Guidelines for Subscribing and Posting
Sign Up Sheet

Throughout the semester, you will have a chance to see how knowledge is created in dialogue and debate.  On the
child_lit listserv, authors, scholars and students of children’s literature discuss the theory and criticism of literature for children and young adults. The list was created “for anyone interested in discussing aspects of these broad fields, including authorship, illustration, publication, promotion, readership, reception, criticism and literature's changing social functions and implications. child_lit is specifically conceived to foster the sharing of ideas by researchers engaged in original scholarship.” (see child_lit main page)

Towards the end of the semester you will be asked to directly and meaningfully interact with participants on child_lit either by responding in a substantial way to an existing discussion or by raising a pertinent new topic.  Here is how we will all get a sense for the list’s unique culture, its main players, topics, and debates throughout the semester:

Part 1.  Treasure Hunt: Reports from the Archives

Each of us will dive into the archives of Child_lit and present the treasure we find to the rest of the class.  After you spend about two hours meandering through the various debates and discussions, choose a thread that most interests you and prepare a 3-4 minute presentation to the class.  Ideally, the thread will be related to our reading for the day of your presentation. In your presentation, you should address the following issues:  What intrigues you about the topic/debate? Why should others care? How does the issue fit into the course? Where do you stand in regard to those issues? What did you learn?  Your presentation should be concise and engaging, and you should be prepared to respond to comments and questions from the audience.

To prepare your listeners, please send out an e-mail to the class list by 8 p.m. the day before your presentation with a short, apt quote from the thread and a brief paragraph about the context (who is involved in the thread? what issues are at stake? why?).  Please do not forget to reference the quote (author, date) so that those interested in reading more can easily locate the thread within the archive.
Everyone will sign up for a specific class meeting at which you will present your findings.  Remember: the earlier you hunt, the more treasures for you left to discover!

Part 2.  Interacting with the Listserv: How to Write and Post a Strong Contribution

In lieu of a second paper you can choose to contribute in significant ways to the child_lit listserv community. If you choose the second option, begin by signing up to receive e-mails through the child-lit Listserv. (Go to the options page at Login, then enable mail delivery.  I recommend also checking the box for “Digest Mode” to receive e-mail bundled instead of having individual e-mails flood your inbox.) “Lurk” for a few days before entering an existing thread or starting a new one. Then compose your first post, run it by one of your classmates and, after incorporating feedback, send it to the list.  Carefully follow the thread and respond to comments.  By the deadline (December 4) send me electronically the subject of the thread you have created or participated in as well as a two page reflection on your experience with the Listserv.  Why did you choose a particular discussion?  What does it mean to you?  What did you learn from the experience?

Please carefully follow the general guidelines for Lisserv postings. In assessing your postings, I will look for these qualities:

Good postings . . .

Offer a new perspective and relate it to the thoughts of others.  If you enter an existing discussion, be sure that you know what has already been said and build on the conversation.  If you post on a new subject, make sure that you check the archives of the last few months to see whether a similar issue has been discussed. Outstanding posts show a high awareness of audience, synthesize good points already made while they contribute a new, original perspective. 

Provide enough contextual information but do so economically.  Be sure others understand that you have thought through the various elements of the question or issue you raise and "done your own homework.” Excellent posts provide the audience with substantial, apt background information.

Develop a clear argument and stimulate discussion. Superb posts develop a thoughtful, evidence-driven argument for a well articulated, specific point.  These posts provide vivid detail and invite discussion. 

Communicate politely.  You all know the difference between posts that are confrontational and personal and those that voice a differing view in a thoughtful and kind fashion.  Best posts are of the latter kind.

Are well written.
 Excellent posts exhibit flawless grammar and stylistic elegance.