Archive for September, 2009

Add User to campus blogs

0 Commentsby   |  09.30.09  |  News

Much of the work integrating WordPress MU into campus systems this summer was focused on managing users. Just as with Blackboard or Class Folders/Drop Boxes, this integration draws student lists from Banner and makes sure students are added or dropped from your blog automatically.

Picture 40However, a growing number of users on campus manage campus blogs for sharing announcements with a department or media with a multi-section course. For these “Unmanaged Blogs” (not tied to Banner), there will be situations where you want to add student editors, guest authors, or others on campus without opening the blog up to the web. All blog owners should now see the Add User button on the left menu under the Users section. When you select Add New, type in the ACU username of the student or employee you want to add and select an appropriate role. (For more information on WP roles, see the Advanced Tips page.)

*Please be aware that this does not work for Class Blogs. Just as with Blackboard, adding a user to a class blog with this method is temporary and will be deleted during the next Banner update. To add a student editor or TA to a class blog, go to the wrench tool in MyACU.

One other option for making your blog semi-private is simply to change the Privacy level (go to the Privacy panel under Settings). Making your blog available to “registered members from blog community” will keep it behind the MyACU login but accessible to any campus user you give the address.

We are currently investigating the FERPA implications of private and public class blogs, but for now this should give you a range of options for managing access to your site. Feel free to

Customizing your Mobile Blog

0 Commentsby   |  09.18.09  |  Updates

Here’s a video introducing the WordPress plugin that makes all ACU Blogs easier to access from a mobile device. The following screencast walks you through the basics of the WPtouch plugin and how it can help make the pages and categories users typically find in your sidebar available on the mobile blog.

The basic interface should already be set without any work on your part, but if you’d like some control over what users can get to from an iPhone or iPod touch we’ll get you started.

Mobile Blog View with WPtouch (16 min)

Draft and Pending Review

0 Commentsby   |  09.17.09  |  Updates

Enjoyed a great Adams Center lunch with faculty, but one question came up we didn’t have a very precise answer for: what is the difference between saving a post as a Draft or as Pending Review. It turns out there is little difference unless you’re using the Contributor role to allow students to submit, but not publish, posts to the blog.

Here is a nice discussion of the distinction and how it might work with students, but for the majority of the time Draft will serve to save your in-progress content without publishing it.

Look for a few other questions from today’s session soon.

WordPress Feature: Pending Review

Sample Class Blogs (updated)

by   |  09.09.09  |  Updates

If you’ve never created a blog and aren’t quite sure how it might support your particular classes or teaching style, here are a couple basic ideas from faculty last spring:

  • a class website for basic information, announcements or updates during the semester
  • a repository for documents, reading lists, assignment sheets, presentation slides, or links to articles
  • a collection of media you have created, links to strong content online or on iTunes, or embedded media from websites like YouTube
  • a discussion board for students to respond to material or the work of classmates
    (*ask about privacy settings)
  • a place for students to submit media projects or collaborative work for feedback
    (*ask about privacy settings)

What we learned last semester was that WordPress provides a flexible set of publishing tools that diverse faculty would use in a variety of ways.

While you’re considering how ACU Blogs might serve your needs, here are a handful of class blogs from faculty at ACU and at other universities to give you some idea of the range of possible uses: