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Clarence's Questions About Blogger

Clarence posted some questions in the comments about the blogging project I did with my students last fall, specifically about using Blogger.

Overall, I really liked using Blogger. It was a little time consuming to set up initially (though not as bad as I'll make it sound) but once we got going, it worked great. I'd say that total process of setting up 16 blogs took about an hour of my time, and then about 10 minutes per group in class. The most time consuming part was creating each blog. I also spent a little time designing a template, though I had some experience from my site. I just used one of the standard Blogger Templates, then took out the navbar (and Next Blog Button!!! directions are here) and some of the other sidebar content. I then added a blogroll to link all the blogs together using Bloglines. (The template is a kind of weird hybrid of CSS, html, and some unique Blogger things. The Blogger help section has a good walkthrough).

I retained the master login for each blog. This allowed me to edit and delete posts at will (though I only had to do this one or two times with 100 students). Once the blogs are created, you can invite others to join through their e-mail. You have the option to give the individuals who join full editorial privileges, or only the ability to post and edit/delete their own posts (I chose the latter). Each student then received an e-mail inviting them to join. They each got their own unique login and password. (When I did the Responsible Blogging Lesson, one of the very few rules I myself added was that individuals were responsible for what was done on their login, so if they shared it with a friend that was at their own risk)

I hope that answers your questions. Please let me know if you have any more.


A Very Untriumphant Return

Man, did I fall off the ball on this front.

I'm really hoping to get back in the habit of posting. I think it will be really helpful and beneficial for me as I start my grad school program (orientation is Tuesday).

Since moving to New York, I've felt very disconnected form my experiences as a teacher in Virginia. I think I took the easy way out in not thinking about a lot of things from the end of the year and just focused whole-heartedly on establishing my life here with my fiancee (which has gone very well). One important lesson I learned was it's probably not a good idea to publish a whole list of things I'm planning on writing about...feel like a bit of jackass for that now. I'm sorry to anyone who was looking forward to reading about those things.

Part of me was ready to just leave this blogging experiment behind, but the heckling I got in the comments wouldn't let me do that. So I will try to wrap up some loose ends before I start class after Labor Day. (Clarence, answering your question is the #1 thing on my to-do list for Monday...thanks for the kick in the butt I needed to get back writing)

It has been a great summer though. Had a great trip to LA to visit my best friend from college (with a weekend road trip to Vegas) and another great week on Cape Cod with my fiancee's family. Otherwise I've been spending my time in NYC taking advantage of all the free offerings of the city during the summer. I've seen some great concerts (highlights were Wilco, Clap Your Hands Says Yeah, and Neil Diamond with my mom for her birthday last weekend at MSG). I've also had time to read a ton. Been averaging a book a week or so. Most interesting was probably Fast Food Nation. That, followed up with finally seeing Super Size Me, has eliminated fast food from my life.

I moved into my own apartment last week. It's the first time (and last time) in my life I've lived alone. So far I'm really enjoying it.

I hope everyone has been having good summers. Good luck to everyone returning to the classroom as students or teachers.