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Welcome to the eleventh step in our free professional learning series on class and student blogging!

The aim of this step is guide you through the process of setting up your student blogs.


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Why educators use student blogs

Educators normally start of with a class blog where the teacher writes the posts, and the students respond by writing comments.

This gives the  teacher time to increase their skills while gradually introducing their students to blogging and educating their students on what is required.

However, as student’s age increases educators are more likely to have them to write posts on their own student blog.

Student learning and writing improves faster when each student has their own blog as ownership is an important part of blogging.  We all have increased motivation when we feel personal ownership.  Students are more motivated by their own blogs when class blogging is done well.

Another key benefit of student blogs are they can be used as their ePortfolio to create an archive of your student’s learning.

Top 10 Reasons for Students to Blog

Image by Sylvia Duckworth licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0.

Must Watch Videos

Make sure you watch The Possibility of Student Blogging by Andrea Hernandez and Slivia Tolisano.

This video provides an excellent explanation of the blogging and commenting process, impact of quality blogging on student literacy and the importance of writing as part of a global audience.

To learn more about the benefits of student blogging in higher education watch this video by students from the University of Western Australia.


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Examples of Student blogs

Here are examples of real student blogs to check out for ideas:

  1. Jarrod’s Awesome Blog – 10 years old
  2. Heather’s Perfect Posts
  3. Meaow @ Josie’s Blog
  4. Mirian’s Magical Moments
  5. Breana P ePortofio
  6. Come Somersault with Sarah
  7. Austicandproud – 13 years old
  8. Avogadro Salad – High school chemistry blog
  9. Youinnorway – 18 year old from Norway


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Tips for creating student blogs

You can use any blogging platform you would like including EdublogsWordPress and Blogger, however when we write detailed instructions they will refer to Edublogs.  You can adapt this information to the blogging platform you are using.

Want to connect student accounts with your school’s username and password?  Check out CampusPress — Edublogs premium solution for schools, districts and University.  Learn more about CampusPress here.

Here is some important things to consider before creating your student blog:

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1. Student Usernames, Blog URLs and blog titles

Educators normally use the same name for both the student’s username and blog URL.  Keep them simple and easy for the student to remember.

Most educators use a combination of their student’s first name followed by numbers that might represent the year, class number and/or school initials.  This is done to:

  1. Protect the identity of the student (by not including their last name)
  2. Ensure their username is unique (as Edublogs has close to 1,000,000 users).

For example, username mistybp16, blog URL mistybp16.edublogs.org and blog title Misty’s blog.

If you want the students to use the blog for their entire school life then use a combination of letters combined with a number that represents the year they started school or are finishing school.

Your student’s username is what they use to sign into a blog dashboard and is displayed on posts and comments they write.

Username

Student blog title

The blog title is one of the first things a reader sees when visiting a blog.

We recommend that you keep the Student’s first name as the first part of the blog title if you are using My Class.   This makes it easier to identify a student blog from the Class Blog widget.  The Class blog widget is used to list all student blogs attached to My Class.

You can always change the blog title any time via Settings > General in the student blog dashboard.

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2.  Add yourself to your student blogs

Always add yourself as an administrator to your student blog.

This means if you need to edit/delete a post, page or comment you can quickly access their blog from your blog dashboard.

We’ll show you how to do this using My Class tool below.

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3. Moderate comments

Educators either prefer to let their students moderate their own comments or they moderate all the comments for their students.  There are pros and cons to each approach.

We’ll show you how to moderate comments using My Class tool below.


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Create your Student blogs

Now you’ve done all the research it’s time to create your student blogs!

The easiest way to set up and manage all student blogs is using My Class.

My Class can be used to:

  1. Quickly create student blogs.
  2. Allow students to publish their own posts on their student blogs (and the class blog) OR configure it so all student posts must be reviewed by a teacher before the posts are published.
  3. Control comment moderation settings on student blogs.
  4. Control the privacy settings on all student blogs with just one click!
  5. Quickly enable extra features on student blogs to increase their storage space, enable mobile blogging, allow them to embed any code, access Premium themes and so much more.
  6. Quickly preview all moderated posts and comments in one location.


