Technology in Teaching Showcase

Collaborative Technology-Based Projects at Hamilton College

Nature Writing Blog Project Overview

Description and Resources


Course Name:
Literature and the Environment

Course Description:

Surveys the history of environmentalist thinking as it has been reflected in literary texts. Examines key ideas of environmentalism and questions of representation, literary value and political relevance. Authors include Thoreau, Faulkner, Abbey, Lopez and Jeffers, as well as a few non-American writers. Texts include memoirs, essays, novels and poems.

Project Description:

To create a blog comprised of a series of writing exercises by each student in the class. Each blog post needed to respond both to an assigned reading, and to a specific place that could be located on the blog map. Each post thus involves critical engagement, creative writing, and experience and observation of the physical world.

» Professor of English Onno Oerlemans

Completed Student Projects

Nature Writing Blog - Created Fall, 2012

Goals, Process and Outcomes

Project Goals:
  • To have multiple opportunities to write about the natural world
  • To have a venue for responding to class texts
  • To create a venue that encouraged thinking about place in specific terms
  • To have a public space for this writing, so that insights could be shared, and discussions continue.

Learning Objectives:
  • To think about writing in relation both to other texts, and to specific places.
  • To think about writing as necessarily creative and analytical.
  • To think about how writing affects thinking about place; how observation affects writing, writing affects observation.

Project Process:

Take advantage of an online space to represent the natural world and experience in it. Students were encouraged to think about including sound and picture files, and to post responses to each other’s entries.

Learning Outcomes:

Students did respond to each others’ posts, and professor graded and gave extensive feedback on each one.