Instructors can use blog writing assignments as another medium for reflective learning.  With this type of assignment, students are expected to display their research, analytical, and communication skills through a series of commentaries meant for the entire class to see and comment.

In the course environment, only enrolled users can view blogs. Instructors can use blogs for a graded assignment or gather opinions and information without assigning a grade.

You can create one or more blogs for use by students. You must create blog topics before students can add their entries.

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How to Create a Blog

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and click Blogs.
  2. On the Blogs listing page, click Create Blog on the action bar.
    Create Blog
  3. On the Create Blog page, type a name and optional instructions. Make the blog available.
    Blog Settings
  4. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Display restrictions do not affect the blog availability, only when it appears.
    Display Restrictions
  5. In the Blog Participation section, decide if the blog is for individuals or the course. Individual Blogs are blogs where each course user as their own blog area that only they can post to. All users can read and comment on each others posts.  A Course Blog can be accessed by all users, and entries may be added by all users. A Course Blog will show posts one below the other by all users within the month or week. You may also allow some anonymous posting.
    Blog Participation
  6. In the Blog Settings section, select Monthly or Weekly Index Entries. Optionally, select check boxes to allow users to edit and delete entries, or delete comments.
    Blog Index Settings
  7. In the Grade Settings section, select No grading or the Grade option and type the number of Points possible. Points possible will apply to one or more entries made by a user to the blog topic. After you enable grading, a column is created automatically in the Grade Center. It is permanently gradable, and you cannot change the setting to No grading.
    Grade Blog Settings
  8. Optionally, select the check box for Show participants in needs grading status and from the drop-down list, select the number of entries required. Applying this setting will show the needs grading icon in the Grade Center and place the entries in the queue on the Needs Grading page after the specified number of entries are made.
    Grade Settings
  9. You can add a Rubric if you are using one for grading.
  10. Click Submit. Submit
    NOTE: The blog topics appear in alphabetical order on the Blogs listing page. You can sort columns by clicking the column title.

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How to Create Blog Entries

Instructors and your students create blog entries and other course members can make comments on the entries. As the instructor, you can use blog entries to provide structure for discussions on class topics and other issues.  On the Blogs listing page, following each blog title, students can see if the blog belongs to a group, the course, or to individual students. All course members can read group blogs, but to make an entry, a user must be a group member.

  1. On the Blogs listing page, click a blog title.
    Click on Blog Name
  2. On the blog’s topic page, click Create Blog Entry on the action bar.
    Create Blog Entry
  3. On the Create Blog Entry page, type a title and entry.
    Blog Entry Info
  4. If enabled and appropriate, select the check box for Post Entry as Anonymous.
  5. Optionally, browse for a file to attach.
    Blog Entry Files
  6. Click Post Entry to submit the blog entry or click Save Entry as Draft to add the entry later.
    Post Entry Button
  7. To view or add to saved drafts, click View Drafts on the action bar on the Blogs listing page.
    View Drafts

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How to Comment on a Blog Entry

Because blogs are meant to be read by others, students can comment on one another’s blog entries in individual, course, and group blogs.

You decide if users may make anonymous comments and delete them. As the instructor, you can delete any user’s comment by clicking the X. After they are posted, users cannot edit their comments.

  1. On the Blogs listing page, click a blog title.
  2. On the blog’s topic page, select a blog to view by clicking the user’s name in the sidebar in the All Course Members drop-down list. The user’s blog entries open in the content frame.
    All Course Memebers
  3. Click Comment following the user’s entry and type a comment. Click Add. Click the numbered Comments link to view all comments.
    Add Comments

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How to Grade Blog Entries for Individuals

You can begin the grading process for blogs from the Grade Center, the Needs Grading page, and the Course Tools section in the Control Panel. While specifying blog settings, if you did NOT select the Show participants in needs grading status box and select a minimum number of entries, the needs grading icon will not appear in the Grade Center, on the blog topic page, and items do not appear on the Needs Grading page.

  1. Access the blog topic page and select the blog entry or entries to grade. The user’s blog entry or entries open in the content frame.
    Student name
  2. Type a point total in the Grade box. If you associated a rubric for this graded blog, expand and complete the rubric. To edit an existing grade, click in the Grade box and change the grade.
    Grade Blog
  3. Optionally, type Feedback for the student. In the Add Notes section, make notes that appear only to you and the grader role. You can also use the spell check function in the bottom of each text box. The icon for click to open full content editor gives you access to all the content editor functions.
    Blog Feedback
  4. Click Submit to add the grade, feedback, and grading notes to the Grade Center.

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Group Blog Grading

On the blog topic page, you can read all the entries for a group blog and add one grade. Users with entries that need grading are indicated with the needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—in the Grade Center and on the blog topic page in the All Group Members drop-down list. In addition, the group blog is listed on the Needs Grading page.  If you haven’t yet set up groups, which will allow you to create a group blog, you can find groups information here.

  1. On the group blog page, the grading sidebar appears, listing all group members.
    Group Blog

When you add a grade for a group blog, the grade is automatically given to all members of the group and is populated in the corresponding column in the Grade Center for each group member.  All members are assigned a grade, regardless if a member did not contribute, although you can change this grade. Students can view their group blog grades in My Grades and in the group blog by selecting their names in the All Group Members drop-down list.

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