CSC290 Communication Skills for Computer Scientists

Fall 2018

Blog Posts
Critical Reviews

Blog Posts

You are expected to maintain a blog throughout this course. This is both so that you write frequently, and to build an online presence and portfolio that could be useful later on.

The blog posts count for 10% of your overall course grade. The critical review articles should also be publishable as blog posts, however they are graded separately.

You are encouraged to post your blog URL to the discussion board on Quercus, follow other students' blogs, and interact with other students in this course. For blog posts that you are especially proud of, you should consider sharing it more widely to your network and with the internet.


Blog posts are due weekly by 8:59pm on Sundays. Submit your blog post by posting your blog post on your blog, then submitting a text file named "link.txt" containing the URL of your blog post. Both must steps be completed by the deadline.

Topics and Deadlines

1Sep 23, 8:59pm


Introduce yourself to readers. What is something interesting and unique about you? What are your interests? What are your goals? How can other people help you, and what kind of help can you offer to other people? You should discuss one goal you have related to CSC290.

You should be careful about revealing personal information publicly on the internet, and can opt to write about yourself anonymously. However, having an online presence can help you "be known" both amongst other students and the community. Being "known" can be immensely helpful for your career!

For this week only, the deadline is Sept 23rd (not Sept 16th) to accomodate students who may be entering the course late.


Disagree with an article

Since week 1 blog post is due Sept 23rd, this is a blog post that does not need to be submitted. However, it is good to get into the habit of writing weekly!

Find an article or blog post on the internet that you disagree with. What does the article claim? Why do you disagree? Is the article using data or visualizations in a misleading way? You should not assume that your reader has read your article.

Here are some articles that you might disagree with. You do not have to restrict yourself to this list.

4Oct 14, 8:59pm


5Oct 21, 8:59pm


7Nov 4, 8:59pm


8Nov 11, 8:59pm


10Nov 25, 8:59pm




Blogging Platform

You can use blogger (, WordPress, or medium as a blogging platform. You are not expected to have to pay for your blog hosting.

Keep in mind that blogs are public (readable by your peers and the entire web) and you should not, nor are you obliged to, provide your identify, or any personal or private information in the blog. However, your blog URL will be shared with the CSC290 course so that you can engage with each other and see what other classmates are thinking about the course topics.

If you wish to upkeep a blog that is only available to me and your classmates in this course, please speak to me.


The audience for your blog are other Computer Science students, and other people interested in Computer Science, including your TA and instructors.

Blog posts need not use highly formal language but you are expected to use proper spelling, grammar, mechanics and avoid use of slang and colloquial writing (eg. lol, emoticons, etc).

You are not graded on the length of the blog posts. They should usually be 300-600 words long. Blog posts must adequately respond to the given topic/question of the week in order to be deemed complete.

Blog posts must be fully completed in the week that they are due. You are not expected to, nor should you, edit or re-write your blog posts at a later date to change or to improve them.

Penalty for Late Work

As stated in the course syllabus, Each student will receive six grace tokens; each grace token can be used for a 8-hour extension for an assignment. Grace tokens are tracked automatically using MarkUs. When you submit a late blog post, you do not need to explicitly say you are using a grace token; just submit your work within the grace token periods.

No other late work will be accepted.

Blog posts submitted electronically will be timestamped based on the MarkUs server time, not the student's local/PC time.


Each blog post will be graded on:

  • Does your post show depth of thought about the topic?
  • Did you repeat opinions or information already posted in previous blog posts?
  • Have you used a descriptive title for your blog post?
  • Does your post use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and mechanics?
  • Have you followed good online etiquette rules like “Do not YELL”?

The grading rubric is as follows:

  • 1 Mark For making a submission that significantly addresses the week's topic.
  • 1 Mark For readability, grammatical, sentence, or styling issues that affect ease of readability and skimmability.
  • 2 Mark For quality of content, critical thinking, and insight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do we have to keep a blog? Why do we have to post on a weekly basis?

A: There are psychological benefits to writing regularly -- see this blog post particularly the Writing and Learning section. Programmer and blogger, Steve Yegge, also writes about why you should blog.

Q: Can we post more often than the once a week requirement?

A: Absolutely!

Q: Can we comment on other student’s blogs?

A: Yes! Interaction between students that enhance reflection and learning of the course topics is highly encouraged. Keep in mind that other students may have differing views and opinions. Your blog posts and any responses to each other must be respectful. We will not tolerate abusive or inappropriate blog posts or comments.