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To get started you first need to Create a Class as follows:

1.  Go to My Class > Create a Class.

Go to Create a Class

2.  Select “This is a class blog” (1),  ”No – use if you want them to publish posts on their student blog” (2), choose if you want to moderate posts and comments on student blogs (3),  your preferred privacy option (4) and which users you want to manage your student blogs (5).

My Class settings

3.   Click Save.

4.  The My Class menu should change to the menu item shown below.

My Class menu items

Once you’ve created your class there are two options for creating student blogs:

  1. You create the student blogs using My Class >  Create Student blogs
  2. Students to create their own blogs using the Edublogs sign up page.


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How to create student blogs using My Class

The following instructions explain how you create the student blogs yourself using My Class.  Refer to the create own student blog support page if you want students to create their own blogs and attach their blog to My Class.

Creating student blogs is as simple as:

1.  Go to My Class >  Create Student blogs.

My Class menu items

2.  Add username, email address, password, blog URL and blog title.

  • This creates their student blogs, adds them as a user to the class blog, adds you as a user to their student blog and connects their student blog with the class blog. 
  • You can create your student accounts with one email account if you don’t want students to use their own email account.
  • If students create their own account using the Edublogs account, and don’t add an email address, you will be able to reset their password using the Edit link under their username in Users > All Users.

Create blog

We recommend you use the preset password option and record their username/password/blog URL in a spreadsheet as you create their blogs.   Some teacher require students to informed them when passwords are changed so they have a record of the student’s latest password.

This is handy for those students who forget password or provided the wrong email address.

spreadsheet

3.  Click Submit.

Once you have created all your student blogs they will be listed in My Class > Student blogs where you’ll be able to view all pending posts, pages and comments.

Student blogs


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Add student blogs link

You and your students can easily add a link to all student blogs in the sidebar using the Class Blog widget as follows:

1.  Go to Appearance > Widgets.

widgets

2.  Add the class blog widget to the desired sidebar.

3.  The widget will automatically open.

4.  Select  ’No’ under Public only if you are using private blogs (1), alphabetical (2), the number of blogs (3) and then click Save.

  • Any time you add any more student blogs to My Class you update the Class blog list by opening up the Class blog widget and clicking Save.

Class blog widget

5.  The widget will look something like below in the sidebar of your class blog and the sidebar of a student blog.

Class blogs


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Navigating between dashboards

When you set up My Class your student users are added as user to the class blog and to the student blog.

The menu items the students see depends on which dashboard they are logged into and what settings you have set in My Class > Settings.

Below is the menu items the students would see if you selected “No – use if you want them to publish posts on their student blog” for what the students can do on the class blog.

Menu items

If your students see limited menu items it means they are logged into the Class blog dashboard and need to navigate to their student blog dashboard.

Changing blog dashboards is as simple as:

1.  Go to My Sites dropdown menu in your admin bar.

2.  Click on the dashboard of the blog you want to access.

Changing dashboards

If your students are using the Edublogs app they should see the title of their student blog inside the app.  If a student sees the title of the class blog they need to follow these instructions to add their student blog.


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Moderating posts and comments

Student posts and comments can be checked using Dashboard > ReaderMy Class > Student blogs, Dashboard > My Sites or Users > Reports.

Edublogs Reader

The Edublogs Reader is the fastest way to check all pending posts and comments on your student blogs.  This allows you to preview posts and comments and publish them with one click!

You would use the Reader if you used the following My Class settings:

My Class settings

Previewing and approving posts and comments is as simple as:

1.  Go to Dashboard > Reader.

Reader

2.  Click on Pending

Click on Pending

On the pending page posts and comments are listed in reverse chronological order based on the date they were submitted.

3.  Click on Read More if you want to read the full post or click on Publish if you are happy to publish the post.

  • Please note if you selected “I must approve all posts’ students aren’t able to edit the post once it is published.
  • If you want the students to do further edits you need to leave the post as pending or change the post to draft mode by opening it in edit mode.

