Starting Out

All of the writing you complete in the course will be on a blog (an abbreviation of the phrase “web log”). We will be setting up your blogs during week one of the class. Your blog is a process portfolio–a working space for your reading, thinking and writing. The blog is a tool for making visible your thinking as well, for your peers and anyone else who might be interested. Finally, the blog is a product, a portfolio that I will use to assess your learning in the course.

Setting Up Your Blog Go to You will be prompted to move through a series of steps:

  • Let’s get started: choose the theme “A List of My Latest Posts.” Choose Twenty Sixteen as a theme. You will have the opportunity to change the theme later
  • choose a domain address: use the following convention (first initial + last name + democracy). If you are planning to use a pseudonym (pen name, nom de plume, or alias) use the first initial and last name of the pseudonym.
  • Select the Free option plan
  • Create your account

Once you have registered the blog, you will be prompted to give the site a title and a tagline (or subtitle). For now consider the course as a context for the title. For example, I might call my site “Thinking and Writing Democracy.” You will have the opportunity to revise your title, and add a tagline or subtitle, as you get further into the course.  If you have a laptop or tablet, please bring it to class on Thursday. We will talk about configuring and personalizing your blog, using the Reader feature to follow each other’s blogs, and answer other Word Press questions.

Write a Professional Bio Compose a 100-200 word description that represents you as a college student.

Once you have created the blog and written your bio, send an e-mail with the blog URL and the bio to Mark at Please send them no later than noon on Thursday.