Class Blog Activity 5 – Blogging with students

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Welcome to the fifth post in the Class Blog series of free and open professional development for educators.

Once you have your students writing quality comments you may then want to add them as users to the class blog so they can write posts.

You’ll find students learn more, are more motivated and their writing improves faster when they’re allowed to write posts.  And the best way to get them started is by writing posts on the class blog.

In this challenge, you will:

  1. Get some tips for creating student accounts
  2. Add students as users to a class blog
  3. Set up categories to manage student posts

Tips for creating student accounts

#1 Choosing Usernames

Your students will each need their own username which they’ll use to sign into the class blog dashboard.  Their username is also displayed on posts and comments they write.

Most teachers use a combination of their student’s first name followed by numbers that might represent the year, class number and/or school initials.  They do this to protect the identity of the student and to ensure their username is unique (you can’t use a username that is already being used by another user).

For example, username misty16 or mistybcc16.

#2 Email address 

An email address is required when you create student accounts — it’s important for password resets, comment notification emails etc

If your students don’t have email addresses the simplest solution is to set up their accounts using one Gmail account and then add a + sign and a different number and/or letter(s) to the end of your email name for each student.

For example, [email protected] or [email protected]

Set up a class gmail account

Then you use your one class gmail account with the gmail+ method to create each student account.

Gmail ignores any letters and numbers you add after a + sign and sends all emails to the one account while our system thinks each is a unique email.

So for example, you might use [email protected],  [email protected] and so on for creating their usernames and gmail will send all emails to the class gmail account [email protected]

#3 Assigning Student Role

When you add users to a blog you have the ability to assign and control what other users can do on the blog depending on the tasks you want each user to be responsible for.

The five roles a user can be assigned on a blog in decreasing level of responsibility are:  Administrator; Editor; Author; Contributor; and Subscriber.

On a class blog you would assign students the role of contributor or author:

  1. Contributor – used if you want to approve all posts before they are published.  As a contributor they’ll submit their post as pending and the post won’t be published on the class blog until you’ve approved it.
  2. Author – used if you are happy for them to publish their own posts.  As a author they can’t edit or delete anyone else’s posts.

When the students log into the dashboard you’ll notice they have less menu items.  This is because as a contributor or author they don’t have the same level of access as an administrator.

You can read more about what role to assign students on blogs here.

Adding students as users to the class blog

There are two main ways to add users to a class blog on Edublogs:

  1. Using Blogs and Users Creator  – use on Edublogs Pro and Campus blog.
  2. Using Add New – use on a free Edublogs blog.

Please note:

  • There are no limitations on the number of users you can add to a blog!
  • The Blogs and Users Creator is the fastest and best way to add students quickly to your class blog

Bulk adding students using the Blog and user creator

The Blog & User Creator is designed to bulk add users to blogs and is the fastest way of adding new users to your blog.  Click on Add more button at the bottom of the page if you want to add more than 5 users in a batch.

1.  Go to Users > Blog & User Creator 

2.  Click on the Add New Users tab

3.  Add suitable usernames.

4.  Add their email address.

5.  Add their password

  • It’s best to use a preset password (and unique password for each student) and record all student login details in a spreadsheet — in case they lose, delete or don’t receive their login email.

6.  Select their role.


7.   Click Submit at the bottom of the page to create and add them to your blog.

8.  The students will be immediately added as users to the blog and you’ll see them listed on your Users > All Users page.

Adding students using Users > Add New

Refer to these instructions on adding users using Add New if you are using a free Edublogs blog.

Organsing student posts on Class Blogs

Educators new to blogging often struggle with when should you write posts as opposed to pages.

The best way to manage your student work is they write posts and you get them to assign their name as a category to the post before they publish their post.

This makes it easy to find their posts.

All you need to do is add the categories widget to your blog sidebar (here is how to add widgets).  Then when you click on the name of a student in your sidebar it’ll loads a page with all posts with that category assigned to it — check this out in action on Mr.Toft.ca!

Before you get them writing posts just create a category for each student as follows:

1.  Go to Posts > Categories in your blog dashboard

2.  Add the first name of your student (if necessary include initial of last name)

3.  Click Add Category

Tip:

  • Set up Category Parents before you create a category for each student if you want to sort your categories into groups.
  • For example, you might have Student as a parent category and then all Student names underneath.  Then you might have another parent category for subjects and have all the subject names underneath.

Below’s what your categories might look like in your blog sidebar.

  • Please note that categories won’t display in your category widget until the category has been assigned to a post.

Example of organising categories using Parent Categories

Video

Watch this video to learn about managing categories

Adding a category to a Post

Now when your students write their post it’s as simple as:

  1. Write their post
  2. Select their name as a category
  3. Click Publish post or Submit for Review

Sound Off!

Leave a comment below with links to your Class blog, if you’d like, so we can see how you are going!

Or let us know if you have any questions about the above, or have additional tips to share!

4 thoughts on “Class Blog Activity 5 – Blogging with students

  1. I have my students submit their potential blog posts to me via DropBox. Then I review and post them myself. So far, I’ve only identified students by unique technology class numbers. These numbers encourage anonymity. Also, the numbers quickly let me know the grade level and class section of each poster.

    In other situations when students worked online, I advised them to use only their first names. However, some first names are very unique and distinguishing. Based on any feedback I receive from parents, I will either continue to use student numbers or switch over to first names.

  2. Pingback: Class Blog Activity 5 – Blogging with students | Mr. C.'s Courses – A Companion Blog

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