Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Setting up a Student Blog on Blogger

My Shakespeare students are required to blog. This post is intended to guide them through the basic setup. Later, there will be more information about customizing blogs and criteria for good blogging. I am requiring everyone to use the Blogger/Blogspot platform for consistency's sake:

Blog Setup
  1. Go to
    If you already have a Gmail or Google account, go ahead and sign in. If not, click on Get Started which will help you to get an account.
  2. Within your Blogger dashboard, click on "Create a Blog" (on the right).
  3. Blog Title
    This will appear on the top of your blog. Try not to make your blog title sound like a boring assignment ("My Shakespeare blog" or "English 232 blog"), and don't make the title too long. If you use a quotation, make it super short. Browse the list of past student blogs here and ask yourself, "Which of these blog titles make me interested to read the blog, and which do not?" Your blog title can be changed later, but you shouldn't change it often or it will confuse people. 
  4. Blog Address (URL). Normally you can choose anything (that's available) to go in front of  However, for this class please follow this naming convention for your blog: LastNameFirstNameCourseNumber. Example: burtongideon232. If this name isn't available, please add a middle initial or another variation on your name like brownmatt232 instead of brownmatthew232.
  5. Choose a Template
    You can play with this later, customizing the look and feel of your blog. Pick one of the simple standard templates to get started. Later, go back through the "Design" tab to customize more.
  6. Publish your first post.
    Please make an introduction post on the topic of your Shakespeare experience and interests. 
  7. Fill out the form here to submit your blog's URL:

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Shakespeare Badge System

Have you earned your Hamlet badge yet? What about your Globe Theatre Badge for attending and reviewing stage productions of Shakespeare's plays? Or maybe you'd like to earn your Horatio Badge, for demonstrating "thou art a scholar" of Shakespeare?

After brainstorming ideas about open accreditation with open content advocate David Wiley recently, I have been playing with the idea of developing an open learning credential system for my Shakespeare course through which badges would be used to represent achieving learning outcomes. Such a system would not simply be a way for my students to demonstrate their learning to me or get a grade; it would provide a prototype for open credentialing -- a concept that will do much, I believe, to advance current educational reform. If a badge system can work with a common subject like Shakespeare, perhaps it could be adapted more broadly.

This is how I foresee it working: