Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to protect your students from inappropriate comments getting left on their student blogs

Student blogging can be a lot of fun, but as a teacher, you need to be thinking about student privacy.

  • Yes, it’s fun to let your students create and administer their own blogs. This can be a great media literacy lesson were your students create a variety of media text (i.e. websites) for different purposes and audiences using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques.
  • Yes, allowing your student blogs to go public and get listed on Google can be a really motivating and rich, authentic writing task. After all, seeing your work on Google for the first time can be a lot of fun.
  • But you need to make sure that your student work doesn’t become a open door for strangers and inappropriate spam bots to say hello.

Personally, I use a self hosted WordPress account to set up our student blogs and class websites. Teachers have a few options to allow students to create content online while protecting them from some of the dangers of the internet.

One option is to create a class blog where the teacher moderates all student content. If the teacher is the admin of the site, then they can control which comments get published or seen by students.

A second option is to create a private student blogging network (like Educircles.org) so that each student is the admin of their own blogs and each blog is protected behind a login page.

  • If you have a self hosted WordPress account, then you can install the free More Privacy Options WordPress plug-in to lock down your entire student blog network. (More privacy options is installed on Educircles.)
  • Another option is to install the WPMU Premium WordPress plug-in Multisite Privacy which provides a little bit more control than the more privacy options above. (You can choose which privacy options are available to your students, and you can easily update the privacy settings of your entire site by clicking “update all blogs”)

A third option is to create a public student blogging network and use a WordPress plug-in to prevent external visitors from leaving comments. Let’s talk about the comments and how to keep prevent your students from getting exposed to inappropriate content from visitors leaving comments.

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