Compose web essay for ConnecticutHistory.org

Compose a web essay (not to exceed 1,000 words) on a designated seminar topic for ConnecticutHistory.org, an open-access online publication by Connecticut Humanities, in cooperation with our community partner, editor Clarissa Ceglio. Stages of the process:

  • Topics: Discuss items on seminar’s Organizer page and submit your top choices.
  • Draft 1: Focus primarily on your writing, with citations and links where appropriate. Share on Google Docs (linked to our Organizer page), due by the end of Tues Oct 8th, and paste the evaluation criteria at top of the document to guide reader feedback. This draft will be peer reviewed, and evaluated by the instructor (worth 10 points).
  • Exercise 5 peer review: Post constructive comments on 2 designated essays, to be completed by the end of Wed Oct 9th (worth 4 points, plus 1 bonus point for the most thoughtful commentator).
  • Draft 2: Revise your writing, enhance your essay with links and embedded digital resources (such as online documents, photos, videos), and post on WordPress (category=CTHistory2013by Wed Oct 16 12 noon
    . This draft will be evaluated by the community partner, who will privately forward scores to the instructor (worth 10 points).
  • Submit for publication (optional): Students are encouraged to revise and resubmit their essays to the editor of ConnecticutHistory.org, but there is no guarantee that submissions will be accepted for publication. If accepted, the editor will secure your approval of the final, copyedited draft before publishing it under your byline. For questions, speak with your instructor or Clarissa Ceglio at 860-685-7564 or CCeglio@cthumanities.org.

Evaluation criteria
1) Does the essay open with a compelling argument or story that explains the significance of the topic to Connecticut history? Does it inspire readers to think in new ways?

2) Are the claims supported with appropriate evidence and reasoning? Is the historical research accurate and balanced, with full source citations?

3) Does the writing style engage broad audiences, and provide sufficient background for those unfamiliar with the topic? Is the text well-organized and grammatically correct?

4) For draft 2 only: Are digital elements (such links, images, videos) thoughtfully integrated into the web essay, and properly credited?

How to Write an Entry for ConnecticutHistory.org
by Clarissa Ceglio, modified for the Cities Suburbs and Schools seminar
ConnecticutHistory.org is a state history resource written for a diverse set of readers, ranging from students, educators, and history buffs to internet surfers in search of the curious and captivating. Of course, as a public history project, we not only want to attract readers, we want to educate them. We do so by providing engaging, well-researched stories about Connecticut history that link to reliable primary and interpretive resources. These include related primary source documents, artifacts, images, digital media materials, online databases, finding aids, etc. Our goal is to direct readers to the institutions, archives, museums, and communities that hold and interpret the materials that reveal the diversity of Connecticut’s history.

Note: Biographical entries on living people will not be accepted by this publication.

Format: These student-authored entries on real estate practices and Charles S. Johnson are useful guides. As you’ll see, articles must include:

  1. a headline
  2. body copy of no more than 1,000 words
  3. one or two subheads that call out the main theme of the paragraphs they introduce
  4. at least one image
  5. a list of two or more “Learn More” resources.
  6. optional for this class assignment (but required to submit for publication): a one-sentence author biography that includes your name and institutional affiliation

Begin with a Summary Paragraph: The opening paragraph should summarize the most significant information about your subject and its importance to Connecticut’s history. Some readers scan articles for the “bottom line” and that information should be immediately accessible.

Style: Entries must be accurate in their facts and offer balanced, authoritative historical interpretations. Avoid scholarly jargon, and express your points clearly.  You need not avoid complicated concepts, just be sure to explain them for readers who do not share your subject-matter expertise. Likewise, when matters are currently debated, educate readers about the different scholarly positions being taken. Follow the Chicago Manual of Style. One exception: use numerals for numbers greater than nine, e.g., the 19th century, 213 kegs, two children, etc.

Sources: For drafts 1 and 2, use an academic citation style (either Chicago-style full notes or MLA/APA in-line citations with bibliography) to assist reviewers with fact-checking. If you submit an essay and it is chosen for publication, the final revision will drop all citations from the main text, but will include a list of all the works you consulted for your article. In addition, please recommend appropriate online resources that will help readers learn more about your topic.  These can include digitized primary source documents, databases, finding aids, Web sites for physical venues (such as museums and archives), etc. Online resources must have these three qualities: accuracy, authority, and accessibility. Authoritative websites include contact information for a named individual and/or organization responsible for content.  Acceptable sites include .org, .edu, nsn.us, and .gov. Use of .com sources, especially if they include any advertising, is discouraged. Websites should be stable in nature and not require a password for user access.

Recommended: If you use Zotero for this assignment, set Preferences > Export citation style to “Chicago full note” and drag-and-drop bibliographic entries into footnotes.

Illustrate Your Entry: Insert digital images and links (to documents, photos, interviews, video clips) to serve as compelling visual evidence for your entry. Images must fall within the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 License OR be submitted along with written permission from—and contact information for—the copyright holder. Ideally, digital images should be a minimum of 610 pixels wide, and in JPG format.

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