Blogs by keralaguest

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									The Central Course Blog and Blackboard Blogging Tools
                                The Central Course Blog is accessed through the Tools option of your
                                module menu (assuming you haven’t made it unavailable that is), or
                                from the Course Tools Link.

                                Either route takes you to the same screen of tools and if you scroll
                                down you find the Blog Tool:




                                Both you, as an instructor, and your students can access this. You, as
                                the instructor, can post to it ands students can read and comment on
                                it. Before it is used though, it has to be set up. If you try to access it
                                before it is set up, you get told it hasn’t been configured. To
                                configure the Central Course Blog tool, you need to access the control
                                panel.



Configuring the Central Course Blog



Click on the link to the Control Panel:




Then on Configure Blog Tool:




 You then get a page full of options (see over page), most of which are reasonably self explanatory,
for you to set as you wish. By default, instructors are the only ones able to post to the central
course blog, but this can be over ruled to allow students to make entries also. You can allow
students to comment on it too. Be careful of turning on the RSS feed option. Currently this is turned
off across the Blackboard system, but if it is ever turned on and you have enabled it for your course
blog too, suddenly your blog will be open to the world !

Also be careful of allowing deletion of anything …

Once you are happy, click OK and you’ll get a message telling you it is done.
Now when you click on the Blog tool (from tools – see above) you are presented with the blog.

Pretty, it is not … it is built more for function than for aesthetics !
There won’t be anything there to start with. There is a good help facility linked to from the question
mark icon at the top right.



Essentially though, you make a post by clicking on the new entry link:



And then you get a WYSIWYG editor to make your post in, clicking on “Save” when you are done.




You, can edit your post with the set of links that appear (to you) above your new post:

                              You and your students (assuming you have allowed them to do so) can
                              make comments on your post, by clicking the comment link below the
                              post.

It opens up another editor panel to make the comment.



                                                                           Once comments have
                                                                           been added, the
                                                                           “comments” link changes
                                                                           to reflect the number of
                                                                           comments made.
Setting up Group Blogs and Private Journals

                                                  In addition to the central course blog, you can set
                                                  up as many Group Blogs (everyone can see
                                                  everything) and Private Journals (each student can
                                                  see their contribution and the instructors’
                                                  contributions, but not the other students’) as you
                                                  like within content areas.

                                                  To do this, go to one of your content areas, either
                                                  through the control panel or from the main menu
                                                  and then click (top right) to go into “edit view”.

                                                  Once there, click on the dropdown list next to
                                                  Select and choose Blog from the list. Then click
                                                  on Go.

                                                  You are then taken to a page with many similar
                                                  options (and quite a few additional ones) to the
                                                  Central Course Blog Configuration screen.




You give it a name and a bit of explanatory description if you want. The blog needs to be available
for anyone other than instructors to see it.
The Blog type … as above and a bit more description is given by the options. Careful again of RSS in
this context.

Next, you choose who is to be a member (who can access it and post to it) of the blog. Often this
will be all course members, but you also get the option to have groups (set up in the group manager
– Control Panel) or individuals.

There are then some options about who can see, make and delete comments, some editing
availability settings, whether to allow non members in and lastly whether you want a grade book
entry to enable you to grade students efforts.

Click OK and the blog is created with functionality as for the Central Course Blog.

								
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