The following description of student blog post discussion participation is also available as a PDF for download: sbp-discussions



Participating in an online discussion forum (a blog) is a useful way for people on the Internet to share ideas, engage with communities of people with common interests, and do so from the comfort of their own home—it’s the cliché interconnected global world in action!

Computer literacy and fluency in online forums are important skills to have, and participating in such online forums is an easy way to ensure that you’re thinking about music more often than just during our once-weekly class meetings. Therefore, online participation is a significant portion of this class (30% of your overall grade, counting both instructor-led and student-led online discussions). At the same time, it’s also a task in which you can easily earn full points. Think of this portion of the course as an opportunity to engage in a lively conversation, learn from each other, extend or expand our in-class work, and practice your writing skills in an informal setting (with your peers and graded for participation). You’ll also be asked to reflect on your experience with these online discussions, your student blog post, and the other student-led blog discussions in another formal writing assignment (Blog response essay, due May 15 in section F1 and May 18 in section F4).

Due dates:

Each student will submit a piece of formal writing (Student Blog Post), and these will be published in sets of 4 or 5 SBP each week, forming the basis of student-led online discussions in April and May. These discussion periods begin at 12:01am on the start day and end at 11:59pm on the end day:


F1 (Mondays)

Comment period Monday-Sunday

F4 (Thursdays)

Comment period Wednesday-Tuesday

SBP set #1 April 10-16 April 12-18
SBP set #2 April 17-23 April 19-25
SBP set #3 April 24-30 April 26-May 2
SBP set #4 May 1-7 May 3-9
SBP set #5 May 8-14 May 10-16


Just before the start of an SBP week, you’ll receive an email from me if your post is going to be “live” (available for comments). If so, then you task that week is to lead the ongoing conversation about your post, and you are not required to comment on any of the other posts available that week. If you are not the author of a “live” SBP post that week, your task is to participate in all of the discussions happening that week (4 or 5).

Managing your WordPress account:

You’ll receive an invitation to become a “contributor” of the website for your section of Mu 110 from WordPress. Accept this invitation.

In the past, some students have found it helpful to download the WordPress app to their smartphones or tablets so they can participate in the blog without being at a computer.

How to comment on online discussions:

Student-led online discussions are located at:

F1 (Mondays):

F4 (Thursdays):

Read the blog post and any comments that have been made on it so far. You can leave a comment by typing in the comment box at the bottom of the page marked “Leave a Reply.” You can “reply” to other students’ comments by clicking “reply” next to their comment or using @ + username to specifically respond to another student, just as you would on other social media platforms.


You must comment on each online discussion at least four separate times while the discussion is available—the goal is to keep the conversation going, to keep it lively, and to enjoy the (surprising) contributions your colleagues make to the discussion. You must add at least one of each kind of required comment in order to earn full participation credit:

  1. Respond to the blog post. Comment on it, respond to its questions, take issue with a claim that it makes, or add your thoughts to the conversation. If you’re reminded of another article/book/blog you’ve read or another piece of music you’ve heard, you can also include a link to it, but the link by itself won’t count as a comment without, well, any contextual commentary from you.
  2. Ask a question. This may be a question in response to the blog post itself or a colleague’s comment.
  3. Respond directly to a classmate’s comment or question.
  4. Compliment the post’s author on something they did well in their post: not just that you liked the piece they chose, but skills they demonstrated in their writing.

It is possible to earn extra credit for your blog post participation grade (i.e., a grade higher than 100 for a given blog post) by contributing significantly to the conversation in terms of insightfulness, by adding additional links or information, or by being particularly engaging conversationalist. Quantity is not the same as quality. You’ll know you’ve earned extra credit if I “like” your comment.

Late comments (i.e., after the comment period has ended) will not be accepted.

I will drop the four (4) lowest grades for this portion of the course. If you participate fully in all student-led online discussions, you will earn an extra 10 points on your average for this portion of the course.

Below is the rubric I’ll be using to grade your comments (25% for each kind of comment). You’ll receive a graded rubric and comments from me soon after most online discussions have ended. Use these comments to guide your progress in developing your skills of close reading, effective discussion-making, and clarifying your ideas—these lay the groundwork of good writing skills!


SBP author:

SBP dates:

Extra credit Yes No

You contribute to the online discussion by commenting on the blog post, responding to its questions, taking issue with a claim that it makes, or adding your thoughts to the conversation. A strong comment includes a link to another article/book/blog (with contextual commentary from you) that adds new depth to the conversation.


You ask a question of the person who posted the blog or of another student


You respond directly to another student’s comment or question and add to the conversation by commenting on their comment, responding to their question, taking issue with a claim they make, or adding your new ideas. A strong response includes a link to another article/book/blog (with contextual commentary from you) that adds new depth to the conversation.


You compliment the author on something that they did well in their blog post (e.g., “I like the way you described…” or “I found your writing style to be easy to follow”—not “I like the song you chose”) by addressing the author’s writing skills.