Technology in Teaching Showcase

Collaborative Technology-Based Projects at Hamilton College

Commonplace Blog Project Overview

Description and Resources


Course Name:
ENGL_326W_01_SP2013: Women Writers in Early and Modern England

Course Description:

Work by women writing in English during the 17th and early 18th-centuries. Examination of how women developed individual and public voices, appropriated and adapted received literary forms, and entered into debates about the status and education of women. Attention to the tension between manuscript circulation and print culture, to the reception of these writers in their day, and to their reception in literary history. (1660-1900) (Writing-intensive.)

Project Description:

The class created an online Commonplace Blog in which students posted snippets of poems or critical writing that they found particularly interesting, selections from their reading journals, and responses to comments from others’ journals. This replicates the functionality of the traditional commonplace book but with an added social/collaborative layer made possible by the online context.

The introduction to this project included a discussion about what kinds of postings will be most useful. Each student posted at least three times a week.

» Educational Technologist Ted Fondak
» Jane Watson Irwin Professor of English and Creative Writing Margaret Thickstun

Completed Student Projects

ENGL 326 SP2013 Commonplace Blog - Created Spring, 2013

Goals, Process and Outcomes

Project Goals:
  • The creation of a digital Commonplace Blog that permits students and Professor Thickstun to collaboratively share information, curate, and communicate;
  • To help students understand why the commonplace book is a common historical object;
  • To compel the students to grapple with schemas and organizational systems to appropriately store, access, retrieve, and comment on the information stored in the Commonplace Blog (i.e. Information Literacy.)

Project Process:

Course Project Process:

  1. Hamilton maintains a blogging solution at http://hamilton.edu/blogs; Faculty, staff, and students can easily apply to have one created for their efforts.
  2. An initial one-hour meeting to discuss how a digital Commonplace Book might be realized and utilized.
  3. A one-hour meeting between Ted Fondak and Professor Thickstun to review the Blog solution and become familiar with its operations in the context of this class.
  4. A twenty-minute in-class workshop by Ted Fondak to familiarize the students with the solution.
  5. Ongoing, intermittent, electronic support by Ted Fondak and Web Services.

Project Feedback:

Uniformly excellent. Professor Thickstun also appreciated Web Services' quick, diligent, thorough assisstance when technological problems arose.