Our tips for getting blogs ready for the end of the school year

The school year’s almost ended in the Northern Hemisphere!

Everyone’s focusing on holidays and completing end of year tasks.

But what about your class and student blogs?

Now’s the time to tidy them up — it’ll save you frustrations when you come back from your holidays.

And here’s our tips to help you based on the questions we’re asked in Edublogs Support.

Approaches used with student blogs

There are two main scenario’s for the fate of student blogs – unless you’re part of a school-wide program:

Fate of student blogs

Dealing with Student blogs that are discontinuing

While these two scenario require a different approach, they both have to deal with student blogs that are no longer required such as:

  1. Students that don’t wish to continue blogging
  2. Students leaving the school

Unless the parent, student or school absolutely demands these blogs be deleted, it’s better not to delete the blogs. These blogs are part of their journey, one day they may change their mind, want to check them out or another teacher might like to use them.

Delete is DELETE; it’s impossible to undelete them.

Here’s what we recommend:

1.  Set up an Archive page on your class blog of all student blogs

2.  Change their role to Subscriber so they can’t write any posts

  • Only possible if you are an admin user on their blog

Change user role to subscriber

3.  Disable the ability for comments to be added

  • Select ‘Automatically close comments on articles older than 14 days” in Settings > Discussion

Disabling comments

Dealing with Student blogs that are discontinuing - if you’re using an Edublogs Campus site

Edublogs Campus provides total control of all blogs in ways not achievable using other blogging solutions.  This means you have extra options for managing them at the end of the school year.

Some Campus sites allow students blogs to remain live on their site after the student has left their program while others require the students to move their blogs to another service.

If your decision is for them to move their blogs here’s how to do it:

1.  Encourage those that want to keep blogging to set up a new blog on Edublogs.org or any other standard blogging platform.

2. Give them these instructions to import the contents from their Campus blog into their new blog

3.  Once their blogs have been moved go to Site Admin > Blogs and click on the archive link underneath their blog URL to archive their blog

  • This just archives their blog and if needed you’ll be able to easily bring back online
  • Please don’t delete their blog as it will be deleted and you can’t bring it back online if you make a mistake

Archiving blogs

Supporting Students that want to continue to blog

For students that want to keep their blog you need to consider who monitors the blog.  Or does some one even need to?

Some teachers organise for parents to take over the responsibility. Or perhaps you are happy to continue to support them?

Organising parents to take over

If a parent (or another teacher) is taking over the role of assisting the student blog then you’ll need to add them as a user to the blog using Users > Add New - here’s the instructions you’ll need to follow.

Once they’ve been added ask them or your student to log in and remove you as a user from the blog.

  • This’ll remove their blog from your Dashboard > My Blogs area.

Removing an admin user

If you used gmail+ for the student username and blog then you might want to discuss options for using an alternative email address.

Here’s the two locations you’ll need it changed:

  1. Users > Your Profile when the student is logged in with their username
  2. Settings > General

Monitoring Student blogs you continue to support

If you’re happy to continue to support their blogging then we recommend you do it using separate folders for posts and comments in Google Reader.

Here’s how you set it student blogs in Google Reader!

You’ll find that posts and comments decreases and you’ll be able to focus on those that are keen to continue.

About your Edublogs Pro subscription

If you use an Edublogs Pro blog as your class blog:

  1. You can create as many student blogs are you want – there are no restrictions
  2. You can only enable features on up to 50 blogs and change which blogs these are at any time

Creating a memento of their Student blog

Obviously if you don’t delete their blogs they will remain online and be a keepsake.

However if you do want the student blogs in alternative formats you could create a PDF version using BlogBooker.

Refer to page 9 of this Scribd Document.

Approaches used with Class Blogs

Most educators use the same class blog each year.  You’ll get ideas on how they do this by looking at our Class blog list here.

Hiding content from new students

The easiest option to protect content you don’t want the next group of students viewing is to change the posts to draft mode, for those posts you want to hide, by going to Posts > Edit.

Changing a post to draft mode

If you want to re-use the same post without the comments you just copy the content of the post into a new post then publish it when ready.

