I wrote a short email to my seminar class called “Game, Chance and Narrative” about how to create a nice blog for their final presentations. They still have to write final papers, but I have them create blogs as well. My hope is that they can use the act of writing for the blog as a way to look again at their prose.

Here are the notes I sent out. Nothing earth shattering here, but I think the points are very basic, good ones.

Here are some points I thought of about your blogs:

Chunkify — even if the paragraphs in your paper are long, break them up into shorter paragraphs for the blog. It just makes the visual impact better — nobody likes to read long paragraphs on the screen.

Make sections — even if your paper just works as one long section, break your blog up into separate points. You can even number them. Make them separate posts.

Use multimedia — even if you don’t need a video or image to make your point clearer, you can still include a few extra things just to keep it lively. Don’t put in totally irrelevant stuff, but you have space so use it.

Link key phrases and words — blogs and other websites just seem livelier if you link phrases and words to relevant articles. You can even be witty this way — link to strange things that help you make your point.

Use your blog writing to help you revise your paper — often I find that something I wrote in a Word doc seems unnecessarily wordy when I put it on a blog. Use the blog as a new way to look at your prose for your paper.

Use the blog formatting features — especially for long quotes from essays, use the block quote tags in the blog. Generally, if a quote from a text is longer than 4 lines (on paper) it should be offset as a block quote — otherwise, just use regular quotes and leave them in the paragaph.

You can have much more text on your blog than in your paper, but I want you to stick to the paper length for what you hand in on the page. Your paper shouldn’t read like a bunch of blog posts, but like a sophisticaed research paper. Don’t include screencaps or anything like that in your paper, just refer to your blog.

Your presentations should be about 7-10 minutes. We have to race through all of them in 3 hours, so time it well. If you have time, practice! During your presentation, feel free to ask the class if they have additional ideas about a section or two, or other examples — this can be a workshop for your final paper.