Onward to Week 2

We accomplished a lot in class on Thursday; but I also want to make sure you know exactly what is expected of you before we gather on Tuesday next week. Please read the following and get to work in the areas below.

Make your Blog Your Own In managing your blog you are exploring the implications of how you represent yourself in a public space—empowering you to move beyond the passive consumption and toward more active production of content in the digital commons

Send me your course blog URL by Friday September 1

Work on your course blog before we meet on Tuesday.

First, have a look at Devon Coffey’s blog to see what he has done:

  • He has chosen a theme with a large header/landing page and slider
  • He has a “kick ass” title. The branching out metaphor is connected to the image. This is what I mean by a blog having integrity (the parts fit into the whole)
  • An inviting and interesting “tagline” that is a quotation from a writer (John Muir) who is part of the tradition of writers we are studying
  • A blog with a sidebar (currently on the right margin) with the current widgets: Search, Recent Posts, Recent Comments, Archives, Categories, Meta

Your to do list begins with going to your dashboard and setting up a course site that will be inviting and engaging for your readers:

  • Play with themes and find one that you like
  • Work on your title and tagline
  • Organize widgets in the sidebar and/or delete inactive widgets
  • Consider pages to organize information

The checklist below will develop your skills (such as adding images and links) and establish habits, or protocols, (such as including categories and tags when you publish a post. Do what you are able before next week—some of you will move further along in the checklist than others. But make a note to consider and complete all of the tasks below, at a minimum, before the end of week 3 in the course. My assessment of your work in the course will be in part based on the timely and thoughtful engagement with these activities:

  • (Re)consider your theme You are welcome to experiment with different themes. Word Press has hundreds of free themes for you to try. Don’t worry: you can try one out and if it does not work you can always switch back to your original or default theme
  • Clean up your theme delete default pages, links that are not relevant, widgets in sidebars or footers that you are not using; organize the sidebar or footer to make the site easier to navigate, making sure there is a list of “Recent Posts” so that a reader has a table of contents; try a “sticky post” that will welcome readers to your site and will be “above the fold” for visitors of your site;
  • Edit your “About” page: Readers want to know who is writing and you are in control of what a reader will know. Remember that you want to be taken seriously and so what you say (or do not say) will shape a perception of you
  • Add an Image to your About page Consider justifying image left or right and wrapping text using image editor. If you choose not to use an image of yourself, choose an appropriate image that you would like your readers to associate with you
  • Learn to use images in your postsUse your own. You can use Google Search to poke around on the web and find images that free to use. Use embedded links to relevant materials and resources, as well as media, in your posts. Use your own images. Visit Unsplash, a community sharing site with over 200,000 free do-whatever-you-want high-resolution photos. Or use the Penn Libraries Public domain Images portal for access to other image archives.
  • Add or Modify your Blog Header You don’t need a splashy header. And what you can do with a header is in some cases determined by the theme you have chosen. Still, headers are attractive and can serve to reinforce or echo the blog theme.
  • Add a Links or Blogroll Widget (if you do not already have one) Delete default WP links that do not seem relevant or necessary. Consider context, perhaps adding the College home page (Title of the link should be the name of the College). Link to course web page. As your projects develop later in the course you will likely want to add to the list of links.
  • Consider moving the content of your blog out into other social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that you use. You can easily add a twitter widget to your blog, for example.

License your Content As authors creating and publishing content on the web, you need to think about copyright and the commons, digital communities, collaboration and sharing. Here is what you need to do:

  • Go to the course page and have a look at the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License icon
  • Visit Creative Commons and watch the three-minute Creative Commons Remix on Vimeo. Read About Our Licenses and What They Do. You will learn how the licenses for your work are designed to address legal, human, and software considerations
  • Choose a license. I recommend and use the least restrictive license. The 4.0 Licenseallows others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work, even commercially, as long as users credit us for the original creation. You retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make non-commercial uses of your work. Once you have chosen a license, add a Text Widget to your Blog. Copy and paste the code into the text window. Update to save changes.

We will be talking about working in the open as the course as the semester unfolds.

Looking for answers to questions? Go to the Word Press Codex .


General guidelines for writing are on the Writing Projects page on the Writing in an Endangered World Web Site. The length of your post will be around 1000 words.

There are so many things to write about as you enter into the study of a subject like environmental literature. Look at the An Introduction to Environmental Literature. Read and perhaps begin writing about the questions in the course description. Write about why environmental literature might matter. Look at the kinks on the course site and search a term or terms that intrigue you and educate your reader. There are many other questions. How do I understand myself and my relationship to the more-than-human world—to natural and built environments, to places like cities, forests, ponds, oceans, animals, gardens, wilderness areas, parks? What is environmental writing? What is environmentalism? How might we think about environmental writing in relationship to the social movement of environmentalism? What can we learn by studying environmental concern in the twentieth century through forms of journalism, advertising, music, popular culture?

Before you publish:

  • Have you edited and formatted your text?
  • Do you have a concise and thoughtful title?
  • Have you considered an image or images in your post?
  • Have you considered linking to other digital sites or resources?
  • In the editing screen, add the category “First Thoughts” and then add tags to the post. Include at least three tags with each post. The tags will be names, key terms, places, etc.

Publish your first blog post (and delete the default “Hello World” post). Once you publish, you will likely want to go back and make changes. I encourage you to curate your blog posts as the course unfolds.


Read Ramachandra Guha, “Part One: Environmentalism’s First Wave,” in Environmentalism: A Global History, 1-62. As you read, note the mention of the writers Guha mentions, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell, Alexander von Humboldt, Dietrich Brandis, George Perkins Marsh, Miguel Angel de Quevedo