Edublogs: Staff training

In this blog post we will focus on how you can setup your site and create classes to manage your students’ blogs as well as go through some options in terms of organising students into groups.

If you are new to Edublogs, you should first visit some of our other TEL help guides, such as ‘Getting started with Edublogs‘, ‘Setting up a site‘ and ‘Creating posts and pages‘.

1. Once you have logged in to Edublogs, click on ‘My Sites’ and ‘Add New’.
2. When you add a site name remember to include only lower case letters and no spaces.
3. Enter a relevant title for the site and select the necessary privacy options as required
4. Select a template and ‘Save’

You’ll see the success screen appear and if you click on the site title the system will create your blog, sit back and relax and you’ll be taken to the site dashboard.

If you’d like to follow a step-by-step guide on how students create groups and how to setup your class, watch the below film.

Creating student groups in Edublogs

If you require your students to setup groups, then it’s important to mention that any groups must be created before students join your class.  This is because if your students join the class before adding users to their blog, they won’t be able to do this once in the class.

To gain a better understanding of how you can help students to create their groups and manage users, there is a useful blog post on the TEL help site, called ‘Setting up your blog for your module coursework‘, which you may want to read.

The above blog covers different scenarios, such as if you’d like students to work collectively on one blog as part of a group submission or if you’d like students to work on their own blog as part of a group, but share what they are doing with other members of their group.

Edublogs has a detailed set of pages that go through all the roles available and what they do.  So, for example if you wanted to assist the students and help them to setup a group where they needed to be able to view each other’s blog, then you would follow these steps:

Go to the ‘Users’ area and select ‘All Users’ > Then select ‘Add New’ and type in the username or Marjon email address into the search box > leave the role set to ‘Subscriber’ and hit ‘Add New User’.

This process should be repeated for all the students that need to share their blog with each other.

The subscriber role, will only allow those students to view the blog for the other group members – they won’t be able to edit any content.

(some students may think that they can see everyone’s blogs when they go to their dashboard reader, but this will only display a snapshot of the latest posts and they should not be able to view the content)

There are other scenarios that you may like to familiarise yourself with, such as student groups that work collectively on one blog or student groups where each member of the group can edit a collective blog and where every other student can view those blogs.  Both these potential scenarios and how to create them are covered in the TEL help page ‘Setting up your blog for your module coursework‘.

Classes

Classes enable you to keep track of all your students’ blogs for the purposes of marking.  You should visit the helpful Edublogs support page, which provides more information about class roles and how they work.  When a class is created two additional roles are created, these are ‘teacher’ and ‘student’.  Multiple teachers can be assigned to the class, via adding new users and assigning them the role of ‘teacher’.

To create your class, make sure you’re logged in to Edublogs and within the dashboard for the relevant site and follow the below steps:

1. Hover your mouse cursor over ‘My Class’ and then click on ‘Create a Class’.
2. Check the ‘This is a class blog’ box.

Create a class screenshot

3. In the ‘Allow students to post on the class blog’ area the usual option to check is ‘No – use if you want them to publish posts on their student blog’
4. Moderation is usually left unchecked, but if you’d like to review any posts before being published or any comments, you can check the relevant boxes.
5. Privacy is normally left on ‘Block search engines from all blogs, but allow normal visitors to see all blogs’, but again if you want to add additional privacy settings you can select another option here.
6. The Reader option will allow you to determine if you want your students to be able to read each other’s posts in their dashboard.  If unchecked, students should not be able to read each other’s posts, unless they are part of a group.
7. When you’re happy with the class setup, just save.

If you want to explore any of the settings in more detail, you can visit the Edublogs support pages.

The next step is to ask your students to join your class.  To do this, follow these instructions:

1. Ask your students to login to Edublogs and go to the dashboard of their new site for the module you’ve just setup in Edublogs.
2. If your students need to work in groups, make sure that they have setup their groups first.
3. Ask your students to hover their mouse cursor over ‘My Class’ and they should have an option to ‘Join a Class’
4. They should enter the class name into the search box. (if you can’t remember what the class name is then you can find this out by looking at the URL and it should be after sites.marjon.ac.uk[class name]/wp-admin)
5. The students should then have a request to join option.
6. When your students have all requested to join the class, you’ll be able to approve their requests by visiting ‘My Class’ and ‘Student blogs’.
7. Once approved, your student blogs should look something like the below screenshot.

Class screenshot

To visit the blog, just click on the ‘Visit’ link or you can visit posts or pages, by clicking on the ‘4 total’ link in this instance.

If for any reason you need to delete or remote a student blog from the class, just click on the tick underneath the ‘Choose action’ drop-down menu and then use the drop-down menu to select the option needed and hit ‘Apply’.

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Matt Ewens

Digital Innovation Technologist

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