3 Ways to Edublog – LinkUps

Academic blogs can be used by professors in many different ways depending on their subject matter, lessons, and pedagogical goals. To guide you in the decision of what approach will be best for you to achieve your pedagogical goals we have created the series 3 ways to Edublog. In this series we will feature 3 distinct pedagogical and technical ways to use your blogs as educational tools in your classroom. 

LinkUps

LinkUp blogging is when students can submit specific blog posts to a professor’s post with the use of a LinkUp tool. This particular way of blogging works best for situations where a professor wants students to write a response about a prompt/scenario.

The first step is for the professor to create a free account with a linkup widget such as http://www.simply-linked.com/ or http://www.inlinkz.com/. Once the account is created, the professor will set up a list or collection depending on the widget he/she decides to use. All widgets provide an html script code that should be pasted on the body of the blog post, but in the html editing mode:

Note: It is possible that after pasting the code in html mode you won’t see it upon returning to visual mode. To make sure your linkup works properly finish your blog post, paste the code in html mode, and publish it right away (from html mode).

How the students connect?

Whenever a student creates a wordpress post in their personal blog, a permalink is assigned to that post:

After publishing the blog post, the student goes to the professor’s post/prompt and submits the permalink address to his/her response:

Once the post is submitted, responses will look like this:

Pros and Cons
There are particular benefits for using this approach.  If some of your students already have wordpress blogs as public platforms or as professional portfolios and if you would like for them to be able to continue owning, managing, and customizing their own blogging environments this is a great approach. Also, this approach may encourage them to blog and reflect about other issues that are not directly related to your class that could be helpful in their development as a student and creative thinker. This approach gives teachers direct access to students’ blog posts about the prompt and other students have direct access to their peers’ blog posts.

Blogs offer students and faculty great opportunities for interaction with each other. Commenting on each other’s blog posts is a great tool for reflection and understanding of peoples views on particular issues and classroom content. WordPress blogs allow for customization of blogs with the use of widgets and some of the widgets show recent comments. This capability is very helpful to aggregate and show blog comments from an edublog classroom has many students. With LinkUps, this is not possible. Comments only show on the original posts, in the original hosted blog.

If you want to know more about blogs click HERE.

3 Ways to Edublog – Web Syndication

Academic blogs can be used by professors in many different ways depending on their subject matter, lessons, and pedagogical goals. To guide you in the decision of what approach will be best for you to achieve your pedagogical goals we have created the series 3 ways to Edublog. In this series we will feature 3 distinct pedagogical and technical ways to use your blogs as educational tools in your classroom. 

Web Syndication

Web syndication is when a professor gathers the website/blog material from the students into a classroom blog. The way this syndication is done is with the activation of a plugin called FeedWordPress. According to the plugin description:

“FeedWordPress is an Atom/RSS aggregator for WordPress. It syndicates content from feeds that you choose into your WordPress weblog; the content it syndicates appears as a series of special posts in your WordPress posts database. If you syndicate several feeds then you can use WordPress’s posts database and templating engine as the back-end of an aggregation (“planet”) website.”

Whenever a student creates a wordpress blog, a RSS feed address is assigned to that site. By activating the FeedWordPress plugin and configuring it to fetch the posts from the students’ site with their RSS feed address you can bring all of their posts, or select posts with a particular tag or category to a class website.

Pros and Cons
There are particular benefits for using this approach.  If some of your students already have wordpress blogs as public platforms or as professional portfolios and if you would like for them to be able to continue owning, managing, and customizing their own blogging environments this is the best approach. Also, this approach may encourage them to blog and reflect about other issues that are not directly related to your class that could be helpful in their development as a student and creative thinker.

Blogs offer students and faculty great opportunities for interaction with each other. Commenting on each other’s blog posts is a great tool for reflection and understanding of peoples views on particular issues and classroom content. WordPress blogs allow for customization of blogs with the use of widgets and some of the widgets show recent comments. This capability is very helpful to aggregate and show blog comments from an edublog classroom has many students. With FeedWordPress, so far, this is not possible. Comments only show on the original posts, in the original hosted blog.

For instructions on how to setup FeedWordPress click HERE. If a student blog feed doesn’t syndicate you should read THIS. If you want to know more about blogs click HERE.

How to geotag your posts via WordPress for iOS

My previous post about the WordPress for iOS app explains how you can start posting to your WordPress blog from remote locations using your iPhone or iPad. We’ve since installed Geolocation Plugin for WordPress, which will allow you to add geolocation information to your posts in the form of Google Maps from the iOS app. If you’re planning to participate in one of Baylor’s study abroad programs any time soon, using this app and plugin combo might be a great way to keep up a photo blog of your travels, particularly if you plan to use a theme like AutoFocus.

Adding geolocation information to your posts is easy. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that geotagging has been turned on for the blogs you’ve set up in iOS:

(If you’re not sure how to do this for a blog you’ve already set up, go back to your lists of blogs and click the Edit button and then tap the title of the blog you want to edit–when you do this, you’ll get the screen shown above. This is where you turn Geotagging on or off.) When you write a post, you’ll see a blue icon in the title field of the edit post screen as shown here:


Tap that blue icon, and then you can see the location information for that post:

This is the map that will be shown in the post when you publish it. If you wish to configure how that information appears in the published post, you can visit the full dashboard and click Settings > Geolocation to change how the geolocation information appears. By default, it will appear as a link at the bottom of the post, which will display a Google map of your location when you hover over it:

Finally, if you need to fine tune your location information after the fact, you may do so in the full version of the dashboard, where you will see all the custom field information for your location and the Geolocation module showing the map in your post.

Mobile posting on iOS devices – a common hurdle

So you have an iPhone or iPad and the free WordPress for iOS app. Ready to start posting from your mobile device, right? Sounds easy enough, but forays into mobile posting via iOS often begin with this error:

A seasoned WordPress vet will know exactly what this error means, but for you newbies: There’s an obscure check box in Settings > Writing that you must enable prior to blogging via iOS called Enable the WordPress, Movable Type, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols:

… check that box, and you’ll be able to sync up your blogs with the WordPress for iOS app, error-free.

How to make a post “sticky”

Sometimes you may need a post to stay glued to the front page of your site. For example, you may decide that you need to give your students a reading prompt for their next blog assignment and need the prompt to be readily available for the students up until the deadline. You can accomplish this by making a post “sticky.”

To make create a sticky post, visit the Dashboard and either create a new post or edit an existing one. Go to the Publish box to the right and find the Visibility section and click Edit. After you click Edit, the following menu appears:

Check the Stick this post to the front page option and publish or update the post. All done! Your post will now be the first post everyone sees when they visit your blog until you uncheck this option, but you may also have more than one sticky post. Finally, an alternate way to quickly make a post sticky is to use the Quick Edit menu (shown below) for pre-existing posts.