Edublogs: Staff Guide for Setting up and Managing Classes

[Creating & class + student process] [Housekeeping] [Class settings] [Screencast]

This guide has been created to help staff to setup their own classes for Edublogs and also show how to better manage classes and student blogs.

What is a class?

A class is a means by which staff can view every student blog from a particular module all in one space.  It can be setup with specific permissions, which control whether or not students can see other student blogs.  It also means that the teacher does not need student login information or any passwords to be able to see content, so security of information is ensured.

A standard class will look something like this once it has been created and students have added their blogs.

Class example

Creating & class + student process – Back

In future, staff should have the required skills to be able to do this themselves and this guide forms part of the how-to process.

1. Login to Edublogs
2. Click on ‘Get a Blog’
3. Follow the prompts for setting up your new site
4. For the Site name – enter the module code in lowercase followed by the year
5. For the Site title enter the module title and the year
6. Enter any privacy option (it does not matter which as you will select the class privacy later and this determines the students’ privacy for their blogs that are attached to the class)
7. Select any template (it does not matter which as the site is simply a route to enable you to create a class)
8. Create Site

Create site

Button

Note: If you get an error message at this point, it may be that someone has the same site name as you, go back to the top and edit the site name

You will be redirected to another page and you should see a screenshot like the one below.  Click on the link after ‘The site …. is yours.’  The site will then be created and once created you will automatically be sent to the dashboard for the site.

Site is yours

9. Within the dashboard of your new site you should hover your mouse over ‘My Class’ and select ‘Create Class’

Join class

10. Check the box ‘This is a class blog’
11. Leave the settings as default for the first two sections
12. Select the required privacy you want for the class (which will determine the privacy for the students blogs once they have joined the class)

Privacy key:

‘Allow search engines to index this site’ – not recommended whilst the students are at university. It may be that students will want the option after leaving university to allow Google to index the site, if they have a portfolio to show potential employers.
‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’ – Although Google will not list the site on its search engine, it will be available for external visitor to visit the website if they have the website link.
‘Only registered users of Plymouth Marjon University Sites network can view this site’ – Only users that have signed up through the Marjon institutional login process will be able to view the blog.  This means that any student or member of staff registered will be able to see the content if they have the blog link.
‘Only registered users of this site can view it’ – This means that only users that have been added to the particular blog will be able to see the blog (this option is used when students either work collaboratively on the same blog or as part of a group to reflect on each other’s blog.  So, students would add each group member via ‘Users’ > ‘Add New’) – note that teachers attached to the class will still be able to view the blogs
‘Only someone who provides the following password can view this site’The Ronseal option.

13. Check the box for ‘Allow all students in this class to read each other’s posts in the dashboard ‘Reader’ tool.’ If you’re happy for students to see a snippet in their dashboard from other students’ blogs
14. Set any specific permissions for access to things like ‘Switching Themes’ (usually this is set to ‘Allow’ – but you may have had a specific template created especially for the module, so in this case uncheck this option.
15. Save your class
16. Do you have other members of staff that you want to give access to the class? If you do, head over to ‘Users’ > ‘Add New’ – in the search box start typing the email address for the member of staff.  If you are using Google Chrome browser their name should automatically appear for selection.  If you’re using Internet Explorer, this may not happen – enter their full email address and then select the role of ‘Teacher’ from the drop-down box
17. Click the ‘Add Existing User’ button
18. Go back to the Class via ‘My Class’ > Settings.
19. There will be the following message at the top:

settings

20. Scroll down the page and check any additional teachers and then Save.

Student process

Students will be asked to follow the below process to join your class – this is just for information purposes to show you what they do.

The class enables your tutor to access all your blog work, so it is important that you join the class.

Before we begin with the task, it is worth explaining what happens when you subscribe to other people’s blogs or what happens when you create more than one site.  (you are not required to be in groups for this exercise or subscribe to other blogs, this is for information purposes)

If you look to the top of the screen you’ll see ‘My Sites’ – hovering your mouse over this will reveal your new site, but if in the future you are subscribed to numerous sites or you create more – all these sites will also appear in the drop-down list.  This can get confusing, so keep this in mind.

If you do get stuck in the future or confused by a long list of sites, you can hide them by following this guide on our TEL help site: https://sites.marjon.ac.uk/elearning/2018/11/07/dit-hint-of-the-week-organising-your-edublog-sites-2/ (for now, just keep this link bookmarked as you only have one site)

To join the class

1. Hover your mouse over ‘My Class’
2. Click on ‘Join a class’
3. In the search box copy and paste the following text exactly: xxxxxx
4. Click ‘Search’
5. Click on ‘Request to join’

Housekeeping & Managing your class & sites – Back

If you are already a user on numerous sites, then it’s likely that the drop-down list of sites is long and if you are a user on more than 20 sites, then you will not be able to see all the sites.

To access all your sites, just click on the link at the top of the drop-down list ‘See All’ or click on the three houses icon.

housekeeping

This will take you to pages of your sites.  Here you can opt to hide any old sites that you no longer need access to from the drop-down menu.

hiding

If you hide any blogs remember to ‘Save Changes’ before moving on to another page.

If you find this method above problematic, you may want to review a previous blog post about managing your sites, with instructions on how to create lists to help you manage Edublogs.

Managing your class & sites

To manage your class, you need to login to Edublogs and navigate to the class site via the drop-down list under ‘My Sites’ (if you can’t find the site, you’ll need to view all sites and find the site and then visit the dashboard)

1. Go to ‘My Class’ and click on ‘My Class’
2. You will be taken to your class. (note if you have not done so already, there may be student blogs to approve on this page. If there are, approve them)
3. You will see x10 student blogs on each page and here you can view any blog by clicking on ‘Visit’ through each of the blog areas, as below:

example class blog

There are many additional options, as above.  For example if a student has added the wrong blog to your class, you can ‘Remove Blog from Class’ – then they will be able to add the correct blog.

Note: Students can only join one class at a time, they can’t join numerous classes.

Sometimes on occasion, you may visit a student’s blog and find that there is no content or have difficulty finding it.  In this case, you can visit the student’s dashboard or go directly into their pages/posts.  So, if I wanted to view the 6 pages above, I would just click on them.  This way you can view any content you need to.

page view

Click on the page to view the content, then click on the Permalink to view

about me

Class settings – Back

If you need to check the permissions for privacy for the class, or for example you want to lower the level or privacy after the students have had their blogs marked for the purposes of reflection so the students see each other’s blogs – you can do this via the settings.

1. Hover the mouse over ‘My Class’ then click on ‘Settings’

This will enable you to alter the settings as required.

Class settings key

guide

Adding Teachers to the Class

1. To add other teachers to the class, go to ‘Users’ > ‘Add New’
2. Search for the member of staff (if you use Google Chrome, when you start typing a name it should automatically appear – if you use Internet Explorer most likely it will not do this) – or find the staff email address and type it into the search box.
3. Set the role to ‘Teacher’ and ‘Add Existing User’
4. Navigate back to the class settings (My Class > Settings)
5. Save

The member of staff will be added to the class.  Just make sure that the ‘Teacher’ box is checked within the class, as below:

teacher settings

Class Reports

If you wish, you can create reports on the class activity, this can be done to show all activity relating to all the student blogs, including posts, comments and users.  You can only set it to extract data monthly.

If you want to generate a report, go to ‘My Class’ > ‘Reports’

You can download any data as a PDF or CSV file for use in a spreadsheet.  This could be useful if you want to see when content was saved. For example, if a student was able to upload their blog before the deadline.  You can filter the date column to display the most recent items.

Screencast – Back

 

PDF version of this guide is also available to download here: Edublogs Staff Guide for Setting up and Managing Classes

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Matt Ewens

Digital Innovation Technologist

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