Blog Post Genres

What do I write on the Blog?

This semester there are several kinds of blog posts that you can write (indeed, are assigned to write for the class).  This is a brief set of guidelines to help you get an idea of how to write for the blog and how to participate in general.

Free-Form Articles – (750-1000 words)

Between each checkpoint, you are expected to write at least one free-form article.  Free-form articles are extended meditations on an idea or a connection in class discussions or readings.  You are encouraged to float new ideas, especially ones that may turn into larger projects at the end of the semester.  You can get ideas from the National Parks Research Guide (when it is published) or the Environmental Studies Research Guide.  Both guides have extensive lists of resources of popular or current importance.  There’s no better way to write about something current than to follow along with what is happening in the news, or in recent journalism on the environment and the national parks.

But that’s just a suggestion.  As we say in class, free-form articles can be about anything you’d like.  As long as it’s interesting and it integrates some of the ideas relevant to our class, we’d love to see it on the blog.  Just remember that good free form articles test out ideas and actually quote the readings we discuss in class (at least some of the time).

A good example of a Free-form article is Kelly Wacker’s post on Twelve Monkeys and Bierstadt.

Art Interpretations – (750-1000 words)

Art interpretations are a little more straightforward than free-form articles, but you want to write these with the same process in mind.  When you write art interpretations, you may want to select one or two of the paintings or images that we highlight in class and expound upon them.  It’s perfectly fine to elaborate on ideas that we gloss over in class, or to make connections between works we’ve discussed in class and other similar pieces that we haven’t discussed.  So where do you find ideas for new paintings?  You may want to check out the Art History Research Guide.

When you interpret the art works, you should upload an image of anything you’re talking about to your blog post.  You are encouraged to supplement your ideas with the words of other art critics or cultural critics, especially those that we read in class. Several times in the semester, our readings will mention the same paintings we mention in class.  Use these moments to tie all ideas about art and the national parks together.

A good example of an Art Interpretation blog post is Andrew Battista’s piece on John Gast’s American Progress.

Discussion – (length varies)

It’s okay to post to the blog additional smaller ideas, links, information, questions, or other kinds of content.  Not everything you write has to be of the 750-1000 word variety. In fact, it’s a good idea to use shorter discussion posts as a way to participate in class.


Of course, comments are also a way to participate in the class discussion.  We’ve already seen several good examples of this.


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