Campus Pack Blogs

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Add Interactive Tool: Campus Pack Blog

Add Interactive Tool: Campus Pack Blog

Blogs provide an online space for reflective writing and commentary. A blog can be set up for the whole Blackboard course and all staff and students can participate and contribute. Each student can ‘post’ individual entries to the blog and the rest of the class can comment on their posts. In a Blackboard course campus pack blogs can be deployed for:

Course Blog (Single Copy) – A course blog by default which allow all participants (staff & students) on the Blackboard course to add blog entries and comment

Group Blogs (One Per Group) – Campus pack blogs can be created for groups set up in Blackboard.

Individual (One Per Person) – If you would like each student to have a blog that is a private space for them to post and for you to read and comment, the ‘One Per Person’ option is an easy way to create individual blogs for each student and assess them. If you would like each student in the class to have a blog and have other students read and comment on them, then the class-level deployment is the option to go (Single Copy).

Steps on how to create a  course blog (1)  in your Blackboard course as well as one per student on the course or groups of students (2) are outlined below:

(1) Create Campus Pack Blog – Course Blog – Single Copy for students and staff enrolled on the Blackboard course

1. With edit mode ‘On’  in your Blackboard course, locate the area (for example under a course menu item or content area in your course).

2. Select ‘Campus Pack Blog’ from the ‘Tools’ button


3. To create a new blog fill in the details. If you wish to copy from an existing blog select ‘Copy From Existing‘ button, or if you wish to add a shortcut from an existing blog select ‘Add Shortcut‘ or you can choose to import an archived blog from the ‘Import an Archive’ button. These options are available on the far right. newcpblog


3. Enter the details for the blog: Title, Description,


4. Set the Deployment – Single Copy – a blog is for the whole class.

Set the following options if you wish to assess the blog:

Create Grade Book Entry –  Blogs can be set up as graded assignments and assessed from within Campus Pack. The grades will appear in the gradebook in Blackboard. Select this checkbox if this is desired. Please Note that after creating the blog and you wish for a blog to be set up for assessment you won’t be able to set this. You can only set this when first creating a blog.

Entry Name – Enter a entry name that will be the link to enter the blog (this is the same name that will appear in Blackboad’s GradeCenter).

Points Possible – Enter the points possible

Display Grades to students – If you want the grades to be displayed to students select this checkbox


5. Select the Add button. The blog will be added to the content area of your Blackboard course which you and students can access via the blue ‘View’ link to the blog.



On creating a single copy blog for the whole course it will have no blog posts as this course blog has not started. Once posts are added to the blog they will be displayed in the centre part of the screen.


cpsettingsYou could add your first blog post in a course blog. To add a blog entry post select the ‘Add entry‘ button .Before your students begin posting on the course blog you may want to set some settings to the course blog. These configuration settings are available for all blog types.

Blog configuration settings can be set by selecting the ‘Settings’ button on the far right. Tags‘ or keywords associated with blog posts can be viewed from selected the ‘Tags‘ button. Any Recent blog post entries can be selected to view by selecting the ‘Recent Entries‘ button. These options appear under the blog site banner.

Find out more about the Settings Options


2. One per Person and One per Group Blog newcpblogopp

Unlike a single copy blog, group and individual blogs utilise an “Assignment Template”. Each group or individual student will have access to a blog with content that you can add to this template. Deploying a ‘one per person’ or ‘one per group’ blog follows a similar workflow for setting up your course blog however these blogs need to be made available to your students or groups of students as they are not available by default as in setting up a course blog. Before making this available to your students you have the opportunity to set the blog configuration and hence the template for the blog which Campus Pack calls ‘Assignment Template’. Once you have completed steps 1 to 5 above, you will be presented with the dasboard view in individual and group blogs which you as an instuctor can access which allows for an overview of student activity (see ‘Dashboard view’).

Note on terminology- – campus pack refers to blogs, wikis and podcasts as ‘assignments’

In this Dashboard view:

Top Active Assignments: Students or groups have an active blog (have began to add posts) will be displayed here

Un-started Assignments: Students or groups yet with inactive (not started) will be displayed here

Latest Activity: Latest activity in blogs is displayed on the left panel

By selecting an ‘Assignee’ (student) name listed in Active Assignments allows you to view the individual or group blog. As an instructor you can give feedback through the comments button.

