Thursday, June 17, 2010

Analyzing "Katherine Writes"

As part of the final for my English 295 class, I've been assigned to analyze my classmate Katherine's blog based on the criteria our professor Gideon Burton will be grading our research blogs on.  Katherine's blog addresses the topic of the digital sublime and whether or not "access to limitless knowledge via the internet removes the sense of wonder for the world".  

Strong Points
Katherine's topic was interesting and her ideas were well-researched.  She did an excellent job of fulfilling the Analysis criterion by effectively summarizing, appropriately quoting, and properly evaluating a variety of sources.  She used poems by several different Romantic authors that tied into her theories on the digital sublime, and she also analyzed books(American Technological Sublime, On The Sublime and Beautiful), current events (BP oil spill), online tools (, and events that related to her topic.  For this reason, she also did well meeting the Currency/History, Links, and Sources criteria.  She made a good faith effort to engage others who are researching similar topics (as she narrated in this post), and to avoid isolated expression.  I believe she was able to make a genuine contribution to the learning community.   
Something I was impressed by as I read Katherine's blog was her writing style.  Her blog posts were informal enough that I enjoyed reading them, but scholarly enough to sound legitimate.  She did well communicating her personality through her blog, both through the design and layout of her blog and through her writing as she communicated her interest in and love for the environment.  She did a wonderful job of narrating what the research process was like for her, and wasn't afraid to communicate when she was overwhelmed or frustrated by her project.  I could see how her research developed very clearly.  She also met the Media criterion by effectively employing images to complement her posts and using video footage of the BP oil spill to illustrate a powerful point.

Although Katherine excelled at narrating the research process, I found myself wishing that she had written more conclusive, expository blog posts.  I felt like, at times, her posts seemed unrelated to each other and to her thesis overall.  This probably would have been eliminated if she had used the hub post/spokes model of blogging, where a central blog post in which she thoroughly explains her thesis statement is linked to blog posts which directly support it. 

Overall, however, I think that Katherine's blog exemplifies what the goal of this class was.  She found a topic that was rooted in literature and used it to analyze the way technology affects our world.  Her posts were well-written and interesting to read.  I appreciated how candid she was in her writing and how thorough she was in her research.     

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