The Surmountable Downside

The attribute of a blog that sets it apart from a simple website is that it is designed to accept comments from the readers. Blogs can accept anonymous comments or can restrict who can leave comments in different ways. Since we are looking at using a blog in a classroom, we should be highly concerned about who can edit or comment on the pages children are reading.

Blogger Some blog providers offer different alternatives. Blogger, for example, has a setting where only registered Blogger users can leave a comment. That option is not acceptable since it would mean the teacher would have to setup account id’s for each student. Their other alternative is to set a ‘moderate’ rule for all comments. That means the teacher would have to approve each comment before posting to the site. In a classroom setting, that quickly becomes too tedious for the teacher and delays constructive feedback students can receive from each other.

Edublogs Option#1 One of the great things about Edublogs is that you must enter identifiable information in order to leave a comment. The main identification is a required email address or Edublogs username. Until that day when all students have an email address, we will set up a student account for Edublogs that uses your teacher email account. This is not flawless, but a very workable solution.

First log out of Edublogs and go back to the main Edublogs.org webpage. Follow the directions from my page ‘b- Getting Edublogs Setup’, but this time click the ‘Just a username’ button. Make this username for your students. You can create a user and password that all students will use when they blog in class. The trainable fix is that students must type their name at the end of their comment. Otherwise, nobody will know who left which comments.

Edublogs Option #2 The teacher can approve all comments first, just like the Blogger option. Make your way to your Dashboard and select the ‘Options’ menu and then the ‘Discussion’ tab that shows up underneath. Halfway down the page you will find the following selections.

modcomment

The first choice, much like Blogger, mandates that the teacher approve each comment before posting it on the site. However, by using the last two choices, the teacher can add a level of security and still allow instant posting. The second option states that the commenter must give a name and email. The great thing is that the email isn’t checked and you can have the students use a fake address such as ‘class@email.com’. Designate a single ‘fake’ address that all students will use. You are not using real email addresses and won’t have the security issue of creating email accounts for each child. As for inputting their name, children should use initials or aliases to protect their identity. I’ve seen some schools where students assumed a literary figure’s name for their commenting name. The third choice keeps external commenters out. Since all students are using the same fake email, when the teacher approves comments from that email, all future comments will be posted immediately. If any other user tries to post using a different email address, the comment will be held and the teacher will catch it before it posts.

Obviously, it is imperative that the students do not share the fake email with people outside of the school or classroom, but of course including parents if needed.

Moderating Comments

modercomnting

Using the ‘Comments’ menu shown on your Dashboard, the teacher can see comments that have come through or are waiting to be approved. When the first comment is posted, it will be listed as ‘Awaiting Moderation’. Click the ‘approve’ link below the post and it will be shown under the appropriate teacher post.

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