LMS blogs tool guide

The blogs tool in your LMS provides an effective way to share and communicate your thoughts, opinions and understanding on a lesson or topic with your instructor and subject members. You can record and share your analysis, evaluation and research on a topic by creating a blog entry. You can also link files, add images, and embed videos in your blog entry.

Your instructor creates blogs for you to post entries. Depending on how your instructor designs the use of this tool for learning, you may have access to three types of blogs—Subject, Individual and Group. Subject blogs function like common blogs or public blogs in which all subject members can create and post entries. When you access a Subject blog, on the blog page, you can view all entries that every subject member has posted. In addition, all subject members can read and comment on each other's entries. Individual blogs on the contrary, function like private blogs in which each member can create an individual entry. When you access an Individual blog, on the blog page, you only view entries that you created and posted. To read entries posted by your peers, you will need to access their blog page. In Individual blogs, you cannot post on blog pages of your peers. You can read their entries and comment on the entries. A Group blog is available if your instructor enabled the blog tool for your group. In Group blogs, all subject members can read and comment on the entries posted by the group members. However, only members of the group can create and post entries in the blog.

You can refer to this guide for instructions on how to use the blogs tool. Alternatively, click a link on the left menu to read instructions for that function within the tool.

To view and print a copy of this guide, click Download (PDF)

Access the blogs tool

You can access the blogs tool from your subject's navigation menu. Your instructor can also include links for the blogs tool in the content area for your learning materials such as your subject's interactive schedule and activity section in topic packs.

Let us now look at how you can access the blogs tool:

  1. To access the Blogs page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Blogs link.
    The default view of the Blogs page lists all the blog topics that are available to you for posting entries. You can sort the view on this page to list only Subject blogs or Individual and Group blogs. For example, to view a list of your Individual blogs and Group blogs, on the Blogs page, click the down arrow for Display Blogs, and then in the list, click My Blogs. This displays all your Individual blogs and blogs for the group in which you are a member.
  2. To access a blog topic page, on the Blogs page, in the list of blog topics, click the blog topic for which you want to post an entry.Image of the Blogs page with clickable areas highlighted in red
    This displays the blog topic page. The blog topic page is divided into two sections: the content area and the side panel. The content area of the blog topic page displays all the blog entries for that topic. If your instructor created the blog for the purpose of a graded activity, your instructor may include instructions on how to proceed with the activity, timelines for submission, and grading criteria. You can view these details in the Blog Instructions section.

    The side panel includes the Blog Details, author, Grade and Index sections. The Blog Details section specifies the blog type and lists the number of entries and comments in the blog.

    The author section varies for a Subject blog and Individual blog. For a Subject blog, the author section displays the title as All Subject Members and lists all members who posted entries in that blog. For an Individual blog, the author section displays your name as title and lists all members who have created entries for their individual blogs.

    The Grade section will display your blog grade, learner feedback and rubrics if your instructor associated a rubric to your activity.

    The Index section lists all blog entry titles for the current week or month depending on the settings your instructor selects when creating the blog. The title for the most recent blog entry appears first in the Index section.
  3. To view the number of entries and comments in the blog, on the blog topic page, in the upper-left corner of the side panel, click Blog Details. Click Blog Details again to collapse the view and hide the details.
  4. To view a list of subject members who posted blog entries, in the side panel, click All Subject Members. This displays a list of members with the number of entries they posted. To view all subject members who have access to the blog but may not have posted entries, in the All Subject Members list, select the Show Members without Entries check box.
  5. To access entries posted by a specific subject member, in the side panel, click All Subject Members, and then in the list, click the subject member's name.
    For example, to view entries posted by Naomi Brown, in the side panel, click All Subject Members, and then in the list, click Naomi Brown. This displays the blog entry posted by Naomi Brown in the content area of the blog topic page. To return to the blog topic page with all entries, in the side panel, click Naomi Brown, and then in the list, click All Subject Members.Image of a blog topic page with highlights for all the options discussed in this section
  6. To read entries that a subject member posted in their Individual blog, on your Individual blog topic page, in the side panel, click your name, and then in the list click the subject member's name. This displays the subject member's individual blog topic page. Please note, to read an entry within an Individual blog, you must first access an Individual blog topic from the list of blog topics on the Blogs page.Image of an individual blog topic page with the clickable area highlighted in red

