Monday Mailbag – Setting Up a Website for Students

Can you talk more about your “Studio Splog” website? I’ve been so intrigued the few times I went on and saw the variety and interest that your students showed in postings on it! How can you set something like that up and what guidelines have you given them?

Sure! It’s a website I started last year as part of our Exploring a Galaxy of Music practice incentive theme. There are several options for setting up blog-based websites for your students. The one I prefer is WordPress. If you already have website hosting, you can set up a similar student site as an add-on domain. Or, if you don’t have a site, you can have it hosted for free on the WordPress domain. Or you can buy a hosting account and use it for a site. So, there are several options for setting it up! Blogger is another popular blog interface that you may want to check into.

Once you have the blog up and running, you can search for and select a theme that allows for multiple author listings on the sidebar. This isn’t essential, as WordPress automatically has the capability for multiple users, but I thought it would be nice for the students to see their name on the sidebar and for others to be able to click and go right to all the posts written by a particular student.

When you set up the installation, you will receive the admin login information that will enable you to access the “Dashboard” of the blog. This is where you control all the settings, themes, users, etc. If you go to the “Users” menu option, you can add additional users and define their role. I added all my students and made them an “author.” This allows them to write posts and submit them for publication, but then I have to review and approve them in order for them to be published on the blog.

As far as the actual posts, sometimes I would encourage a student to post something based on what they were studying or learning in conjunction with their lessons. Other times they just took the initiative to post video clips they discovered or thoughts that came to mind. We also did quite a bit of recording and posting audio clips on the blog, because this was pretty exciting for a lot of the students!

So…that’s some of the info about the student blog. I’ve been blogging for about five years now so it was pretty easy to get things set up for my students and walk them through how to access the site and write their posts. If you’re new to blogging, though, or are interested in learning more about how to start a blog, feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, does anyone else have a blog or website to which students contribute content? Do you have any platforms or tips on what has worked well for you?

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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