New Features! Private Comments and Group Lists

We’re happy to roll out two new tools that we think are huge for student and course blogging.

These features are available now on both free and Pro Edublogs and will be added to all CampusPress networks next week.

Let’s jump into it!

Private Comments and Feedback

Teachers can now leave private comments for students – perfect for detailed feedback.

When reading a post in our ‘Reader’ tool in your dashboard, you’ll see a new check-box in the comments section.

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Private comments can only be created and read by those that can edit the post. This means blog admins, teachers, editors, and the author of the post. Private comments will show up in the feed of other comments in the ‘Reader’.

readerpending

Unread private comments will appear under the “Pending” link in the reader too. There will be a notification number alerting you that a private comment needs to be read.

Group and Class Lists

This is ideal for those of you that teach more than one class and are looking for ways to organize all of your students’ blogs. You will be able to see a live feed of all posts from blogs in a list as they are published. Here is how the lists I made look:

readerlists

Making your own lists is easy. Here’s how:

1. Click on the “Create new list” button in the bottom right corner of your dashboard.

readercreate

2. Give your list a name. You can edit this name later.

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3. Then add in the sites you want added. You can paste the full URL of the site, like theedublogger.edublogs.org.

4. Click ‘Create‘.

Make as many lists as you want.

Lists can be used for much more than just to organize student blogs. For example, groups, projects, or just keeping track of your favorite edubloggers all in one place!

Other Reader Features

There is a lot that the ‘reader’ tool can do that you may not be aware of. Here are just a few examples:

Easy Moderation

Do you approve student posts and comments? If so, make sure to use the “Pending” link to help you do so in a quick and easy way, without needing to click through to all of your students’ blogs.

Mobile Friendly

Login to your blog’s dashboard on a phone or tablet, right in any web browser, and you’ll be able to use the same features as on your desktop. This means you can keep track of student activity, reply to comments, moderate posts, and more from anywhere.

Search By Author, Title, Category, or Tag

Ask your students to add a common tag to their posts. Much like they would use a twitter hashtag.

Then, use the search in the reader to pull all posts using that tag. This is great for projects between classes, or when global events or activities take place like Poetry Month, sporting events, and more.

It is important to note that only posts from public blogs will show up in search results :)

RSS Feeds

Want to follow your students’ blogs in an RSS feed reader? Or perhaps create a flipboard magazine of posts in a list you have made?

Click the orange ‘RSS’ icon at the top of the reader and a private feed, just for you, will be created for whatever you are looking at. There’s lots of cool stuff that can be done with this, and be on the lookout for a more detailed follow up post!

What’s Next?

As always, we’ll continue to work hard to bring you new tools and features.

Let us know in the comments below if there is anything you’d like to see!

What new features would YOU like to see?

As of today, we have over a dozen excellent and popular plugins available to Pro and Campus blogs!

After listening to feedback from recent user surveys, and in line with our commitment to providing the most useful and powerful educational blogging experience in the world, we are working on adding even more plugins in the near future.

newfeatures3

A few possibilities on the horizon include improved podcasting, the ability to accept PayPal payments and donations, Facebook integration, and calendar management.

We would love to hear what you have to say about all of this!  Do you think you would use any of these plugins?

More importantly, do you have any specific requests for us to look into?

We would love to hear your comments below!

Unveiling 33 new themes – and new theme features all round…

PremiumThemesYou may have noticed recently that there are a lot more options when it comes to themes to use on Edublogs.

We now have a whopping 137 themes to choose from, including 33 new snazzy themes available to Pro users.

And alongside that, we’ve added new features to almost every single theme – including threaded comments, extra custom headers and plenty more besides.,

To see the new great looking themes, click on the “Premium Themes” link in your Dashboard.

We’ll be featuring various themes over the next few weeks, and talking about how you can utilize the new features, but for the moment you might particularly like:

Autofocus photo blogging theme
Autofocus photo blogging theme

Autofocus automatically creates a beautiful front page based on photos (or other images you upload) to your posts.

A theme full of detail
A theme full of detail

Color paper provides you with a colorful and interesting new interface for your blog.

A clean, professional look
A clean, professional look

PrimePress is everything you want well styled, customizable, fresh looking blog.

In addition, more of the themes now include the ability to upload a custom header image and they all now allow comments on pages.

And, of course, one Pro user can turn on all of these themes for up to 50 of their students, just by entering their details on the ‘Disable Ads’ section.

More tips, highlighted themes, and news about feature enhancements on their way soon… stay tuned!

Check Out The Cool New Features Under The Bonnet Of Edublogs

We’ve got some big plans for Edublogs.org for 2010 — including cool new features.

So to kick start the New Year we’ve just installed these new features on Edublogs!

Users menu structureAdd New Users

This is a nice simple feature, but very powerful tool for creating and adding new users to your blog in batches of up to 15 users.

