Cornell Fellows are required to submit a weekly Blog entry beginning the second Tuesday of their fellowship.
The Blog entries should include:
- A general summary of the previous week's activities.
- Reflections on what the fellow is learning and how Cornell has prepared them for the experience.
- The ways in which the fellowship is influencing their personal and professional plans.
- Keep in mind things like the networking you are doing and the interpersonal interactions you are having with people such as your site mentor, colleagues, and the broader people in the community that help expand your knowledge about possible careers.
- Think about what you are learning about the history of the field, the culture of the organization, and the environment you are in and how that influences the work you are doing and how you are learning.
All Cornell Fellows should have a conversation with their site mentor at the start of the fellowship to determine whether or not the organization is comfortable with the student posting Blogs about their fellowship experience.
Cornell Fellows who are working with confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information at their fellowship site are exempt from the weekly Blog. Instead, the Fellow should submit confidential e-mail reports to the Cornell Fellows Program (Jason Napoli, Sue Astley, and Rebecca Sullens) in lieu of the Blog entry. The structure of the e-mail report is identical to that of the Blog post. Please note that in some situations, the fellowship site may be comfortable with a Cornell Fellow to Blog so long as they do not disclose specific information about the work they are doing for the organization; discretion in these instances is of the utmost importance.
The primary purpose of a Cornell Fellowship is on the learning experience of the student fellow, and the Blog is a complementary element to the learning experience. As Blogs are a very public medium and access to the posts is widely available across the globe, Cornell Fellows are required to exercise a high level of good judgment when writing about their experiences. Each entry should be an accurate, and in some instances a diplomatic, representation of both the positive aspects of, as well as the challenges involved with, the fellowship learning experience. As part of the Blogging process, Fellows should be able to appropriately write about any difficulties associated with their learning on-site in a civilized and professional manner. Questions about the boundaries of appropriate and inappropriate entries should be referred directly to Jason Napoli.
Additionally, Cornell Fellows who are experiencing significant difficulties in their fellowship environment or are otherwise put in uncomfortable situations while at the fellowship site should be in immediate contact with Jason Napoli or Rebecca Sullens. Examples of situations that should be reported expeditiously include suspension of the pre-determined fellowship project, lack of support by the site mentor and/or other staff at the fellowship site, sexual harassment and other hostile work environments, and unsafe working conditions.
Blogging Tips from Former Fellows:
- Many Fellows found it helpful to maintian a daily journal, where they could chronicle recent events while they were still fresh in mind. This aided them near the end of the week when it came time to write their blog posts.
- When appropriate, find that line of material vs. audience knowledge. Although you know much pertaining to your field, the viewer may not, so include the details, but also put it into perspective.
If you find yourself in a rut, unable to remember key details of the week, try to focus on one major event or project that you worked on or participated in. Remember not to focus on one day's events though, and to summarize the happenings for the week.
Make sure to dedicate a sufficient amount of time to your weekly blog posts. 30-45 minutes is a good benchmark for a well constructed and informative post. Although not a requirement, writing for longer can allow you to fully flesh out your ideas. If you find that you cannot summon ideas, write everything that springs to mind and edit it later. This can help you to recall information you may have missed by pushing to write your posts "formally."
Explore the site thoroughly, so that all of the options are well understood before blogs are due. It can be stressful trying to figure things out when you have a deadline and you are busy with your fellowship work.
Other Blog Tips: