More visual graphics. Right now the blog reads like an endless amount of wordiness. Visitors may lose interest when there is not enough visual stimuli. Internet surfers read with more than just their minds; they let their eyes scan the screen for an image that provokes thought and holds their attention to entice them to read the literary commentary of the blog.

How does posting on a blog compare to writing you’ve done for other classes?
The writings I have posted for the blog (the short and expert reviews) have been centered on the functionality of academia; meaning, my writings are presented on a level equal to other academic courses that require written submissions of work. For me there is no difference between the two because I put the same amount of effort and thought into both writing styles. But I do not like having my work publicized for the world to see that is why I am thankful that outsiders cannot post comments on the blog, I am NOT a fan of unsolicited opinions, commentary, or criticism.

Audit

I’ve taken a plethora of English classes over the course of my college career, but definitely none quite like this one. I honestly had no idea what to expect once I registered for this class, other than the fact that we would be doing a great deal of reading, but I can genuinely say I was not expecting it to be focused on climate change and apocalypse scenarios. With that being said, I definitely enjoy the topics read and discussed for the most part. At times the amount of science incorporated with these issues can be somewhat overwhelming and confusing, but other than that I find the readings and class discussions that follow to be informative and entertaining. I took a sustainable environment course last year and I feel that the class itself generally sparked my interest in the topic of climate change, so when I heard that this class would be specifically reading into that it definitely got my attention.

As for the blogging aspect of the class, this is something I’ve never done for a course. I believe at times it can be a little intimidating, but overall I find it to be very helpful for sorting out my own opinions and feelings towards each book along with seeing if someone else in the class agrees or disagrees with me. I find blogging about the required texts and books is something that has deemed itself very effective for this class. It is a way for the students who don’t necessarily feel comfortable enough to voice their opinions in class to do so via blog entry. I feel that it is also able to successfully engage every student equally. Even though I read all of my peer’s posts every week, I find myself forgetting to comment, so that is something I need to work on.