While anyone anywhere with Internet access can provide perspectives that challenge dominant and possibly oppressive views, blogging has also spawned much misinformation that is presented as "truth" and "facts"—especially misinformation associated with religion in general and the Bible in particular. In this first-year seminar students will work in groups to (1) discover and analyze a wide variety of religious blogs and make presentations to the class regarding the content and apparent objectives of these blogs and (2) design and create their own religious blogs, focusing on content and design strategies.
I like the structure of having a small course—being small allows for more interaction, and it meant that we were able to talk things through with one another as they were evolving. I also like that First-Year Seminars have an emphasis on independent research, in this case of various blogs. Every major at Luther has a senior seminar, so students get used to thinking of research as a culminating thing at the end of their academic career. These courses give them the chance to do independent and collaborative research prior to that. As far as the course material, it’s important for students in their first year to grapple with the question What is my voice? Many students as seniors still struggle with not having a voice, and I hope this course helped them find theirs.
It was fantastic to have class for several hours a day. We would go from discussions, to lectures, to research time, to work time, and all sorts of different uses of our class time. It never felt repetitive. I found the blogging/writing portion easily the coolest and most interesting for me. It was super rewarding to write about what was on my mind, what was concerning me, what I had never honestly put on paper (or the web) like that before. Another really rewarding but also challenging part of the class was discussing opinions about religion with people who right now share different beliefs or come from a vastly different background than I do. It was a challenge at times, but the end result was great. I learned how to have healthy discussion with people and how to stand up for my own beliefs more than ever.
I chose to take this course because as a Christian, I needed to see how I could use the blogosphere to share my perspectives on the religion. This course was different from others I’d taken because it had a composition of students of different faith backgrounds, and our views were somewhat different, which would prompt discussions in class. I learned a great deal from the class, both from Professor Nave and my classmates. I discovered how my voice would fill the void on the Internet and in discussions. And by working in a team for the final project, I discovered that my team could depend on me as much as I could depend on them.