Click on Read More

This displays the full post and allows you to select from the following options:

  • View Original – when you click on ‘View original’ it loads the draft post on the student blog where you can see what the post will look like when published.
  • Edit – clicking on Edit opens the post inside the dashboard of the student blog where you can make edits to the post.
  • Publish – to publish the post click on Publish.  Please note if you selected “I must approve all posts’ students aren’t able to edit the post once it is published.  If you want the students to do further edits you need to leave the post as pending or change the post to draft mode by opening it in edit mode.
  • The forward and back arrows allow you to scroll to the next or previous student post or comment.

Viewing a pending post

My Class > Student blogs

My Class > Student blogs and Dashboard > My Sites is where you’ll see all your student blogs listed.  Here is where you can use the Dashboard link to access their blog; where you’ll see the number of published and pending posts / pages / comments on their blogs.

Clicking on pending under a student blog takes you to the pending post or pending comments page inside their student blog dashboard where you can edit, approve or publish the post or comment.

Student blogs

Reports

Reports, via Users > Reports,  allows you to run a report on a specific student.  It allows you to check comments they’ve submitted on any blog or posts they have published and choose the date range you want to check.

Reports

Reading Student Posts

The Edublogs Reader automatically feeds all published posts from all student blogs and the class blog into the dashboard of every users attached to My Class where you and your students can easily read and comment on each others’ posts.

Reading posts is as simple as:

1.  Go to Dashboard > Reader.

Reader

2.  Click on My Class

Click on My Class

3.  Click on Read More if you want to read the full post.

Click on Read More

This displays the full post and allows you to select from the following options:

  • View Original – when you click on ‘View original’ it loads the draft post on the student blog where you can see what the post will look like when published.
  • Edit – clicking on Edit opens the post inside the dashboard of the student blog where you can make edits to the post (only visible to the teacher).
  • Add New Comment – allows you to add a comment to the post from inside your dasbhboard.
  • The forward and back arrows allow you to scroll to the next or previous student post or comment.

Read view

Getting students started

There is a range of different approaches teachers use to get their students started.

Here is some ideas worth checking out for your class:

  1. Miss Wyatt’s Student bloggers – links to posts on basic blogging for students.  The Student Bloggers blog contains basic skills for students to follow to learn to blog.
  2. Mr Miller’s Blogging Bootcamp – used by Mr Miller to teach the basic elements of blogging to his students.
  3. Have a look at Welcome to blogging, Today’s class assignment and Explore your blog on Blogging with Mrs C for ideas on how you can introduce blogging to your students.
  4. The Student blogging challenge – The Student Blogging Challenge runs twice yearly starting in March and September.  It is made up of a series of 10 weekly tasks all designed to improve blogging and commenting skills.  Participating in the Student blogging challenge is a good way to develop your students’ blogging skills while connecting with a global audience.

Your Task

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about student blogging by completing the following tasks:

  1. Have a look at  Miss Wyatt’s Student Bloggers blog and Mr Miller’s Blogging Bootcamp.  Leave a comment to tell us what ideas from the approaches these teachers use with their students would you adapt and use with your students?
  2. Read through the most recent comments in reply to this step and leave a response to another person’s comment.

104 Comments

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  1. Wow I liked this Resourceful post about setting up a student blog. Quite lately it has started to become important for students to have their own blogs so that they project their skills & talents in various ways. As a matter of Universities have gone serious about Student blogging & are using it to assess the students. Find more about it here http://www.shoutmeloud.com/should-blogging-be-used-as-university-assessment-tool.html
    A well deserved step towards equality while judging a student.

  2. Help! I set up my students blogs as their own account using a Google email however because they are not 13 they don’t actually have access to the email part. One of my students cannot login at all and I am thinking they changed their password even though they deny it but they have no idea what it could be. Anyway I can reset that password? I cannot figure it out. I can’t set them up a new one either since the email has been used. Thanks!

