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With the Student Blogging Challenge beginning next week, let’s take a look at some tips for getting ready and getting the most out of the challenge.

If you’re planning on taking part in the challenge, make sure you have registered either as a class or student.

STUBC Tips and reminders before we begin

Don’t Have A Blog Yet? Check Out These Videos

General video for getting set up

If you’re brand new to blogging and haven’t set up a blog yet, check out this quick start video. You’ll be up and running in 15 minutes!

Setting up My Class

My Class is a tool from Edublogs that makes setting up and managing student blogs easy. In this video, teachers can find out how to get started with My Class in 3 steps.

Find out more about using My Class in this post.

Your Blog Settings

Please take a few moments to go through this checklist to make sure your settings are in order before the challenge.

1) Is your blog public on the web?

To take part in the challenge you need to make sure that visitors can view your blog without signing in.

  • To check this, open your blog in a browser you’re not logged into (or something like Chrome Incognito). Does your blog appear? Or is there a prompt for a password?
  • If your blog is password protected (and you use Edublogs or CampusPress), go to your dashboard > settings > reading. Please select “Discourage search engines from indexing site but allows normal visitors to view” OR if you have a Pro/CampusPress blog you can select “Allow search engines to index this site”
Edublogs/CampusPress users will need to allow one of the top two options to allow visitors (free blogs don't have the
You need one of the public options enabled

Teachers, if you have student blogs set up using My Class, you don’t need to do this individually. In your blog dashboard, go to My Class > Settings and choose one of the public options as per the image above.

Using a different blogging platform?

  • If you’re using Blogger, find out how to change privacy settings here.
  • If you’re using Kidblog, learn how to change your privacy settings here.

2) Can visitors comment on your blog posts?

Some blogs don’t allow comments on posts or pages or they need visitors to log in before commenting.

If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress, go to settings > discussion and ensure you don’t have “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” selected.

Edublogs and CampusPress commenting settings

  • Comments on pages on Edublogs/CampusPress blogs are turned off by default. Some people don’t like comments on pages but if you want people to comment on your pages, you can find out how to enable comments on pages here.
  • If you’re using Blogger, make sure anyone can comment using the Name/URL option (so they don’t need a Google Account). Blogger commenting instructions are here.

3) Are there links to your pages on your blog home page?

Can people see your pages from your blog homepage?

Some Edublogs/CampusPress themes don’t have pages automatically showing up at the top of your blog.

If not, click here for instructions on how to add the Pages widget or Custom Menu widget.

4) Are you a teacher using My Class on a class blog?

If you’re using the My Class Feature with Edublogs or CampusPress, the default number of student blogs shown on the sidebar widget is 10. Increase this number (e.g. to 30) to see all names listed.

This video shows you how to add the Class Blog widget.

Find out how to customize your Class Blog widget here.

5) Have you added the challenge badge to your sidebar?

There is a post showing you exactly how to do this. Click here to go to the badge post.

If you don’t have a sidebar or don’t want the badge there, you might like to include the badge on your About page. Don’t have an About page yet? Don’t worry, we’ll be creating one in the first week of the challenge.

Student Blogging Challenge Badge Participants 2019

6) Do you have at least one post on your blog?

If not, we recommend writing even a short post perhaps explaining a bit about who you are. That way, when you start getting visitors, people will have a post to read and comment on.

Not sure how to publish a post? This guide will help.

Don’t have time? Don’t worry. It can wait until next week.

Tips For Participating

Here are a few tips we’ve gathered from past participants. We’d love you to leave your own advice in a comment.

  • Schedule class time each week for the Student Blogging Challenge. Many teachers find they need an hour as a minimum. Some teachers prefer to set the Student Blogging Challenge tasks as homework, or run a lunchtime/after school club for enthusiastic students.
  • Don’t make it optional. Teachers often remark that when they tried making the challenge optional, they found the participation was minimal. When they made it part of the classroom program, they got a LOT more out of it.
  • Adapt the activities as needed. Each week there is a range of tasks to choose from but you are more than welcome to adapt these to meet the needs and interests of your students or your curriculum goals. You can still submit tasks in our weekly Google Form even if it doesn’t meet the task description 100%.
  • Moderate comments regularly — at least once a week if not once a day. It’s in the comment section where the most powerful learning and connections can take place!
  • Subscribe to our email newsletter to get weekly updates throughout the challenge. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already.
  • Give to receive. If you want to receive comments throughout the challenge and get to know others from around the world, you need to be proactive. Make sure you’re commenting on other student/class blogs, ask questions, and check back to see if the blogger replied to you.
  • Involve parents and the community. Parents and other communities members can be great supporters of student bloggers. Tell them about the challenge and invite them to comment on your classroom blogs or any other participant’s blog! We have a printable handout here that you might like to send home to families.

Any Questions?

Any questions about the Student Blogging Challenge? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you or use this form to contact the team via email.

 

5 Comments

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  1. i’m in middle school now so my old class I can’t join and all the rest of my classes are all full except for right now!

  2. Hi,

    Is it possible to see what the activities are ahead of time?

    • Hi there,
      You can check out the schedule here. As for the activities, we only release them each week as it would be too overwhelming. However, you’re welcome to look back at the archives to see the past activities. Many will be the same.
      Hope that helps!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris
  3. Hello, I signed up as a class, but my students have their own blogs connected to mine. Is this the correct way to sign up or should I have them sign up individually?
    Thank you, Jeanette

    • Jeanette Amador
    • Hi Jeanette,

      Welcome to the October challenge!

      You might like to have your students register themselves individually as well. If you give them the link to this post with the form, they can do it themselves (as long as they can enter the correct URL etc).
      https://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2019/09/15/oct-2019-students/

      During the challenge, if you publish posts on your class blog and student blogs, you’re welcome to submit both in the weekly Google Form too. This should ensure you get the most number of visitors.

      Let’s know if you have any more questions.

      Thanks!
      Kathleen

      • Kathleen Morris