How to write a blog post

By Hayley Dunmire

There a couple of things to remember when writing a blog post:

1. it is like a diary- be honest and insightful

2. no stuffy language: keep it light but formal

3. what you say must have meaning and depth – you can’t just say anything

4. just because it is a blog doesn’t mean that all your essay writing goes out of the window

Be Honest

A blog is a process of writing, meaning that it is how you got to your findings as opposed to showing what you found out. How you get your findings also includes the good and bad that you find with it. However just because you are allowed to show the bad doesn’t mean that your blog becomes one giant rantl it has to have meaning and substance behind it.


The language of a blog part of what makes it a blog. It is a combination of both formal and informal–in that it is nothing like the language used in a formal essay where it is stiff and has no emotion or personal connection tied to it, or the language we use when we text people where it is a jumbled mess of missing words and symbols. It is a combination of the two: it looks at your personal experience of learning and association with the language that can be easily comprehended and understood but still has a sense of class.


What you have to say is still important in that the meaning and depth behind something has not evaporated. Just because the formality of the language has disappeared, does not mean the substance has to go as well. The whole point of a blog is to get your message across, so make sure what you have to say is important.


Just because a Blog isn’t as formal as an essay doesn’t mean that the format of the post can be whatever you want. It should still be as organized as an essay with an intro, body and a conclusion. Your Blog post should also include a theme and thesis, which your Blog should rotate around. For the body of your essay you should include screen shots to act as examples to your body paragraph which supports your blog post.

Overall a Blog post is like a fancy diary entry with truth, class, structure as well as a meaning.


Digital Scholarship Seminar: Undergraduates Collaborating in Digital Humanities

One of the key appeals for digital humanities at small liberal arts colleges has been as an avenue for undergraduate research in the humanities. NITLE’s next Digital Scholarship Seminar offers the opportunity to talk with undergrads from four different institutions about the benefits and challenges of engaging in digital humanities research.

This seminar will take place online in NITLE’s Virtual Auditorium.  To find out more or register visit the event website:

Please register online by Wednesday, April 25. Registration is free, however space is limited.

All the Best,

Rebecca Davis

Rebecca Frost Davis, Ph.D.

Program Officer for the Humanities

National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)

1001 East University Avenue | Georgetown, Texas 78626 | tel. 512 863-1734 | fax 512 819-7684

Delicious: rebeccadavis | Twitter: @FrostDavis

Diigo: rebeccadavis

Research Project Explanation

I plan to write a research project on English 203 after the course is finished.

The purpose of my study is to evaluate the learning outcomes and levels of engagement in the course between January 2012 and April 2012. Specifically, I am interested in your experience with both the text analysis tools and the collaborative writing platform (the course blog) that we are using in the course.

The results of this study will help me to make informed decisions about changing elements of the course, and improve the ways I teach all courses in the future.

As a participant in this study you will be asked to consent to your course assignments (completed as part of the ENGL203 course requirements) and written feedback being used, after the course is finished, to help describe, evaluate, and report the learning progression. The feedback will consist of a written survey in April 2012.

I will also use aggregate Universal Student Rating of Instruction (USRI) scores, which measure student satisfaction with the course. Your completion of the USRI is optional.

Participation in this study is completely voluntary and confidential. You are free to discontinue participation at any time. If you chose at any time not to participate in the study, none of your information would be used.

Your participation in this research will in no way affect your grade in this course. I (the course instructor) will only know who has consented to participate after final grades are posted.

Phase 3 Instructions

In Phase 3 you will write an extended blog post, between 1500 and 2500 words. This final post is your opportunity to reflect on wider issues than we have addressed in English 203, but also to reflect on what you have learned since the course began. Worth 30%, it is officially due on the last day of classes (April 13th), but I am giving you a twelve-day extension to midnight on Wednesday, April 25th. Continue reading

About the Developers

A few people have asked about the contact information for the developers of our various tools. As I said in class, remember a few things before you contact people for help:

  1. Describe your problem in detail, and ask clear and focused questions. Tell them what steps you have taken to try to resolve it yourself.
  2. Be polite and deferential. They are not customer service agents, but professors and experts who have devoted a lot of time to developing these tools and making them freely available to us.
  3. Give them at least 48 hours to respond; if you have nothing by then, take that as your answer or just keep waiting. Don’t send a follow-up for at least a week.
  4. Thank them for their time.
  5. Link to the course blog in your e-mail.

The Developers

Feel free to add other names of helpful people you’ve contacted in the comments; just make sure you tell us which program they were helpful about.


  • Geoffrey Rockwell has a contact page on his blog. He is also on Twitter.
  • Stéfan Sinclair also has a contact page with a form, and here is his Twitter profile.
  • Martin Mueller is the contact person; you can e-mail him directly from the home page.
  • Rockwell, above, is listed as their main/only contact.
  • Kamal Ranaweera <kamal.ranaweera {at}> manages user accounts.
  • Aditi Muralidharan’s blog has her e-mail and Twitter details.

MONK basics

MONK (an acronym for Metadata Offer New Knowledge) is by the developers of WordHoard.

Start with this tutorial. Here are some notes:

  • MONK’s capabilities are summed up in the word “metadata,” which essentially means data about data. Parts of speech and lemmas are different examples of metadata.
  • For example, in the phrase “the Thames ran softly,” we know that ran is a verb (specifically, the past participle of to run); that softly is an adverb, modifying ran; that the Thames is a noun (specifically, a river in southern England).
  • The tutorial tells us that MONK treats all texts as “bags of words.” Think of these like bags of Scrabble tiles, but where every word is copied onto multiple tiles. Continue reading

Voyeur basics

Voyeur (which was rebranded “Voyant” in 2011) is a suite of text-visualization tools, by the developers of TAPoR (Sinclair and Rockwell). Here is the material we will cover in our introductory workshop on February 10th:

  1. To learn this tool, begin with a “Quick Guide of Voyeur for Users.” It offers an overview of (1) how to get texts into Voyeur, and (2) how to view different kinds of results in Voyeur’s interface.
  2. The next step is to get texts into Voyeur. Here is a video explaining how to do that. We will work with these files of Hamlet.
  3. After that, you’re ready to view the results. Here is a video on the various tools that Voyeur gives you. Continue reading

WordSeer basics

WordSeer is a program for searching for words and their uses/relationships in all of Shakespeare’s texts, and for visualizing search results in ways that provoke new understanding and new questions. The designer is Aditi Muralidharan. In my notes on each of her videos below, I’ll include a series of questions about Hamlet that WordSeer could help you answer.

This is an introduction to the program’s capabilities and features.

Part 1 covers simple search, for word frequency and location, and relational search, for grammatical relationships (e.g. words describing other words). Continue reading

WordHoard basics

This Wednesday, in TFDL 440A, is the first of five scheduled workshops on text-analysis tools in English 203. I’ll be joined by two research assistants for the course, Sarah Hill and Sarah Hertz.

We have a few goals for the workshop. After you finish reading this post, click on the 5 links in this numbered list for answers to these questions, and our required readings for Wednesday. Continue reading

File for Encoding Workshop + Exercise

Here is the XML file we will use for the encoding workshop and exercise, starting next week.

After you open this link, choose ‘Save as’ in the File menu to save it to your computer.

To view it, you will need a text editor (which is not a word processor). The standard editors are Notepad (Windows) and TextEdit (Mac). I like and use the Oxygen editor, which you can download for free, but which is probably more complex than many of us need for English 203.