Create a blog entry

A blog entry can include a combination of text, images, videos, links, and attachments. In your presentation activities, you will be required to record your presentation, convert it to a video and publish or upload the recorded video to Vimeo. You may then be advised to share your video on your subject blog or your journal. In this section, we will look at the procedure to create a blog entry and embed your Vimeo video in the entry.

The content editor in your LMS includes the HTML Code View function that allows you to insert and edit videos in your posts, messages, and entries. The content editor is the default editing tool and is available across all your LMS tools such as discussion boards, journals, and blogs. You can view and access the content editor functions within the message box when you reply to a post, create a blog or journal entry and send an email message.

The procedure to embed a video in your post, message, blog or journal entry is the same. In this section, we will look at how you can embed a video in your blog entry. However, you can follow these instructions to embed videos in your journal as well.

Let us now look at how you can create a blog entry and if required, embed a Vimeo video in the entry:

  1. To access the Blogs page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Blogs link. You can also access this page from your interactive schedule and topic page content if your instructor included links to the Blogs tool in the content.
  2. To access the blog topic page, on the Blogs page, in the list of available blog topics, click the blog topic in which you want to create an entry.
  3. To access the Create Blog Entry page, on the blog topic page, click Create Blog Entry.
  4. To specify a title for your blog entry, on the Create Blog Entry page, in the Blog Entry Information section, in the Title box, type the title you want to use.
  5. To compose your blog entry, click the text area in the Entry Message box, and then type the content for your entry,.
  6. To view all the content editor functions available to you, in the upper-right corner of the Entry Message box, click the Show More function represented by two down arrows. If you can view all the three rows of the content editor functions, proceed to the next step. Image of the Create Blog Entry page with highlights for all the options discussed in the above steps.

    To incorporate a video in your blog entry, refer to the next step. To simple add files to your blog entry and post it, proceed to step 14.
  7. To share a Vimeo video in your blog entry, in your browser, open a new tab, and then in the browser's address bar, type the URL http://vimeo.com/
  8. To log in to your Vimeo account, on the Vimeo log in page, in the Email Address box, type your email address, in the Password box, type your password, and then click Log in.
  9. To access the videos you uploaded, on your My Feed page, in the group of tabs, click My Videos.
  10. Image of the Vimeo Home page with a red highlight for the location of the My Videos option
  11. To view the embed code for the video you want to embed, in the top-right corner of your video, click the Share Image of the Share icon option. This displays the Share This Video pop-up dialog box.
  12. To copy the embed code for the Vimeo video, in the Share This Video pop-up dialog box, in the Embed box, click the code to select it, right-click the selected code, and then on the right-menu, click Copy.Image of the Share This Video dialog box
  13. To embed your Vimeo video, in your browser, click the Create Blog Entry tab, and then in the Entry Message box, in the third row of the content editor functions, click HTML. This opens the HTML code view window.Image of the Entry Message box with the location of the HTML content editor function highlighted in red
  14. To paste the embed code for your Vimeo video, in the HTML code view window, right-click, and then on the right-menu, click Paste. Next, in the bottom-right corner of the HTML code view window, click Update. After you do so, you will notice that a yellow patch for the embedded video appears in the Entry Message box.Image of the HTML code view window with highlights for the Paste and Update options
  15. To attach any additional documentation for your video, in the Blog Entry Files section, click Browse My Computer, navigate to the location of the file, and then click Open.
  16. To post your entry, on the Create Blog Entry page, click Post Entry.
    OR
    To save your entry as draft for later posting, on the Create Blog Entry page, click Save Entry as Draft. This displays a success message and the View Drafts page that lists the title of the entry you saved as a draft. To return to your blog topic page, in the bottom-right corner of the View Drafts page, click OK.