  3. We have worked with class and student blogs this year and so far everything works out nicely. Thanks for all the support, I think the teacher challenge was very helpful!

    Is there a way to get certain statistics about my students blogs? I have read about the google analytics and have looked through the widgets, but nothing seemed quite right. I’d like to see things such as which post got the most comments, who of my students is the most productive one, who has the most “clicks”, who frequently edits (changes dates above all), … the students blog overview isn’t very clear when it comes to certain stats.

    Thanks in advance
    https://forestdweller.edublogs.org

    • Forestdweller
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  4. Please help! I tried to create blogs for each of my students. When I hit “Create blogs” after entering all the data for all the students, the site processed them, but only 8 appeared and all of the rest of the data were deleted. I started over for the rest of the students and added a handful more. That worked. Then I did it again for the next batch of students and all of the data vanished (again), and the pages were not created. BUT when I try to reenter the data for these students, I am told that their sites already exist. I am beyond frustrated and need help so I can get the kids started this coming week.

    • Hi Ms. Almasi, adding a quick note here to say we’ve been helping with setting up your student blogs through Edublogs support.

      Also adding the Edublogs support email address here – support@edublogs.org so others can contact us directly if they need help.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  5. I created my student blogs this year with me adding all of them. It was so much easier than last year trying to explain to the students how to do it. It was more leg work on my part, but not too much trouble.

    • Hi Mr Fritts, I personally think it is easy to create the student blogs using My Class > Create student blogs. Can be a bit more initial leg work but can make it easier.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  6. I just created my student blogs. However, when I look on the dashboard of a student, I just see the class blog that I created.

    • Hi Berita

      Please send an email to support@edublogs.org so our support team can help you.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs | CampusPress
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  7. Both teachers use great strategies to introduce students to the blogging platform. I’ve already done a short “Getting Started” tutorial with my class to set up their user accounts. This took a lot of time. I would like to create a reference page like “Students as Bloggers” for them to refer to. I like how Mr. Miller has covered blogging vocabulary over a a few days. I would adapt the lesson topics of day 7, 8 and 9 as students are preparing to and media to their posts.

    • Hi Ms Lane

      Congratulations on completing the Teacher Challenge!

      I hope you don’t mind, I shortened your twitter feed and added the Class Blog widget to your sidebar for when you add Student Blogs.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs | CampusPress
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  8. I just created my student blogs. However, when I look on the dashboard of a student, I just see the class blog that I created. How do I change it so they see their own blog?

    • Mrs. Beard

      If you mean the information in the Reader feed, this is different for each user. What you will see when logged in can be different from what your student sees when logged in. The Class Blog Reader area will show all the content from all the blogs from your Student Blogs network.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs | CampusPress
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  9. Just a quick question…If I set up a class, with student blogs, is there anyway to cancel the class and still keep the individual student accounts?

    • Professor Cross
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    • Hi Professor Cross

      Your Student Blogs will still be active, but you will not have access to My Class features.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support
      @Edublogs_Eugene

  10. Just checking this was the last step for the student blogging steps? Thank you for all the resources and assistance. I started my blog with edublogs with the name and my posts were displayed as dwilling. I changed to Blogger, where my posts I think were showing as Dearne. Apologies for the confusion but I decided to go with Blogger so students only had one login to remember – their Google account. Woo hoo do I receive a badge now 🙂 ?

    • Hi Dearne

      Congratulations on completing the Teacher Challenge!

      We have emailed you details on how to access your badge.

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  11. Mrs Wyatt’s blog did not open. Mr Miller’s Blogging Bootcamp displays many great features and learning session ideas. I like the lesson structures/plans to introduce blog elements. I have been doing Blogger each Friday as their learning journal. I have found blogging assists with literacy and word-processing skills. I like how the lesson planning allows for many features of a blog and how each student can build upon their own blog in coming years.

    • Hi Dearne

      Thank you for letting us know about Miss Wyatt’s blog. We checked the link, and it is working.

      I’m sure your students loved your approach. Congratulations on finishing the teacher Challenge!