6. To configure the blog at this stage select the cog icon ‘ Configuration menu’ blogconfigmenugif the following configuration options will appear:

Subscribe: You can set a blog that allows the particpants to subscribe to the blog and receive email alerts of latest activity.

Assignment Template: Allows you to set Widgets and manage attachments (Note, once students have begun using the template to create their own entries, you cannot make any changes to the template as these won’t be reflected in their blogs). Here you can also set the banner theme for these blogs. Find out more about the ‘Settings‘ option.

Assignment Settings: Allow you to set, Title, Description, Instructions and Blog Image.

Export: Allows you to save the blog as an off-line, as a website, individual pages or an importable archive

7. Once the settings have been set, individual and group blogs need to be made available to students. Select the blue link ‘Click here to make it available‘ located in the left panel. Students or groups of students can now begin their blogs and can access their blogs through the content area that you created.



Leave comment on blog

View Student Blogs

Student blogs can be viewed by selecting the very same link that students will access to their blogs. Once you select this link you will view the instructor dashboard to access student blogs:

By selecting an ‘Assignee’ name listed in Active Assignments allows you to view the individual or group blog. As an instructor you can give feedback through the ‘Viewer Comments’ button. To leave a comment on a blog you will need to select the blog post that you wish to leave a commenr for and select ‘Viewer CommentsTo add a blog entry post select the ‘Add Entry‘ button if you require to respond by a blog post.

View Post History

It’s possible to see a version history of any changes made to a post by the post author. To do this you need to simply select the post and then select the ‘Page History’ (clock icon) icon which appears at the end of the ‘Edited By’ details of the post. Modifications will be ordered with the latest at the top. Unfortunately this view does not give a comparison of whats changed, you will need to view the original and go through the subsequent changes. Students also get this option to view post history.


Assessing Blogs

Blogs can be assessed if you have set this up, activity summary statistics include Total Entries, Total Views, and Total Comments along with a grid of individual student information. The ‘Assessment‘ option from the Settings menu allows you to view and assess blog posts by an individual student and leave a grade and feedback which students can view in ‘My Grades’. ‘My Grades’ is a tool link which you can add to your Blackboard module, this connects to Blackboard’s GradeCenter. This assesment page will list overall statistics for the blog and list all the users that have contributed. In short, to grade a specific student, highlight their name from the list and click on the ‘Evaluate Participant’ option. This will open a page which will list all the blog posts entries and comments that have been added by that user. Select ‘Edit’ to add a grade and leave ‘Feedback’ to the student to view as well as Grading Notes for yourself (if you wish, the latter are not viewed by students).  If you are using the Grade utility you can grade and send feedback to the student. The same procedure applies for individual and group blogs once you have selected the student or group blog from the ‘Dashboard’.


Settings Menu Options

There are several tasks you can do within your blog, journal, wiki and podcast. This includes grading their contributions (blog or wiki), changing viewer/author permissions, subscribing to content changes (via email) and more. These tasks can all be done from within the blog, wiki or podcast content area. The set up of campus pack blogs, journals and wikis are very similar, the campus pack blog is described to show the set-up options. As per ‘Assignment Template’ there are several links at the top panel which permit:

Settings: Changing the look and feel of the blog. The title and description that you enter here will appear in the main blog view. You can also choose to change the blog banner, some choices are provided or you can upload your own image.

Permissions: Set and adjust permissions to the blog. By default, a course blog will give automatic access to all students enrolled to the module to have permission to view all messages and add new blog post messages.

The default permissions set below in a course blog:

Viewers can access the blog and read posts etc. but cannot add new posts.

Authors can access, view and add new posts etc.

Additional views or authors can be added to the blog: Owners (Instructor) can additionally control how the blog is set up etc. By default, all module instructors will be owners and not any enrolled students.

Note: only blog instructors can delete comments – if you want your students to be able to do this you need to give them owner permissions, you can further customise in the permissions tab by selecting the ‘customize’ link against the role profile.

NOTE 1: We advise that you don’t add ‘Everyone in the world’ as viewers to your campus pack

NOTE 2 Campus Pack also offers an Invite by email feature to send a secure invitation to a user outside your institution. If you do make available a ‘site’ viewable to someone outside the institution it is essential that you read the following guides ‘ DMU User Guidelines for the use of technologies in learning and teaching’ to protect your own, the institutions and notify the rights of others who have contributed to and participate in the campus pack site (i.e wiki blog etc).