This is the fastest way to add students quickly to your class blog — if they don’t have a username.

Add New User page

Off course this means there’s now four tools that create usernames slightly differently so here’s a quick summary of their differences.

Summary of difference between tools

Limiting who see comments in dashboard

You told us you didn’t want students who are contributors or authors seeing unapproved or spam comments — to prevent younger students from seeing inappropriate comments.

So we’ve:

  1. Removed the Recent Comments module from the dashboard of contributors and authors
  2. Made it so they can only see approved comments on their comments page

Now they can’t see any comment until you’ve approved it!

Giving Contributors ability to upload media

You want to moderate all student posts by making them a contributor but that’s been annoying you because contributors can’t upload media such as images, videos….

Add media icons

Problem solved!

We’ve adjusted the role of contributors so they can now upload their own media and you can review their posts before publishing them!

My Blogs

Sick of the endless searching for your students dashboard on your My Blogs page?

We heard your pain….and transformed your one column into four!

New My Blog Page

Clicking That Pesky File URL

Been caught out by remembering to click on File URL before Insert into Post when you’ve been uploading audio, video etc files to your posts?

Yes it’s driven us crazy too so we’ve done a quick patch to solve the problem….now you don’t need to remember as it does it for you!

Free Trial Of Edublogs Campus

Heaps of schools, districts and Universities are taking advantage of our 30 Day free trial of Edublogs Campus, get in touch with us any time to start yours!

Find Out More About Our Free 30 Day Trial


(This is a "Page")Features

Experiment with contemporary, customisable themes

pretty themesEdublogs offers over ninety themes showcasing the very best in design. They’re slick, fully accessible, entirely standards based and we’re adding to them all the time. What’s more, bloggers can customise every sidebar using the Widget system, insert their own headers into many themes (through our simple in built cropping system) and even select the look and feel for those with alternative CSS displays.

Simply embed videos, podcasts, images and a whole lot more

embed videos, audio and more

You wanted features? We’ve got features! All posts are automatically spell-checked, auto-saved (so you never lose that post you’ve been working on for hours) come with a complete feature rich editor (with optional plain text view), allow for simple uploading of images and other files, are podcast ready and have automatic YouTube, Google Video and more video insertion devices… and that’s just a selection. Phew!

Import from other blogging sites – or export back to them.

import or export with easeDo you already have blogging sites up at places like Blogger, TypePad or LiveJournal? It’s not in the least bit difficult for you to import whole swathes of blogging goodness straight into your Edublogs blogs. There are simple step-by-step instructions in and if you want to export back to them – we’ve got that covered too… not that you’d ever want to of course. Or, you can just use the export feature to back up your blog.

Great support and community

support videos coming out of our earsWe’re committed to providing not only technical support but also the kind of pedagogical support and conversation that turns great technology into great teaching and learning. In addition to our training videos, handouts and FAQs you’re invited to participate in the Edublogs Forums where you can share hints and tips, ask questions and get answers and connect with other Edublogs educators.

These are not just blogs you know…

wordpress.org logoEdublogs is built on WordPress technology and that means you get a lot more than just a blog. As well as being able to post, your users can also create static pages (great for eportfolios!) manage comments in incredible detail, set static front pages, password protect individual posts and create powerful muti-tiered and complex websites… without ever needing to know one iota of html.

It’s not (just) the technology, it’s the pedagogy too

person teachingBecause Edublogs is made by educators, for educators, we know about how you can effectively use blogs in teaching and learning. We’re here to provide resources, discussion and suggestions for how you can use Edublogs and we’re always adding to them and working on our methods. Thinking of eportfolios, collaborative classwork, online journaling, discussion or problem-based learning? So are we!

features

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edublogs.org provides free, fully functional WordPress blogs hosted on our dedicated top-of-the range server. With these you can create individual posts in a traditional blog-style, pages of static content indexed in your sidebar and select from any number of themes to give life to your new blog.

wpex3.gif In addition to this you can upload up to 25MB of images, audio, documents, powerpoints or other digital material you want to share. Posting these is as simple as dragging and dropping them to your posting window.

And of course you can link to or bring in any larger audio or image files that you uplaod anywhere else on the web, such as ourmedia.org – so you can have that 20 MB podcast up and running in no time :)
wpex4.gifThematically you’ve got an awful lot of choices too. Currently we offer over 60 different (and rather cool) themes at edublogs.org and we’re adding more all the time. What’s more, many of these themes will allow you to edit the header, decide which pieces of content you want in your sidebar and generally rock your world.

And that’s not all, there’s a comprehensive (the most comprehensive) link manager, complete control over comments, choices about the number of posts to display on your front page and in your feed, profiles, plugins to fix you up with tools like Google Analytics to get your web stats, multi-user and group blogging simply done through the use of the ‘Users’ area and plenty plenty more besides!

So what are you waiting for, create your new edublog now and get posting!

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