      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  12. Oh my goodness, I’ve done it! took me all weekend but finally made it. Promised my students we’d all me blogging on Monday so had to figure it out. Thanks to the mighty Edublog team for all your support!!!

    roll on tomorrow!

    • Great work. how did the blogging go? There have been so many features of blogging I had not thought about this PD has included. I am even more excited about continuing the blogging theme during next term now I have had experience this term.

  13. I am asking this in the wrong place and I feel it is a dumb question but the answer is eluding me.
    I simply want to share posts from other blogs with my class. I can’t get my head around this task which I feel should be straightforward.

  14. Hello,

    I really like how Miss Wyatt and Mr. Miller have set up student blogging like a student quest. There is a clear weekly structure and vision with challenges and obstacles that the students must address to progress through the course. I like the way Mr. Miller calls it “blogging bootcamp” – a catchy title with a reward of greater student freedom at the end of the rainbow. These types of challenges and rewards have a high appeal to the age of students I work with (grade 4).

    As this school year progresses and in future years of blogging with students, I hope to have more forward planning in place ahead of time and be confident and comfortable enough to release more control to the students so they are more empowered to chart the course of their own learning.

    Thank you again for all the fantastic resources provided here!
    Ms B.
    http://msboychuk.me

  15. I think Mr Miller’s Blogging Bootcamp is better for younger students so it would be a more appropriate approach for my own students. Since the whole process seems quite time-consuming collaboration between teachers would be another strategy. Students could learn the basics at computer classes and then practise in my English classes.
    Is it possible to involve different subjects/different teachers in a class blog?

    • Maria João Carvalho
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  16. I really like the detail of Mr Miller’s bootcamp and will certainly use it next year. This year I had my students (11 and 12 year olds) set up their own blogs, including the name of it and their password. Over the course of the year some of the students have forgotten their passwords but have then had to use the ‘reset password’ link to fix it up. I found this a valuable learning exercise for them as 1) they stop relying upon me to be the password guru and 2) it will help then with other sites they many use in the future. I only had one student out of 47 whose parents did want them to have a blog so he complete the blogs using Powerpoint. I was wondering if I set up one that was completely anonymous it may prevent his parents concerns? Perhaps I need to point out the benefits and safety in a better way? I also discovered that even though my students have admin privileges for their own blogs they don’t constantly change components, so i would probably keep this for next year as well.

    • Stephen Learmonth
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  17. Before I choose which way to allow students to create their blogs, I have a question or two that I am confused about. I think the best way to sign students up would be to create the blogs for them, but with over 150 students, I think that way may not be the best option for me. I think I will let them create their own blog and tie it to mine. That is where my questions lie.

    If they tie their blog to my class, will I still be able to monitor their blog’s posts and comments? Do I have administrative power over their account? I want to be totally sure about this before I go full in. Any help would be great.

    • Hi Mr Fritts

      Apologies! I didn’t realized we hadn’t answered your question “I have several students whose parents want them to post anonymously. How can I set their blog account, etc. up in that manner so that they post and comment anonymously?”

      If the parents aren’t comfortable with their child’s first name being included as part of the username and blog URL then the best option is to set up their accounts using a pseudonym for their username and blog URL.

      Provided the student blogs are connected to the class blog via My Class you will have access to all their student blogs to monitor posts and comments. You will also be able to decide if you want to moderate all posts and comments using My Class.

      There are pros and cons with students creating the accounts themselves. It’s less work for you if they create their own blogs however if you decide to use this approach then it is important that you provide detailed instructions that guides them through the steps and provides instructions for their username, blog URL and blog title.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  18. Mr.Miller’s bootcamp has an excellent plan of action in introducing the class to blogging step by step. I might use it and licence the children at the end with the award of a badge and their very own blog.

    • maistirscoile
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    • Hello maistirscoile,

      I agree with you. I think the use of badges to parallel landmark student learning can be a valuable tool that can move student learning towards desired outcomes.

      Best wishes for successful student blogging!
      Ms B.
      http://msboychuk.me