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 A Blog is an electronic diary, whose individual entries are displayed in chronological order. The newest entry will be shown first. Entries can contain information, images, and videos. New entries or changes in the blog can usually be subscribed to via an RSS feed.

The course element Blog allows for the integration of a learning resource Blog into a course. Alternatively, external blog content can also be embedded.


Content

Usage: Learners' View

Overview
When you open a blog, you will see chronologically sorted individual text entries and can have older entries displayed if necessary.
Example of a course element blog
Functions for users

As a user, you can use the following functions in a course element of the type Blog :

Subscribe to blog

Users with access to the blog can subscribe to its entries using the RSS feed of the page.

 How to do that?

To subscribe to a blog, proceed as follows:

  1. Open the relevant course and go to the course element Blog .
  2. Click on Subscribe in the upper right corner.
  3. Embed the RSS feed into a feed reader. Learn more about RSS feeds.
Subscribe to a course element blog

Rate and comment on posts

In the course element Blog , you can view various posts, with the newest posts being displayed first. Individual blog posts can be rated and commented on.

 How to do that?

Rate post 

Rate posts via the stars at the right edge of each post.

To perform a rating, click on the number of stars you want to assign. You can change your rating at any time by repeating it.

Rate post

The current status of the rating is represented by both the coloured stars and the numbers in the circle.

In addition, you will be shown a note indicating whether you have already given a rating for this post before.

The status of the rating is colour-coded:

  • If you have not yet submitted a rating, the circle around the number of ratings is grey.
  • When a rating is submitted, the colour of the circle changes to orange.

If you hover the mouse pointer over the number, your personal rating and the overall rating will be displayed.

You can only rate the posts of other users, not your own. The rating is anonymous.

Post which is not yet rated

Rated post

Comment on postYou can also leave comments on each post. The comment function and the number of previously written comments can be found below each blog post.
  • You can write comments or reply to other users' comments.
  • You can edit or delete your own comments at any time.
  • The course supervisor can edit or delete all users' comments.

Comment on post

You can be assigned extended rights by a course supervisor. These rights will make additional functions, such as creating and editing posts, available to you. For more information about these functions, refer to the section Functions in the course view.

Configuration: Authors' View


Functions in the course editor

The following functions are available in the course editor:

Add a course element blog

 Click to open instructions on how to insert a course element ...

To integrate a course element into your course, proceed as follows:

  1. Open the course you want to edit.
  2. Use the pencil icon at the top of the page to open the editing mode.
Switch from the course view to the editing mode

3. Select a course element from the menu on the right.

Select course element

4. In the new window, you can define the position of the new course element within your course structure (left navigation pane). The available positions are marked with an insert icon.

To insert the new course element into an existing substructure, you need to open the substructure by clicking on the small triangle symbol next to its title. The area will open and you will again see insert icons at the positions which are available.

5. Click on the insert icon at the desired position within the structure. The selected area will be highlighted.

6. Confirm your choice with Insert course element.

Insert course element into the course tree

7. The element will be inserted into the course structure at the selected position.

8. Depending on the course element, you have to make additional configurations or add content in order to complete the configuration.

9. For these changes to take effect, you must publish the course. The course element will then also become available in the course view.

Configure and publish course element



You already have an RSS feed of an external blog (from another website) that you want to make available in the learning platform? For more information on how to do that, refer to the section Add external blog.

General configuration settings

In the course editor, you can modify the settings for the course element Blog in the following locations:

Title and description
 Configuration options in the tab title and description ...

ElementsDescription
Title

You need to enter a title for the course element. The title can comprise a maximum of 100 characters. All special characters and numbers are permitted. The title will appear in the navigation menu of the course and also as a heading in the content area.

 Changes to the title of the first course element, the so-called main course node ...

(warning)  If you change the title of the first course element, the new content will only be applied to the main course node and then displayed in the opened course. If you wish to edit the course title or description, you can do so using the more settings menu of the course.

Course editor settings in the tab title and description  
SubtitleYou can enter a subtitle for the course element with a maximum of 255 characters. All special characters and numbers are permitted. The title will appear as a tooltip in the navigation menu and - if selected and configured accordingly - as a subtitle in the content area.
Description

Here you can describe the course element. The description will appear in the content area below the title.

