Assignment

This assignment asks you to imagine that you write an online blog about a topic you find interesting: music, film, television, video games, books, museums, new technology, archives, etc. You will select a recent product in your area of interest and write a review that you will publish on your blog.

To simulate a blog, your review will be published on the course website, which means that it should include at least a few images, links, and tags, and should be properly designed and formatted for a digital environment.

In your review, you should consider and include the following:

  • Present the Subject: You must present the object/subject under review so that readers know what is being judged. It would be good to describe it in some detail. Note that the language used to present the subject may also be used to evaluate it.
  • Contextualize the Subject: In addition to presenting the specific object/subject under review, you should also provide a broader context to your review. The best reviews often start by reflecting on a larger issue related to the object, and then move in closer for a detailed review.
  • Assert an Clear Overall Opinion: What is your overall opinion of your subject? Is it better or worse than something comparable? Have you presented a definitive opinion, but also one that is balanced and considers both pros and cons?       Evaluations often state the judgment up front in the form of a thesis and then restate this throughout the essay.
  • Give Reasons and Support: What supporting reasons back up your opinions? Are these reasons recognized standards for evaluating this particular subject?       Have you used relevant examples, quotations, facts, or personal anecdotes (from your own knowledge or outside research)?
  • Counter-argue: Have you anticipated that some of your readers may resist your evaluation? Have you anticipated their objections or questions by either refuting or accommodating?
  • Establish Credibility: Have you established your own personal credibility on this subject so that your readers will have confidence in your judgment? Will you readers feel confident that you know a lot about this subject?
  • Properly Formatted Images and Links: Does your review incorporate images and links when appropriate? Does the review flesh out its argument using links, images, and other digital tools? Is the design of the review well suited for the digital environment?

How to prepare for this writing assignment:

  • Think about a recent time when you were evaluating something you heard, saw, or tried. What are subjects you commonly evaluate or feel particularly knowledgeable about?
  • Consider your audience. Once you have selected your topic, think about what type of readers would follow a blog on this subject. Make sure that you address their interests and concerns.
  • Think about other evaluations you have read, heard, or seen on television (for instance, a favorite film reviewer or writer for Rolling Stone magazine). Another great source of public reviews is the Los Angeles Review of Books. Read some reviews to see how they’re structured.
  • Explore your subject, brainstorm ideas about its larger context, make a list of good/bad qualities, list your reasons, and find support.

Requirements

  • Your review should be at least 1000 words and it should be properly formatted online with links, images, headings, and tags.
  • Topic Proposal due: Wednesday 09/16
  • Rough Draft due: Wednesday, 09/23
  • Final Draft due: Wednesday, 09/30