How To Moderate All Comments and Posts On Student Blogs

I’m frequently asked ‘how to moderate all posts and comments on student blogs so that nothing is published until approved by a teacher’ because there are situations where it’s necessary.

I’ll tell you how to do it below – but first it’s important to mention educators have differing opinions on moderation and use two main approaches:

  1. Students are allowed to publish own posts and approve all comments
  2. Students posts and comments aren’t published until approved by a teacher

There are pros/cons to each of these approaches which I don’t have time to discuss in this post but would love to follow up in a later post.

So please share your thoughts on moderation by leaving a comment:

  1. Which approach do you take and why?
  2. Do you moderate all comments and posts?  Or not?

Step 1: Create the student blogs using the gmail+ method

The easiest way to moderate all the comments is for all comments from the student blogs to be sent to one email account.

You do this by creating the blogs using the gmail+ method.

How it works is Gmails ignores anything in the first half of an email address after a plus sign so if you create each email with the format [email protected] all emails will be sent to the inbox of [email protected]

If you don’t want to use your own gmail account then set up a gmail account for your class e.g. [email protected]

This means every comment that is posted on any of the blog will automatically be sent to the one gmail account making it really easier for you to read, approve or delete.

All you need to do is just click on appropriate link in the email!

Image of comment moderation email

Here are instructions for creating student blogs (Remember to add yourself as administrator to the student blogs!)

  1. For free Eublogs blog users – read Creating student blogs using the Signup page
  2. Edublogs Supporter and Edublogs Campus users – refer to Using Blog & User Creator to create student blogs

adminbloguser

Step 2: Change The Comment Moderation Settings

The default comment setting for all newly created blogs is ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment.’ This means once you’ve approved one comment from a commenter all subsequent comments by that person will be automatically published without being moderated.

For all comments to be moderated and approved by a teacher before appearing on the blog you need to change the comment moderation setting for all student blogs to include ‘An administrator must always approve the comment’.

Changing comment settings is as simple as:

  1. Go to Settings > Discussion Image of Discusion tab
  2. Select ‘An administrator must always approve the comment’. Image of comment moderation setting
  3. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page

For more information about managing comments refer to:

  1. Engaging with readers through comments
  2. Controlling who can comment on posts
  3. Managing, editing and approving comments

Step 3: Changing the Student’s role on the blog

In most situations student blogs are created with the students automatically assigned the role of administrator.

To moderate their posts,  so it a post is only published after approval by a teacher, you need to change their role on the blog to Contributor.

Please note you must first add yourself as as administrator on the student blog as follows:

  1. Creating blogs for your students using the Signup page – free Edublogs blogs
  2. Using the Blog & User creator to create student blogs – Edublogs Supporters & Edublogs Campus only.

adminbloguser

To change their role:

  1. Go to Users > Authors & Users Image of Author menu
  2. Select the user you want to change, click on drop down arrow to select Contributor and then click Change Image of contributor role

When a contributor writes a post it is saved as a pending to await approval by an administrator or editor.

To approve a post:

  1. Navigate to the dashboard of the student blog Image of navigating the blogs
  2. Click on Post > Edit Image of edit posts
  3. Those posts submitted for review by your student will have pending next to their title.
  4. Hovering your mouse over the title of a post brings up four action links: Edit; Quick Edit; Delete and Preview.   Image of pending
  5. To publish just click on Edit or Quick Edit and then click Update Post.

For more information refer to Editing posts.

Please note:

FINAL THOUGHTS

Please share your thoughts on moderation by leaving a comment:

  1. Which approach do you take and why?
  2. Do you moderate all comments and posts?
  3. Or do you allow students to publish own posts and approve all comments?

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider Subscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

29 Responses

  1. pwoodcomputers says:

    I am the first teacher in our school to set-up and use a blog. Our administration is very wary of doing anything new online, so in order to be able to start a blog, I had to agree to moderate all comments and student posts to ensure that nothing inappropriate was being published. It is helpful for the first couple posts while the students are getting used to the software. Because Contributors can’t add media, at the begining of each class period, I set the users to Authors, then after the period is over, I change them back to Contributors. This is the best compromise I could come up with my administration. It’s more work for me, but hopefully this will encourage my school to allow other projects in the future.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @pwoodcomputers, Totally understand why you’ve had to moderate all comments and posts; and lots of people face exactly the same situation you have.

      Thanks for the tip regarding changing to Authors, It is really annoying with this latest version that Contributors can’t upload media and we are discussing options.

      • @Sue Waters, has there been a change to permissions for different user types? All my students are contributers to our class blog and they have no trouble uploading media. They can definitely insert pictures anyway. Haven’t checked for other media types.

        @pwoodcomputers, I’m in the same boat as you… a technology wary school. So I moderate everything! Lucky I only have 12 students and we only have a class blog rather than them each having their own.

        • Sue Waters says:

          @healthstudies, Thanks for reminding me I hadn’t edited in this post.

          As a result of feedback from our community I convinced the development team to create two new features. One that gave contributors the ability to upload media because most were frustrated their students couldn’t.

          Secondly we created a plugin that hides all comments that are moderated from contributors to minimise their exposure to inappropriate comments.

          These features are specific to Edublogs. So while Edublogs is powered by WordPress MU — what a contributor can do on our site is different from a standard WordPress site.