Handing a Class blog over to new teacher when you change schools

If you’re leaving your school and another teacher is going to be using the class blog here’s what you need to do:

  1. Add the teacher as a user to the blog using Users > Add New - here’s the instructions you’ll need to follow
  2. Change the email address in Settings > General to their email address
  3. For Edublogs Pro blogs – cancel your Edublogs Pro subscription and get them to resubscribe when the subscription expires (as per the date shown in the Pro tab) by following these instructions
  4. Change the email address attached to your username in Users > Your Profile

Changing your Class blog URL

Occasionally youll have situations where you do need to change the URL of your blog.

While you can’t change a blog URL you can create a new blog with your preferred blog URL and import all content from an existing blog into your new blog.

Here is how you do it:

  1. Create your new blog attached to your existing username as per these instructions.
  2. Log into your original blog dashboard
  3. Click on Tools > Export
  4. Click on Download Export file and save onto your hard drive
  5. Log into your new blog
  6. Click on Tools > Import
  7. Click on WordPress
  8. Browse to locate Download Export file.   Make sure you select Down and import the attachments.
  9. Click on upload file and import

This will import all pages, posts,  comments, files.

You will need to manually set up your blog theme and widgets.   The best way to do this is to have both blogs open in separate browser tabs or windows and work between the two blogs to change the theme and add in the widget.

You’ll find detailed instructions in this Scribd Document.

Backing Up Your Blog

Keeping posts by former students while making them easily findable

Most educators manage student posts on class blogs by getting the students to assign their name as a category to the post before they publish their post.  This makes it easy to find and manage their work.

Here’s a detailed explanation of how educators use categories to organise student posts on a class blog.

The easiest option to keep their posts while making them still easy to locate is to assign a parent category to designate their year.

  • You can use numbers at the start of categories to change the order they’re displayed.

Here’s an example of how to set up parent categories:

Adding a parent category

You’ll need to make sure ‘Show Hierarchy’ is selected in your category widget.

The category widget

Final Thoughts

Hope this has helped!

  1. What other advice would you give?
  2. Or are there any other questions you would like answered?

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider feed-icon32x32 Finding and Adding Creative Commons Images To Your Blog PostsSubscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

10 Responses

  1. Ellen says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is just what I wanted to learn.

    Since I teach adults and each student created his or her blog, I will just eliminate them from the blogroll class list. They can keep their own blog rolls since it serves them as a local PLN. Hopefully they will eventually feel the need to keep adding to their own PLN.

    As for converting the posts (and pages I imagine) into draft mode, what a handy way to ‘keep everything’ , not lose a word and be able to refurbish it for my next batch of students.

    I will be doing this every semester, and it seems so easy!
    A BIG thank you for those of us in the NOrthern hemisphere. Ellen in Mexico.

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Ellen, glad our tips helped! Might be worth considering setting up an archive page so you can check back at previous students work later. You could always make it password protected if you don’t want you new students to look at the list.

  2. I love how you all know just what questions we are asking! This has fabulous information, and I always appreciate how the steps are so easy to follow.

    Here’s my question that Melissa Martinez and I were trying to think through — When she gets new students next year and wants to keep the posts but clean up the Categories (which are her current student names), is there an easy way to do that, but would allow students to still easily find the posts they wrote?

    http://martinezroom201.edublogs.org/

    I hope that makes sense.

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Tracey, great question and I’m going to update my post to show how you can do it.

      I’ve adjusted the categories on Melissa’s class blog so she can easily see how it would look and have used her blog for the screenshots.

      Hope that is okay?

      • Hi Sue,

        Fabulous screen shots! This is exactly what Melissa and I couldn’t figure out on our own. Perfect solution! –Thanks for asking about using this, and it’s fine. I’m sure Melissa will feel the same way. (She’s a bit busy with today being the last day of the school year, and it was her first year of teaching.) Thanks again for all your help!

        Kind regards,
        Tracy

  3. Oh my gosh….you’ve done it again. Anticipating exactly what I was wondering about…worrying how I would manage these over the summer and how I would get ready for next year.

    I may still need some help.

    So will your next post be how for me to help the teachers in my school who are ready to take the plunge with me next year??? What should I be helping them learn over the North American summer vacation so they’ll be ready in two short month?

    Thanks again…you’re the best. EVER and always.

    marsha

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Marsha, thanks and your options on a Campus site are slightly different so I’ll quickly update them to include my recommendations for them.

      If you are able to convince your teachers to work through one of our two Teacher Challenge’s on Blogging — that would get them off to a great start. The options are the Kick Start your blogging or Get Starting blogging with your students – http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/

  4. It is really very informative article. thanx for giving such useful tips.

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