Depending on the settings configured in the element Display , this additional text is displayed to the user when opening the course element. The user can expand or collapse the view of the text.


Display

Define which information about the course element should be displayed in the course view. In addition to the content, you can optionally display the title and description. All course elements are provided with a reasonable presetting, which mostly includes the setting Title, description and content . You can adjust this setting in accordance with the options available for each course element.  

In the new user interface, the title is always displayed.


Set link for this course element

Each course element can be accessed via fixed link addresses. Therefore, an internal and an external URL is assigned to each course element. These direct links to concrete elements can be used within courses or provided to learners. The URLs are located below the title and description of the element and will appear upon selecting Set link for this course element .  

  • External link: To refer to this course element from outside of the course or learning platform, you can use the external link and insert it, for example as a href attribute, into the desired HTML page.
  • Internal link: To set a link to another course element within the same course, you can insert the internal link as a href attribute into the desired HTML page.
IDYou will need the ID number of the course element (on the bottom right), for example, if you wish to use the expert mode in the visibility or access tab.

Visibility
 Configuration options in the tab visibility and access ...

In the areas Visibility and Access, authors and course owners can individually determine the presentation of course elements. If no input is made in the access area, the content of a course element will by default be visible to all course participants after publishing the element. Apart from the general options listed below, additional configuration options are available depending on the course element.

The following general options are available for the configuration of visibility and access:

Course editor - Tab visibility and access

 

General configuration optionsDescription 
Blocked for learners

If you select this checkbox, all other configuration options will disappear. The course element content is now exclusively accessible for tutors and administrators of the course.

Block access or visibility for learners
Depending on dateMark this checkbox to specify a particular access time. You can set individual dates or date ranges by filling in only one or both input fields respectively. You can also create or delete dates via the + and - buttons.Set access or visibility rights depending on dates
Depending on group

Select this checkbox to restrict the accessibility of the course element to learning groups or learning areas. You can then select existing groups and areas or create new ones.

If you set restrictions with the configuration option "depending on group", the corresponding course element will be restricted for all non-members of the group. This includes, for example, users who have not yet confirmed the group invitation or who are on the waiting list for a group. Such users cannot yet see or access the restricted course element.


Set access or visibility rights depending on groups
Depending on assessmentHere, you will find all assessable course elements. These include, for example, the elements test, assessment, task, or structure. 

If you select the option Check for "passed", you will be able to choose a course element from the input field Course element, which the user must have passed as a prerequisite to accessing this course element. 

If you select the option Check score, you can indicate a number of points in the input field "Passing score", which have to be achieved in order to be able to access the course element.

Set access or visibility rights depending on assessments
Depending on attribute

The visibility of this option is system-dependent.

Via this option, you can set visibility or access rights according to user attributes. Only users who meet the predefined attributes will be able to see the course element or have access to its content. Multiple attributes need to be linked with an operator (AND/OR).

Different kinds of relational operators might be available depending on the selected attribute. For example:

  • "contains the value"
  • "does not contain value"
  • "has exactly the value"
  • "does not have value"
  • "starts with value"
  • "ends with value"
  • "greater than" (>)
  • "less than" (<)
  • "greater than/equals" (<=)
  • "less than/equals" (>=)

A list of all available attributes of several selected institutions can be found on the page Overview of the OPAL-Shibboleth attributes.

Set access or visibility rights depending on attributes
Apply rules also for author, owner and tutorThis option does not become visible until one of the other options has been selected. If you activate the checkbox, the same access rules which apply to users will also be valid for tutors and course administrators.Apply rules also for author, owner and tutor
PasswordThis option is only available in the area Access and can either be applied to the whole course or a structural element of the course. Enter the desired password, which users will need to use in order to gain access to the course content, in the text field.Set access or visibility rights depending on passwords
Display expert modeClick on the button Display expert mode to open an input field, which allows you to perform a more complex configuration according to your needs. For more detailed information about the expert mode, see the help page Visibility and access> Access rights in the expert mode.Set access or visibility rights in the expert mode
Advanced configuration optionsIn the case of individual course element types, there are further attributes to configure access to editing rights for course participants.

If various restrictive single options are set, they will be linked with AND, i.e. all conditions of the single options must be met for the user to see and have access to the course element. The only exceptions are the single options Attributes. In this case, various restrictive single options can also be linked with OR. The OR linking only requires the fulfilment of one condition in order to enable visibility or access, unless other restrictive single options prevent this.

