Blogging tool – WordPress

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WordPress blogging tool integration with D2L

 What is a blog?

A blog is a popular web-based tool allowing people to publish their own posts. They are an engaging communication tool, offered via a number of user-friendly programs e.g. WordPress. The WordPress tool can also be used for evidencing and demonstrating professional capabilities.

Deakin chose WordPress as the preferred blogging platform to integrate into D2L. The platform can be used for assignments, discussions and collaboration to enhance learning activities, ePortfolios, and for a variety of blog types (student blogs, unit blogs and group blogs).

We have included links to additional resources/technical help in the CloudDeakin WordPress blogging tool guide.

How can a WordPress blogging site be used in your teaching?

Blogging can be used as an assessment tool, as a project tool for assignments and to develop digital literacy skills.

The WordPress blogging tool can be integrated into your unit site, similar to other applications e.g. Bb Collaborate. (Please discuss your requirements with your faculty CloudDeakin Support team.)

There are three types of blog sites that can be integrated in your unit site:

  • Site per group: Students contribute to blogs created for sub-groups within a unit of study. Students are assessed based on their group participation.
  • Site per student: Students maintain an individual blog and submit it for assessment in context of a unit of study.
  • Site per unit: Students contribute to an overall blog for their unit of study. Students are assessed based on their participation.

Why?

Blogging can be incorporated in your teaching and assessment to encourage and promote:

  • digital literacy
  • collaboration
  • engagement
  • active learning
  • participation
  • peer and self-assessment
  • critical thinking
  • writing skills
  • social interaction and interactivity.

How to create a blog in your unit site?

The WordPress will only release to units based on request. Please raise a ticket with eSolutions and request the ticket to send to Learning Environments team. Once the WordPress is released to your unit, you are able to use the following steps to create a blog.

  1. In your unit site click theResources link in the site navigation bar.
  2. Go to an existing module or create a new module.
  3. ClickAdd Existing Activities and select Additional Applications. A pop-up window will appear with a choice of three blogs sites.

Site per group: Students contribute to blogs created for sub-groups within a unit of study. Students are assessed based on their group participation.

Site per student: Students maintain an individual blog and submit it for assessment in context of a unit of study.

Site per unit: Students contribute to an overall blog for their unit of study. Students are assessed based on their participation.

 

  1. Once students click on the link you have created, a new page will open in the browser taking them to the WordPress site (either Site per group, Site per student or Site per unit).

Note: Student blog accounts are created once a student logs into their unit for the first time. Until they have logged in (and clicked on the blog link), their names will not appear in the class list. If you go to Students on the Dashboard, you will be able to view all the students have logged in.

screenshot of dashboard in WordPress

How do I set up a WordPress assignment folder?

  1. In your unit site, under Assessments > Assignments
  2. Click New Assignment Folder
  3. Continue setup as per normal. However, you must assign the category WordPress to the folder. This will ensure that it appears within the WordPress site.
  4. Click Save after filling in the other fields.

Screenshot of setting up the WordPress assignment folder

Navigate to the Restrictions tab, from here populate the Start/Due/End dates. Make sure to select the corresponding checkboxes.

Screenshot of Edit Assignment Folder

Students will see the submission screen within their WordPress site.

Screenshot of submission screen

How do students submit their assignments?

  1. In your WordPress site under your site’s ‘Dashboard’, select Assignments.
  2. You will see the Assignment Folder with the WordPress site URLs.

Screenshot of where assignments will be on dashboard

How to access student’s assignments in WordPress?

  1. In your unit site, click on the Assessments tab in the site navigation bar. A dropdown box will appear. Click on Assignments.
  2. The Assignment Folders will open and you will be able to click on the title of the assignment.
  3. Once you click on an assignment, a WordPress link will appear. Copy and paste the link into a browser to view the blog.

Pushing a common theme/template to student sites

Note: This is valid for WordPress – site per student.

  1. Once you have customised your WordPress site, click Students from within your site Dashboard.
  2. Select Use this site as a template for the student sites and click Save.

Screenshot of template option

Note: This action is also not retrospective. Previously created student sites will not have the theme applied (student sites are created upon first login by students).

 

Key WordPress terms

Dashboard: The homepage for editors and administrators. This is where you’ll find information about content (pages, posts, plugins) and recent activity on the website.

Page: The key elements of the WordPress site. Pages have a ‘parent page’ which forms the hierarchy of the pages. Pages are best suited for information that does not need to be updated regularly.

Post: Posts differ from pages as they can have different tags making them easier to search (e.g. category and ‘optional’). Posts are the best option for content that is updated regularly as they are date-specific.

Theme: Themes provide a certain ‘look and feel’ to your site. (Please discuss your requirements with your faculty CloudDeakin Support team.)

Widget: Widgets provide additional functionality that can be added to templates.

Plugin: Plugins provide additional functionality to your site, e.g. forms, visual composer, customising animations, analytics etc.

Technical help

The Copyright Office at Deakin has published a quick guide and a comprehensive guide around the copyright of blogging.

What is the difference between a post and a page in WordPress?

How do you add a new post?

How do you add a YouTube video to WordPress?

Videos looking at why blogging is useful in teaching and the basics of WordPress are available to Deakin staff on Lynda.com (Deakin’s web-based training video provider).

For technical help, please contact Deakin eSolutions (Internal phone ext. 888, or external ph. 1800 463 888) or your faculty CloudDeakin Support team.

Students can get more information from the Deakin Current students site.