  2. alicesims says:

    My students are juniors and seniors and I encourage them to use their blogs for more than just things I assign. I also know their logon email addresses and passwords, however, for those times when I do have to edit or remove. Rarely do I have to delete a post, but after the first time it happens, the student doesn’t make the mistake again.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @alicesims, Thanks for sharing Alice. Can I ask do you monitor their blogs using Google Reader or another option? Also I’m assuming this means you aren’t added as a blog admin on their blogs?

      • alicesims says:

        @Sue Waters,
        That’s right. I include links to all their blogs on my own blog so they have easy access to reading each others. I also follow each one, so I’m sent a notice any time they also make a post. I also read each one (including comments) at least once a week. I decided not to be a blog administrator as a way to make them more responsible and give them more freedom. I wouldn’t recommend that for younger students, however. So far it has worked out well for me, but maybe I’ve just been lucky!

  3. PJVermont says:

    God…it!!!

    My mistake! I just created 15 student blogs, but got confused and panicky. Forgot to add myself as admin. Is there a way those blogs can be fixed/deleted so I can create new ones with me as the admin?

    PJVermont

    Sorry for taking your time with this.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @PJVermont, sorry everything has been a bit crazy over the past few days making the Edublog Awards happening.

      I did give you some options via twitter. The best is to get your students to log in and then quickly add you as a user using User > Add New. You will need to tell them your username and the email address attached to your username.

      Here are the instructions – http://help.edublogs.org/2009/08/24/adding-users-to-a-blog/

      Please let me know how you go.

  4. gillumtech says:

    Hi Sue,

    Is there a way for students’ “Pending Posts” to show up on the Teacher’s dashboard in the same way that “Pending Comments” do?

    Right now it is quite easy to moderate comments that are pending as they show up right on the teacher dashboard. However, when students submit blog posts for approval, the teacher is not notified in any way. Instead, we have to click on each student’s dashboard and check to see whether or not they have a post that’s awaiting approval. It’s do-able, but quite time-consuming.

    If there is a better way to do this, please let me know.

    Thanks for your help,
    Stacey

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Staacey, I’ve discussed this with the technical team and it is a feature they are considering developing but it will take some time.

      The alternative is they subscribe to students comments and posts using Google Reader; then moderate after posts are published. They spend a lot of time before the students start publishing their own wrote educating them about appropriate online behaviour.

  5. Samg says:

    Hi Sue, I am moderating 23 student blogs set up just as you described in your post – It is good to know that I am following a good procedure as I sort of had to make it up.

    I am an admin on all student blogs, and approve comments etc.
    Like an earlier moderator mentioned, once you have had to remove something once, they don’t do it again.

    Something I am concerned with at the moment – as it is end of year, and many of my students are moving on to high school, what do you recommend I do bout their blogs? They still want to keep them, but I am the first teacher at our school to have student blogs, so who moderates in the future? And who moderates the ones who have left the school? I’m sure this is a problem that others have come up against. What do you recommend?

    Regards, Sam G, Kallista PS

  6. Sue Waters says:

    Hi Sam, sorry for taking so long to respond but it is a really busy time of the year with Christmas and the Edublog Awards.

    Here is an article I’ve written previously about dealing with student blogs at the end of the year – http://theedublogger.com/2009/06/05/dealing-with-student-blogs-at-the-end-of-the-school-year/

    Hope that post helps!

  7. STAY-SEE says:

    UHH….the only reason why im posting a comment is so that i can do my h.w!!! so yeah MS.FEAD if ur reading this then yeah!!! i think i did it right?

    • Sue Waters says:

      @STAY-SEE, definitely did a good job with writing a comment but maybe you were meant to post the comment on your teachers class blog? You might want to check this with your teacher :)

  8. dsandrue says:

    I have to moderate all posts and comments, and since I created these sites and am going to be held responsible for their content, I see it as a necessary evil.

    While it is great to get notification via email that comments have been left on a student’s page, I wish I could be notified via email when students leave posts that need reviewing. That would wipe out hours of clickage.

    knowwhatimean?

    • Sue Waters says:

      @dsandrue, yes I know exactly what you mean when students leave posts that need review and will discuss it with the technical team.

      • dombreadmore says:

        @Sue Waters, Have there been any developments on the option to receive a notification email for pending post moderation? The functionality with comments is great, but I have several schools asking for the same to be possible for posts.

  9. susanna127 says:

    What do I need to do so that I can see the comments on my site… as in “threaded comments”.. I am guessing this is what they are called..??

    Thanks for your help- Check out my site now- Much different than the last time I asked for help- slowly but surely I’m getting there!! :-)

    • Sue Waters says:

      @susanna127, most of the updated themes now supported threaded comments without using the Threaded Comment plugin.

      To activate this feature you just need to go to Settings > Discussion select Enabled threaded comments and then click on Update at the bottom of the page.

      Hope this information helps!

  10. apslibrary says:

    @suewaters

    The only reason I set up my primary school class as administrators was so they would have access to Appearance themes and widgets. They have so much fun with these and it really gives them a sense of ownership. Would it be possible for contributors to have this option?

  11. Sue Waters says:

    @apslibrary we did modify contributors to allow them to upload media files into blog posts. Not sure if they would be willing to however probably worth you suggesting it as a feature here http://edublogs.org/2010/05/12/what-new-features-would-you-like-to-see/

  12. Imran14826 says:

    While it is great to get notification via email that comments have been left on a student’s page, I wish I could be notified via email when students leave posts that need reviewing. That would wipe out hours of clickage.

    imran14826
    http://www.livetv.pk

  13. Great.This is one of those informative posts i get interested reading with.

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