All restrictions are also automatically valid for all subordinate course elements.

Note about hiding access restrictions

If a course element is visible, but there are

  • current or future access restrictions or
  • restricted rights for the course element,

the user will be informed accordingly when accessing the course element. This information helps the user to learn more about the functions available, e.g. which functions will be available at what time and under what conditions.

If required, however, you can hide this information text (from the user) for each course element individually.

 How to do that? ...

Notification message about existing access and authorisation restrictions in the course view.

Course element with notification message about authorisation restrictions
  1. To hide this message, open the course editor and switch to the Visibility tab of the respective course element.
  2. In the section Information if course node is visible but not accessible (max. 248 characters), remove the check mark in front of the entry Show access restrictions below the text field.
  3. Publish your changes.
Course editor setting to hide notification message

The note will no longer be visible in the course view.

Course element without notification message about authorisation restrictions

For individual course element types, there are further attributes which can be used to regulate access to editing rights for course participants.

The following editing rights can be restricted or extended using the general configuration attributes (depending on date, group, etc.):

Task
  • Assignment
  • Edit task folder  
  • Drop box - Delete own solutions
  • Drop box  
  • Return box
  • Assessment
  • Sample solution
Blog
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
File Dialogue
  • Only file download / read in the forum  
  • File up- and download/ read and write in the forum
  • File up- and download/ moderate in the forum
Forum
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
Calendar
  • Read  
  • Add and edit dates
Link List
  • Display  
  • Display and add
  • Display, edit, and delete
Bibliography
  • Display  
  • Display and edit
Messages
  • Read
  • Write
  • Manage
Folder
  • Download
  • Upload
  • Delete
Podcast
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
Page
  • Display  
  • Display and edit
Profile
  • Display
  • Add
Test

Configurable in the tab Visibility :

  • Conduct test
  • View assessment
  • View results
Wiki
  • Read  
  • Add and edit articles

Access
Blog learning contentIn this tab, you can select, create, and import resources. Detailed instructions are given in the following section Special configuration settings.
MultilingualismIn this tab, different translations can be added to individual course element areas.

Special configuration settings

In the tab Blog learning content , you can assign a blog resource to your course element. Choose one of the three options:

  • use an existing learning resource Blog (option 1),

  • create and use a new learning resource Blog (option 2), or
  • import a new learning resource Blog (option 3).
 Start the configuration for all three variants as follows ...
1.

Go to the tab Blog learning content in the course editor and click the button Select, create or import blog .

Configure course element blog
2.

Displayed is a page that contains functions to create and import new blog resources, as well as a list of your existing blog resources. Decide on one of the following options:

Options for adding a blog
3a.

(Option 1:) To use an existing learning resource Blog , select the desired resource via the link Select blog .

Select an existing resource
3b.

(Option 2:) To create and use a new learning resource Blog , click on Create . It opens a page for creating a new learning resource.

 Expand further steps ...
  • Enter a title for the new resource and add a description if necessary.
  • Click on Save .
  • As a next step, you can add an image to the resource with the Upload button.
  • Click on Finish to complete the creation process.

The newly created resource is now automatically used as a resource for the blog course element and displayed under Blog selected .

Create a new blog resource
3c.

(Option 3:) To import a new learning resource Blog , click on Import . The default upload page of the system opens.

 Expand further steps ...

Select the location of the file you want to import and upload the file.

  • The page for creating a new learning resource opens.
  • Enter a title for the imported resource and add a description if necessary.
  • Click on Save .
  • As a next step, you can add an image to the resource with the Upload button.
  • Click on Finish to complete the creation process.

The newly imported resource is now automatically used as a resource for the blog course element and displayed under Blog selected .

Import an existing resource
4.

The selected resource is now automatically used as a resource for the blog course element and displayed under Blog selected .

Display of the selected blog resource
5.

Publish your course to complete the configuration and to make the resource available to participants.


You can replace the resource of the type Blog at any time.

