Documentation for Blog Administrators

As blog administrators, you can customize many aspects of your blogs–from how it looks, what widgets are available, to who can read, publish posts and make comments–from your blog dashboard.  To help you get started, we list the most frequently adjusted features below. For other settings, see the complete User Guide or email academictech@uchicago.edu for assistance.

Site Title: Settings > General Settings

  • Default Class Blog Title:  Department, Course Number (Quarter Year) e.g. MUSI101 (Winter 2015)
    We strongly recommend that you include your department and course number in the course title to make it easy for students who might have multiple blogs easy to find your blog.

Blog Privacy: Settings > Reading > Site Visibility

Blog privacy settings controls who can view your course blog.

  • Default Blog Privacy:
    • Class Blogs: Only those enrolled in your class blog can view it by logging in with their CNetIDs and passwords.
    • Personal Blogs: Discourage search engines from indexing this site. You can change it to allow search engine after you have finished customizing your site.
  • Here is a list of possible privacy settings:
    • To allow only those in your class to access your blog, select “Only registered users of this blog can have access
    • To allow anyone with a valid CNetID to access your blog, select “Visitors must have a login
    • To allow anyone with the blog URL to access your blog, select “Discourage search engines from indexing this site
    • To make the blog public and indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, select “Allow search engines to index this site
    • To require anyone with the blog URL enter a password to view your blog, select “Anyone that visits must first provide this password” and enter a password.

User Access: Users

Roles: Personal blog owners (in personal blogs), instructors and TAs (in class blogs) are given the role of blog administrator, which allows them to modify blog settings and moderate posts and comments.  Students (in class blogs) are given the role of authors by default, which allows them to write and publish blog posts. View a comparison chart of the 5 possible roles.

To grant authoring access to individuals yourself, ask them to go to voices.uchicago.edu and log-in with their CNetIDs. Then go to your blog’s Dashboard > Users > Add New. Under Add Existing User, enter the individuals’ CNetIDs, and assign the role of Author.  (Do NOT use Add New Users, as users will not be able to log-in with their CNetID and password.)

Class Blog Enrollment: Contact academictech@uchicago.edu to batch enroll students for your class blogs.

Commenting: Settings > Discussion Settings

Commenting settings controls who can comment on blog posts and how many email notifications blog administrators receive when comments are made.

  • Default Commenting Settings: Only those enrolled in your class blog/registered for your blog can comment.
    The name of the commenter will be displayed at the top of the comment. For class blogs, this ensures you know which of your students commented, and hold them accountable for their speech. You can view a list of comments each student made for grading purposes by clicking the “Comments” link on the left dashboard.
    For both class and personal blogs, we strongly recommend that you selectUsers must be registered and logged in to comment” to prevent spam comments, even if you open your blog to search engines.
  • Default Email Notification: Blog administrators will receive email notification when a comment is held for moderation. This usually happens when a comment contains 2 more links and could potentially be spam.You can choose to receive emails whenever “anyone posts a comment” by selecting the corresponding check box.
  • Comment Moderation: You can include a list of moderated words–words often used by spammers. Comments that contain one or more words on this list will be held in the moderation queue. Blog administrators must approve these comments before they are posted. By default, blog administrators will be emailed whenever a comment is held for moderation.

Themes: Appearance > Themes

Blog administrators can change how their blog looks by going to Appearance > Themes and select a theme. Clicking Live Preview allows you to preview your site in that theme. Clicking Activate will apply the select theme to your site.

Site Analytics: Settings > Google Analytics

If you wish to obtain site analytics such as number of page views, you will need to set up Google Analytics. The service is free. To do so, go to Settings > Google Analytics and follow the instructions there.  Note: Google Analytics may not work properly if your site requires log-in with a password.

Other Features

Displaying Truncated Version of Blog Posts

To display truncated version of blog posts on the blog home page, you need to:

  1. Go to Settings > Reading > For each article in a feed, show, and select Summary.
  2. Ask your students to insert “Read More” tag in appropriate places in their blog posts.

Displaying a List of Blog Posts

There are a number of ways to display a list of blog posts:

  • The Recent Posts widget display the most recently published posts. You can adjust the number of post listed under Appearance > Widgets.
  • The Archives widget provides links to monthly archive of your posts. For example, clicking on January 2015 archive link displays all your posts written in that month.
  • Clicking on the link to an author displays all the posts written by that author.
  • The Categories or Tag widget allows you to click on a link and display all the posts with that particular category or tag. You can use this feature to create customize lists of posts.

Displaying Images as an Image Gallery

To display images in an image gallery, you need to

  1. Activate the Jetpack plug-in for your blog.
  2. Enable one or more of the following features according to your needs:
    • Slideshow Embeds – Display images in a post or page as a slideshow where they are shown one at a time or as a thumbnail grid.
    • Tiled Galleries – Tiled galleries only work if the privacy settings for your blog is either “Allow search engines to index this site” or “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” in Settings > Reading. It displays all images in a gallery as a grid on a post or page.
    • Extra Sidebar Widgets – Display image slideshow on the sidebar (as oppose to the main content area).
    • Carousel – Allows users to click on the images and view them full screen with comments and photo metadata.
  3. In Add Media, choose the appropriate gallery option. Follow the instructions provided in the links above.

Plugins

Plugins extend and expand the functionality of your blog.  Visit the Plugins page for more information on how to activate and set up and a list of frequently used plugins in academic blogs.