    Note that the Post Entry, Save Entry as Draft and Cancel options are available at the top and bottom of the Create Blog Entry page for ease of use.

Access draft blog entries

The blog entries that you save as draft are not visible in the content area of the blog page. You can access them through the View Drafts page.

Let us look at the steps you can use to access the entries you saved as draft:

  1. To access the Blogs page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Blogs link. If your instructor makes the Blogs tool links available, you can also access the Blogs page from content areas for your topic packs and interactive schedule.
  2. To access the blog topic page, on the Blogs page, click the blog topic that includes your draft entry.
  3. To access the View Drafts page, on the blog topic page, click View Drafts.
  4. To edit and post your draft, on the View Drafts page, click the title of your draft entry, on the Edit Blog Entry page, make the necessary changes to your entry and then, click Post Entry.

Edit or delete a blog entry

After you post your blog entry, you may want to make a few changes to the description in your entry or probably attach a file, or re-embed a new video with improved sound and picture quality. For all the above purposes, you can edit your blog entry, or probably delete and create a new blog entry. However, you can only edit or delete an entry if your instructor has enabled permissions that allow you to do so.

Let us look at the steps to edit or delete a blog entry:

  1. To access the Blogs page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Blogs link. Alternatively, you can use the Blogs tool links within your subject's interactive schedule and topic pack content if your instructor added these links.
  2. To view your blog entry, on the Blogs page, in the list of available blog topics, click the blog topic that includes the entry you want to edit.
  3. To access the Edit Blog Entry page, on the blog topic page, click the down-arrow to the right of the title for the entry you want to edit, and then on the drop-down menu, click Edit.
  4. To edit your blog entry, on the Edit Blog Entry page, in the Entry Message box, make the necessary changes to the content of your entry.
  5. To delete an embedded video, in the Entry Message box, click to select the yellow patch for the video, and then press the Delete key on your keyboard. Follow the steps on embedding a video to re-embed a video in your entry.
  6. To remove a file you attached to your entry, in the Blog Entry Files section, under Attached Files, click the Mark for removal option corresponding to the file.
  7. To re-post the entry after edits, on the Edit Blog Entry page, click Post Entry.
  8. To delete an entry, on the blog topic page, click the down-arrow to the right of the title for the entry you want to delete, on the drop-down menu, click Delete and then, in the confirmation message box, click OK.

Comment on a blog entry

Irrespective of the type of blog you access—Subject, Individual, or Group, you can read and comment on entries your subject members posted. Comments can include appreciation of their work, an evaluation of their work, suggestions for improvement, or your opinion and understanding about the topic of their work.

You cannot edit a comment you posted. However, if you want to make changes to your comment, you can delete and re-post a comment, provided your instructor enabled permissions that allow you to delete your comment.

When new comments are added for an entry, they appear as a callout to the right of the entry title in the Index section of the side panel. Click the entry title in the Index section to access the entry.

Let us now look at the instructions for commenting on a blog entry:

