RP Blog Readers: FAQs

How should I interact with the students?

Reading and commenting on the blogs will feel a bit less intimate than our regular course-based pairings, since you’re being “paired” as a group of readers with a group of students writing individual posts. We’re hoping to foster a friendly conversation, where possible. For example, feel free to return to your comments on previous posts and see if anyone has responded to your thoughts or questions, including the other readers.

Please be positive and friendly, ask questions, relate your own stories, and don’t expect that the students will always have time to follow-up. Again, this is a different situation than the semester one-on-one Reader Project experience, and different students and groups will set different priorities for writing and responding to their blogs. However, we know the attention you give to their projects will be appreciated!

What should I be commenting on?

We’re more interested in engaging the content of the students’ blogs rather than the writing, per se, so that might influence how you comment compared to reading a student’s drafts during the course-based program. They are not writing academic essays, so the format and conventions are not critical. Focus on content and storytelling.

We ask that as you scan through posts, you pay particular attention to any posts that have no comments yet, as well as the posts that stand out to you personally.

Do the students know I will be reading their blogs?

Yes! The DukeEngage blogs are all public. In addition, the students writing the ones we’re partnering with have been advised that they will have friendly folks from the Reader Project paying special attention. Feel free to add more details about your own background throughout the summer as seems relevant to your comments. The course blogs are often not public, but the students will be made well aware on your involvement. Though not required, if possible for you to note that you are a Duke Reader each time you comment (you might simply add “DR” at the start of each comment), that would help us when compiling data at the end of the summer.

How many other readers are there? Are there other categories of likely readers, e.g. professors, program administrators, fellow students etc?

[For summer DukeEngage blog readers] We’re hoping to have a small group (10 – 20) of Reader Project volunteers for each project. However, we’ll certainly be joined by some friends and family of the students, as well as the DukeEngage administrators. Ideally, folks working on these issues in the general public would stumble across the blog as well and read it, although this is rare in the span of 8 weeks.

[For course-based blog readers] We’ll let you know how many readers and students we have signed up when we get all the numbers back after the start of the semester. The other students in the course should be reading and commenting as well.

Help, I can’t see my comments!

Most, if not all, of the blogs will have an administrator in charge of approving comments before they pop up publicly. That means that your comments won’t appear until someone on the back end approves them from the moderation queue. Some blogs may only require this for your first comment, so future comments will be automatically approved. If you have waited more than 2 days and haven’t seen your comment appear, please let me know and we’ll check in with the administrators.

[For DukeEngage readers] Is this done for credit, and is there a tether to a professor?

Since the focus of DukeEngage is on service, not coursework, this funded opportunity earns a designation on students’ transcripts but not academic credit. A number of DukeEngage group programs are led by faculty, and independent project students each have a faculty or staff mentor. Likewise, a fair number of DukeEngage projects lead into academic initiatives such as research projects or senior theses.


Here are some good examples of thoughtful post and comment threads: Did you know…facts on the death penalty (a DukeEngage individual project blog), I’ll Take the High Road…You Can Follow if You’d Like (a DukeEngage New York Moxie blog).

What if I have technical difficulties reading or commenting?

Please contact me (Tasha). I can’t promise I’ll get back immediately, since I have a less consistent schedule in summer, but I really do enjoy helping people with the technology when possible.