Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Started with Blogger and Blog Rolls

I am using blogs in all three of my courses this semester. (By choice, I am not teaching in computer labs--I just can't move around the chairs for group work, and I've never been able to get a focused discussion on a text in a computer lab, but that's just me.) That means getting students to sign up for their blogs is a bit of a challenge, right?

To help the group, I've updated a handout that walks students through this process with a step-by-step guide with screenshots. Feel free to adapt and use this in your classes, too. It's similar to the version of last Fall, but naturally Google has changed some of the steps here. It still requires access to a cell phone to verify a user's identity. You can remind students that they can verify using anyone's cell phone if they don't happen to have theirs with them.

Anyway, good luck with this--I am hoping to get all my students signed up and their blog rolls generated for each class after next week.

P.S. -- My simple PHP script to generate blog rolls from a list of URLs (web addresses) from last Fall is still posted here. It 'scrapes' the name of each blog off a list of students' websites, and it warns if any addresses are incorrect. I think this saves time, esp. since it automates the creation of links within an HTML table, which can be further tweaked if you want. Of course, it doesn't matter where the student blog resides: just provide the web address and you can mix-and-match content from Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress or wherever.... What I have been doing is printing this list out into an Excel spreadsheet, and then distributing it in class and reminding students whose links are broken (or missing) to fill them in. In a week or two, you should have a complete set of blog rolls. This set of links can be cut and pasted wherever you want--currently for us it will be on Blackboard and our course wikis. An accurate blog roll is a must for grading student writing on blog. It allows you to 'click through' to student work to find it--and it solves the problem of students who claim they did the writing, but they didn't get you their addresses. It introduces accountability into the process. ("I see you don't have a blog yet. You should get one as soon as you can. Our blog writing is worth 10% of your course grade," etc.)


  1. Awesome, thanks for sharing the script and blogger handout - will use it.

  2. Thanks for the PHP script and the handout, Rich!

    BTW, what is your experience with students following written instructions to join Blogger? I'm saying because of Luke's post above.