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A blog is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended to share with others. Most blogs also have a commenting feature, so that people can respond to one another's thoughts. Blogs encourage students to clearly express their ideas. Blogs also address the need to expand various aspects of social learning. From the instructor's point of view, blogs are an effective means of gaining insight into students' activities and provide a way to share the knowledge and materials collected.
In Blackboard Learn, instructors create and manage blogs, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them. Similar to journals, you can use blogs for a graded assignment or gather opinions and information without assigning a grade.
Types of blogs
Blogs consist of two elements:
- Blog entries: Text, images, links, multimedia, social media, and attachments added by course members.
- Comments: Remarks or responses to blog entries made by other course members, including the instructor.
You can allow students to participate in blogs in three ways:
- Course blogs: You can create a course blog and choose the topic. All course members can add blog entries and comment on blog entries.
- Individual blogs: Students can add entries only to their own blogs. All other course members can view and add comments to it.
- Group blogs: If you enable the blogs tool for a group of users, they can perform these tasks:
- Group members can add blog entries and make comments on blog entries, building upon one another.
- All course members can view group blogs, but non-group members can only add comments.
You have full control over all blogs in your course. You can edit and delete entries in any of the blog types. You can also delete user comments.
Create a blog topic
You must create blog topics before students can add their entries. A blog topic helps keep entries organized around a central theme. You can create more than one blog topic for students to add entries about different subjects.
- Go to Control Panel > Course Tools > Blogs and select Create Blog.
- Type a name and optional instructions. Make the blog available to students.
- Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Display restrictions don't affect the blog availability, only when it appears.
- In the Blog Participation section, decide if the blog is for individuals or the course. You may also allow some anonymous posting.
- 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.
- In the Grade Settings section, select No grading or the Grade option and type the number of Points possible.
If you set the points possible to a non-whole number, letter grades may not be assigned correctly.
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. The blog is permanently gradable, and you can't change the setting to No grading.
- If you want, select the check box for Show participants in needs grading status and select the number of entries required. If you apply this setting, the Needs Grading icon will show in the Grade Center. The entries will appear in the queue on the Needs Grading page after student activity meets this threshold.
- Add a rubric if you want.
- Select Submit.
The blog topics appear in alphabetical order on the Blogs page. Select a column title to sort the contents.
You can also add links to blogs in course areas, such as content areas and folders.
Blog topic page
Access the blog topic page in these ways:
- In the Blogs tool, open a blog and select a user from the All Course Members menu.
- On the Needs Grading page, select Grade All Users in a blog's menu.
- In the Grade Center, locate the column for the blog you want to grade. Hover over a cell with the Needs Grading icon to access the blog’s menu. Select Grade User Activity.
The blog topic page is divided into two main sections. In the content frame, you can view the blog entries. In the sidebar, you can view information about the blog topic or entry. You can expand the Index and grade the blog entry if the blog is gradable. You can select an individual user’s name to view the entries alone in the content frame.
If you don't see the grading feature in the sidebar, your institution hasn't turned this feature on.
- Select Create Blog Entry to add your thoughts, or View Drafts to see your saved unpublished blogs. Blog Instructions are expanded by default, but you can minimize them. Select Alignments to add alignments.
- In the sidebar, you can expand the Blog Details section to display information about the current selection, including the author and number of entries and comments. Select the right-pointing arrow to collapse the sidebar for more viewing room for entries. Select the four arrows icon to view the blog entries in full screen.
- For All Course Members, select the down-pointing arrow to view a list and select a member. The selected member’s entries appear in the content frame. Optionally, select Show members without entries. Use the left- and right-pointing arrows to navigate to the previous or next student.
- The Index section displays the titles of the entries created during the selected time period. Select the minus sign to collapse the title list. For graded blogs, icons designate the status of a user’s activity. The Needs Grading icon indicates that a user has met the minimum activity for grading you set for the blog. The In Progress icon appears when a user has some activity but hasn't yet met the minimum number required to trigger needs grading status. In the grading sidebar, provide a grade and feedback for a student.
Create blog entries
You 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, after 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.
- On the Blogs listing page, select a blog title.
- On the blog's topic page, select Create Blog Entry.
- Type a title and entry.
- If enabled and appropriate, select the check box for Post Entry as Anonymous.
- Select Browse My Computer to upload a file from your computer. You can also attach a file from the repository: Course Files or the Content Collection.
Drag files from your computer to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. If your browser allows, you can also drag a folder of files. The files will upload individually. If the browser doesn't allow you to submit your work after you upload a folder, select Do not attach in the folder's row to remove it. You can drag the files individually and submit again.
You won’t be able to drag files to upload if your institution uses an older version of Blackboard Learn.
You can use the file name or provide another name for the file.
- Select Post Entry to submit the blog entry or select Save Entry as Draft to add the entry later.
Watch a video about blogs
The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.
Video: Create and edit blog entries explains blogs.
View blog drafts
To view or add to saved drafts, select View Drafts on the Blogs listing page.
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 selecting the X. Users can't edit their comments after posting.
- On the Blogs listing page, select a blog title.
- Select a user’s name in the list in the sidebar to view a blog entry. The entry opens in the content frame.
- Select Comment below the user’s entry and type a comment.
- If enabled and appropriate, select the check box for Comment on Entry as Anonymous.
- Select Add.
- To view all comments, select the numbered Comments link.
Edit and manage blogs
You can edit basic properties of a blog topic, including the name, instructions, availability, and other settings. You can edit any user's blog entries and delete blog topics and comments.
After you designate a blog topic for individuals or the course, you can't change it. Also, after you designate a blog as graded, you can't change a blog back to ungraded.
On the Blogs page, access a blog's menu and select Edit. Make your changes and select Submit.
Delete a blog
If you no longer need a blog, you can delete it. The delete action is permanent and irreversible.
If a blog is gradable, the Delete Confirmation page appears. You need to perform extra steps to remove a gradable blog.
- On the Blogs listing page, open a blog's menu and select Delete.
- Select OK in the pop-up warning. If the blog is gradable, the Delete Confirmation page appears. You have two options:
- Retain Grade Center column (do not check any boxes): The blog is deleted, but the Grade Center column and scores you have assigned are retained. For example, all student entries are graded and you want to keep the Grade Center column for the final grade calculations. If you delete a blog, yet retain the Grade Center column, you can delete that column from the Grade Center at any time.
- Delete Grade Center column (select which ones to delete using the check boxes): The grade column in the Grade Center and the blog are deleted. For example, if you don't want to include the grade column for the blog entries in the final grade, you can safely delete all.
- Select Remove to complete the deletion.
Add a blog link to the course menu
You can add a link to the course menu for instant access to the blogs tool. You can also customize the name of the link.
- Select the plus sign above the course menu. The Add Menu Item list appears.
- Select Tool Link and type a Name for the link.
- From the Type list, select Blogs.
- Select the Available to Users check box.
- Select Submit.
Troubleshoot blog management
- If you delete a blog while users are posting, the blog and all comments are deleted.
- If you make a blog unavailable while users are posting, the blog remains visible to you in Edit Mode but doesn't appear to users.
- If you change the Allow Users to Edit and Delete Entries setting, entries remain, but users can't edit them.
- If you change the Allow Users to Delete Comments setting, comments remain, but users can't delete them.
- If you enable blog grading, you can't change this setting. Delete the blog and the Grade Center column to remove it. If you need the blog entries, but not the grades, you can decide not to include the Grade Center column for the blog in Grade Center calculations.