  1. To access the Blog page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Blogs link. You can also use the links for the blogs tool in your interactive schedule and topic page content, provided your instructor included the links in the content.
  2. To access the blog topic page, on the Blogs page, from the list of available blog topics, click the blog topic that includes the entry you want to comment on.
  3. To access the comment box for an entry, on the blog topic page, navigate to the entry you want to comment, and then in the bottom-right corner of the entry, click Comment. To navigate to an entry in a Subject blog, scroll down to the entry on the blog topic page, or click the entry title in the Index section of side panel. To navigate to an entry in an Individual blog, in the side panel, click your name, and then in the drop-down list, click the name of the subject member who posted the entry. In the list of entries by that subject member, scroll down to the entry you want to comment or click the entry title in the Index section.Image of a blog topic page with the Comment option in a red highlight
  4. To comment on the entry, in the Comment box, type your comment. You can use the spell check and grammar tool to ensure that the sentences in your comment are grammatically correct and all the words are spelt properly. To use the spell check and grammar tool, in the bottom-right corner of the Comment text area, click the tool Image of the spell checker tool icon icon. The Spell Check box includes the Character count section in the bottom-right corner of the text area. This section displays the character count for your comment. Click the arrow for the Toggle Spell Checker option and then, in the drop-down list, select if you want to use US English or UK English.
    To submit your comment, in the Spell check box, type your comment, and then click Submit.
  5. To post your comment on your subject member’s entry, in the bottom-right corner of the Comment box, click Add. You will notice that the total number of comments for the entry in the Comments section is updated to include your comment.
  6. To expand the Comments section and view the comment you posted, in the bottom-left corner of the entry, click the down arrows to the left of Comments. To collapse the view of the Comments section, click the up arrows to the left of Comments, in the bottom-left corner of the entry.Image of the Comments box with highlights for the options discussed in the above steps
  7. To delete the comment you posted, on the blog topic page, navigate to the entry that includes your comment, in the bottom-left corner of the entry, click the down arrows to the left of Comments, and then in the list of comments, click the cross Image for the cross icon icon to the right of your name. To confirm removal of your comment, in the confirmation message box, click OK. Please note that you can only delete a comment you posted if your instructor enabled the permission to delete comments.

View Blog Grades

Depending on how you instructor defines your blog settings, you may be able to view the Grade section in the side panel of your blog topic page. If your instructor associates a rubric to your blog activity and makes it available to you, you can view the Grade section and access the rubric from this section. However, if your instructor made the rubric available only after grading, you can view the Grade section only after your instructor assesses and submits the grades for your blog activity. These settings are defined by your instructor when creating the blog.

You can view the grades for your blog activity in the Grade section of the side panel or on the My Grades page of your LMS. To access your My Grades page, on the Home page of your LMS, in the Tools module, click My Grades.

Let us now look at how you can view your grades for a blog activity:

  1. To access the blog topic page, on your subject's navigation menu, click the Blogs link, and then on the Blog page, click the blog topic that includes the entry you submitted for grading. For an Individual blog type, you will be able to view the Grade section in the side panel after you access your blog topic page. However, for a Subject blog type, you will need to access the page that includes your entries only.
  2. To access the page that includes all your entries, on the blog topic page, in the side panel, click All Subject Members, and then in the list, click your name. This displays a page with all your entries in the content area. The side panel includes learner feedback from your instructor. The Grade section displays your total score for the activity and the associated rubric.
  3. Image of the blog topic page with highlights for the clickable areas
  4. To view the rubric for the activity, in the side panel, in the Grade section, click the View rubric Image of the View Rubric icon icon. This displays the Rubric detail window that includes the grading criteria and your score for each criterion along with the associated feedback. Close the Rubric detail window after you view your scores. You can also view your grades on the My Grades page of your LMS.Image of a blog topic page with the Grade section in the side panel
  5. To access your My Grades page, in the upper-right corner of your LMS page, click your name, and then on the left of the drop-down menu, click the My Grades Image of the My Grades icon icon. Alternatively, on the page header, click My Home, and then on the Home page, in the Tools module, click My Grades.Image of the LMS page with highlights for the clickable areas
  6. To view the grades for your blog activity, on the left side of the My Grades page, from the list of your subjects, select the subject that includes the blog activity, and then on the right side of the My Grades page, in the row header, click Graded. This displays a list of graded items for your subject. In the list, look for the blog topic that included the activity. The scores are displayed against the blog topic. To view the rubric, click View Rubric below the blog topic. If your instructor included feedback, a callout is displayed to the left of the score. Click the callout to view feedback.Image of the My Grades page with highlights for the clickable areas