Instructions and Rubric


Blog Postings

You will be required to complete blog postings over the course of the semester. For whichever reading sections you are assigned (see schedule on Blackboard), you will write a blog post (approximately 300-400 words) that will quickly summarize the reading your are assigned. You will then choose one aspect of that topic (it does not have to have been mentioned explicitly in the readings or class discussion) and evaluate the Court opinion assertions and arguments. You should provide your standard for evaluation, evidence to support your point, and (possibly) your opinion on whether the Court decided the case appropriately (was there something they did not consider, what are the policy implications, and so on).

For example if you are writing about a Supreme Court case, you can discuss the implications of the decision, or whether or not your agreed with the majority’s reasoning and why, you could also link a Court opinion to other readings (such as Just Mercy), class discussion, or current events (really, you can be creative). You are also free to pose questions to the commenters.

Blog Posting Due Dates: Your blog posts should be posted two days before the day off the assigned readings by 5:00 pm. For example if you are schedule to post on readings for 10/20 your post should be on the web blog by 5:00 pm on 10/18. See info below:

  • For readings scheduled on Thursday, 10/20 you need to post by Tuesday, 10/18, 5:00 pm.
  • For readings scheduled on Tuesday, 10/25 you need to post by Sunday, 10/23, 5:00 pm.
  • For readings scheduled on Thursday, 10/20 you need to post by Tuesday, 10/18, 5:00 pm.
  • For readings scheduled on Tuesday, 11/1 you need to post by Sunday, 10/30, 5:00 pm.
  • For readings scheduled on Tuesday, 11/8 you need to post by Sunday, 11/6, 5:00 pm.
  • For readings scheduled on Tuesday, 11/15 you need to post by Sunday, 11/21, 5:00 pm.

All those not assigned to post a blog will be required to comment on one (1) of the posted blogs. These comments are not simply ‘good job’ or ‘you’re wrong’ but should critically examine the poster’s standard of evaluation, argument/evidence, and/or suggestions for improvement. Do you agree (or disagree) with the poster and why? What assumptions does the poster make, and so on. Comments should be at least a full paragraph. More thorough and insightful comments will receive better scores.

Comments should be posted the day before the scheduled reading by 5:00 pm. For example, if you are commenting on post that discusses the reading scheduled for 10/20 your comments should be posted by Monday, 10/19 by 5:00 pm.


Grading of Blog Posts and Comments:

Grading of the blog posts is outlined below. Grading comments will be on a full credit, half credit, no credit scale. Blog posts are each worth 50 points (2 blog posts = 100 pts) and the comments (combined) are worth 50 points for total of 150 points.

Post poses a question or a new idea that coherently integrates examples with evidence and critical analysis; writer demonstrates awareness of limitations or implications of the posed standard of evaluation, question, or idea. The post reflects in-depth engagement and understanding of the subject.

Post asks a question or presents an interesting standard of evaluation and assess it with appropriate evidence or critical analysis; post demonstrates critical thinking skills, identification of underlying assumptions, and evidence evaluation. The post reflects good engagement with the subject.


Post is reasonably focused; with a somewhat clear standard of evaluation that is well described however, may not be particularly groundbreaking or innovative; evidence or critical analysis presented may not fit the standard well or relies heavily on secondary analysis (like editorials); no alternative answers or explanations are considered. The post reflects moderate engagement with the topic.


The post lacks a clear standard of evaluation, features poor analysis, evidence is descriptive; few connections are made between ideas. The post reflects passing engagement with the topic.


Post is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays little evidence of engagement with the topic.