Functions after adding a blog resource

 Once a blog resource has been added, you have the following options ...
To detailed viewUse this button to switch to the detailed view of the added blog resource. Among other things, you will find information on the supervisors and access rights in this area. For further information, please refer to the section Functions of the detailed view.
Options after selecting a blog
Replace blogClick the button to replace the added blog resource with another blog resource. The settings window for the blog appears. Switch again to the tab Blog learning content . Choose one of the three options to add a new blog resource.
Edit

Click this button to get an overview of all existing blog entries. You can then create new entries, edit existing entries, and delete entries.  

If you click the Edit button, the editing view of the old interface opens.

All of these functions can also be used in the course view of the course element or in the individual resource view of the blog resource.

Add quotaThis function is only visible to users with extended rights. It can be used to change the storage space size of the blog resource.
Add external blog

If you already have an RSS feed of an external blog (from another website) that you want to make available in the learning platform, proceed as follows:  

Open the course view of a new blog which does not contain any entries. Select the button Add blog . Enter the URL of the feed in the field Feed URL and confirm your settings with Save . The external blog will then be available in the system.


A learning resource of the type Blog is not an independent learning resource, i.e. it must be integrated into a course element blog. Further information on independent learning resources as well as tutorials on their creation and management are provided in the section Learning resources.

Functions in the course view

In the course view of a blog, you have access to all functions available to users, as well as to the following editing options:

Create blog entry

To create a blog entry, proceed as follows:

 Expand for more information ...

1

Open the course element Blog.

Click on the button Create entry.

The function to subscribe to a blog is only available in the course context.

Create entry

2

Enter a title for the entry and add the desired content. You can also use the formatting options in the editor.

Write post

3

To finish off your content, you have several options:

Save as draft: Select this button if the post is not yet finished. A post saved as a draft is only visible to the creator. In the post overview, it is greyed out. You can edit, publish, or delete your post at any time.

Publish: Once your post is finished, it can be published. You can flexibly control the time at which the post will be visible to users. 

  • Publish immediately: Select the button Publish. The post is automatically published, and you do not need to make any changes to the date field.
  • Publish later: Select Date and time of publishing and adjust both fields accordingly. Then click on Publish.

Save entry as a draft or publish it immediately or later

4You can recognise the status of an entry by various icons and notes.
  • Grey: Draft, text note above the content
  • Blue: Published post, visible to all users who can open the blog
  • Green: Publication planned, text note and time above the post content

Post overview (different colours)


View of the old user interface

If you have created a blog entry with a picture in the new user interface and then open it in the old user interface, the post appears empty and the picture is not visible. However, the content of the post will become visible when clicking on the link "Read More".

 Why is this? ...

In the old user interface, there were two different text fields, i.e. Description and Content, when creating a new blog entry. In the new user interface, in contrast, there is only the content field. This field is equivalent to the content field of the old user interface. If you create a post in the new user interface, both text and picture are thus referenced in the content field. This field, however, will only become visible in the old user interface if you click the button "Read More".


Edit blog entry

To edit a blog entry, proceed as follows:

 Expand for more information ...

  1. Open the course element Blog.
  2. Select the post you want to edit and click the pencil icon.
  3. The editing mode opens.
  4. Make your desired changes. You can also use the formatting options in the editor.
  5. Confirm with Publish or Save as draft.

Save as draft: Select this button if the post is not yet finished. A post saved as a draft is only visible to the creator. In the post overview, it is greyed out. You can edit, publish, or delete your post at any time.

Publish: Once your post is finished, it can be published. You can flexibly control the time at which the post will be visible to users.

  • Publish immediately: Select the button Publish. The post is automatically published, and you do not need to make any changes to the date field.
  • Publish later: Select Date and time of publishing and adjust both fields accordingly. Then click on Publish.

Edit blog entry


Delete blog entry

To delete a blog entry, proceed as follows:

 Expand for more information ...

  1. Open the course element Blog.
  2. Select the entry you want to delete and click the Delete icon.
  3. Confirm the dialogue box with OK.

View delete entry


Add external blogIf you already have an RSS feed of a blog (from another website), you can reference this feed in the system. Open the course view of a new blog which does not contain any entries. Select the button Add blog . Enter the URL of the feed in the field Feed URL and confirm your settings with Save . The external blog will then be available in the system.

As a course supervisor, you can assign extended rights for a course element's additional editing functions to individual or even all course users. These rights can be configured in the tab Access. Further information can be found in the section General configuration settings on this page.