Ideas, examples, questions, confusions about using weblogs in education

Using the “Entry Status”

I added an “entry status” field to the publish form.

By default this is set to “open” which means when you submit the form the page will appear on the website. If this is what you want to happen, you can ignore it.

However, if you work on a post and don’t finish it and don’t want to publish it, but also don’t want to lose the work you’ve done, change this status to “closed” and then submit the post.

It won’t appear on the website, but it will be on the “edit” page with all the other posts. You’ll be able to edit it from there. It works like a “save” but it’s only saved on the control panel, not on the website that the public sees.

Be sure to submit the post, though. If you leave the publish page without submitting your work, you’ll lose it all.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 09/15 at 09:35 PM
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2004 Montana Heritage Project

The Future of Expression Engine

One of the reasons I selected Expression Engine for this site is that the developers, who have a good track record, are planning future modules which I believe will be very helpful to us.

One of these is a “community weblog” which will allow individual members to create their own blogs quickly and easily and begin blogging without an administrator needing to create each blog. This would allow each student to have his/her own blog. A teacher could subscribe to these blogs using RSS feeds, so that new content from the student blogs would appear on the teacher’s blog, without having to search for it. Here’s a simple introduction to educational weblogs and RSS feeds, and how together they might make school a different sort of enterprise.

But this functionality isn’t available yet.

My plans for this year were to get teachers familiar with this blog--how to post assignments, small articles, lesson plans--and how to have a few students post to our online magazine and our sixties expedition.

I’m especially interested in hiring 3 or so teachers who want to maintain a blog on some topic of interest to heritage teachers or students--finding and linking to good resources in documentary photography for the classroom, maintaining a discussion of Montana literature, monitoring how project-based educators respond to NCLB, journaling about using Windows media player as the platform for student projects, or something such. I’m thinking two or three hours of blogging a week for about $50/week.

If you have ideas for such a column, comments to this post would be a good place to begin developing them.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 09/12 at 01:37 PM
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2004 Montana Heritage Project

Posts will be public


I’ve done more research on your question.

I’ve turned on the “status” field (in the Chester blog), so now you will see it on the publish page, over on the right side of your screen. By default it is now “closed” so anything you post on the Chester blog will not appear on the web page, but it will appear in the control panel under the “edit” tab. When you change the status from “closed” to “open” it will appear on the web page.

Your students will not be able to change this status.

To get a better idea of the way permissions work, I’ve created a “member” with username=bogus and password=phony. This member is assigned to the “Chester Heritage Reporter” group, which is where your students will be assigned.

If you log off as you and then log back on as “phony” you’ll see that your students will see a different control panel than you do. They will not have a choice of blogs to post in, but only the one they have permission to post in, which is the chester web site. Also, though they can see the status box, which is set to “closed” they cannot change it to “open.”

I should add that though you can restrict access to pages based on whether the person is logged on or not, I don’t yet have the skill to set this up, and I’m not sure when I will be able to figure it out. For now, once you have set a post to “open” everyone on the web will see it. When it is set to “close” you’ll be able to see it in the control panel under the “edit” tab, but it won’t appear on the web site.

To see what’s involved, you can look at the Expression Engine support page here

If you want to have a closed forum, you might be better off with a discussion board rather than a blog. I think it’s important to think of the blog as a publishing forum. Informal and conversational, but still published, and hence a place to take care.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 09/12 at 12:05 AM
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2004 Montana Heritage Project
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