Widgets – Widgets are items that you can add to your blog to allow for more interaction, to see which widgets are avaialble to use, select the ‘Available’ tab, a list of all the widgets will be displayed and be added by selecting the ‘Add’ button :

Viewer Comments Everyone who can access the content item can comment.

Owner Discussion– Owners can take private notes (visible only to other Owners). So tutors with instructor status could have a private discussion on a blog post etc which the student can’t view

Viewer Feedback – Viewers can leave private feedback for Authors (and Owners) to read. Viewers can not see feedback left by others.

Author Discussion – Only Authors can comment. Use this to have a collaborative discussion within the group of Authors.

Tags – Authors can read and apply tags and Viewers can read them.

Author Tags – Only Authors can read and apply tags.

Categories -Authors can read and apply categories and Viewers can read them.

Author Categories – Only Authors can read and apply categories.

Voting – Viewers can vote on content and view the vote count.

Ratings – Viewers can rate content and view the aggregate rating.


Recycle: Site owners can recycle sites for reuse. Once content is recycled, it may be permanently removed. Exporting a site to maintain an offline backup is recommended. The recycle option may not be available on a system if the institution has policies for managing content.

Subscribe: You can set a blog that allows the participants to subscribe to the blog and receive email alerts of latest activity.

Export: You can choose to export a blog

Assessments: Blogs can be assessed and graded

Attachments: Site owners can manage site attachments through the Attachments link. The initial view will allow you to view all the attachments that have been upload to blog posts. As a instructor there is also the option to ‘view all attachments in this course’. This will list all campus pack sites (blogs,wikis, podcasts etc) in the BB course.

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Setting up individual blogs and allowing students to comment on each others blogs

As has been described above you can set up individual blogs which are private between instructor and student, but other students are not allowed to comment. Individual blogs can be created another way if student interaction is desired for commenting and feedback. To do this you will need to manually create this blog with the student name (this will have to be done for each student that you want a blog for) and leave deployment as single copy. Click on the Permissions link in the Campus Pack Blog to adjust the Author permissions for the site. By default, all students will have author rights to the blog. An adjustment will need to be made to the Author Permissions. Remove “All Students” as Authors of the Blog and locate and add the Student as the Author of the Blog. The instructor is the site owner and will have full access to all blog sites. The rest of the class will have Viewing and Commenting permission (unless changed) for feedback and interaction.

Group and individual blogs look and behave the same as course blogs. The main difference is that in the individual blogs students will be able to view the pages created by themselves, in a group blog those in the group view their pages. Note that for you to be ableto create group blogs that the groups need to be defined first. More about creating groups.

Deleting Campus Pack Blogs

To delete campus pack blogs it is essential that you make these ‘sites’ unavailable in the Blackboard module (and then delete if necessary). This ensures that if a student has a ‘Campus Pack Personal Learning Space’ set up then these sites will not be available to access. If these sites are deleted without setting these to ‘unavailable’ they will appear in a students personal learning space if they are set up and can cause confusion in this space by having ‘redundant sites’.


To delete and make unavailable ‘one per student’ blog and ‘groups’ blog, do the following:

1. Locate the blog in your Blackboard course and with Edit Mode on, against the item right click on the drop down chevron and select ‘Edit’ from the pop-up menu.

2. Make the blog unavailable by selecting the ‘Make site unavailable’ link. The site will now be unavailable for students to access.


Deleting course blogs

For a campus pack course blog

1. Locate the blog in your Blackboard course and with Edit Mode on, against the item right click on the drop down chevron and select ‘Edit’ from the pop-up menu.

2. Select Settings (top)

3. Uncheck the checkbox that states ‘Make Available’

4. Click Save

Doing the above allows you to make you site available at a later stage, therefore it’s not been deleted.

If you wish to further delete, after making the site unavailable, locate in the blogi in Blackboard , right click the chevron and then select ‘Delete’


Note: You can create a course blog and have this as a link from your course menu.

To do this:

1. Hover over the plus sign (+) icon at the top of the Course Menu to show the drop down menu and select Create Tool Link.

2. Enter the name of the link that will appear on the course menu i.e. ‘Course Blog’.

3. Under Type, select ‘Blog Tool’.

4. Check the box next to Available to Users.

5. Click Submit.

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