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Elementary school blogging (4 posts)

  1. dalelyles
    Member
    Posted 16 years ago #

    I'm a media specialist in an elementary school. Last year I started the 100 Book Club, the purpose of which is to encourage our better readers to read more deeply and more thoughtfully. They do this by blogging about what they've read. Cool idea, if I can make it work.

    We started out with Drupal, but there are many reasons I would prefer to switch to WPMU. I'm a WP user myself, so I know how wondrous it is. Also, I want every kid to have a specific "place" that's theirs, a place which would include static pages like "Books I've Read" and "Books I Want to Read," something that's not really doable in Drupal.

    However, now that my IT person has installed WPMU, I'm rooting around in the admin page and getting lost.

    Here are my needs/questions:

    Separate blog for each kid--check. Bogus email address to allow me to register each kid--check.

    Universal categories, i.e., every blog uses the book genres I provide--I've seen a workaround here in the forums, I think.

    Universal blog format: when I set up a blog, it should automatically default to a specific theme, with specific pages already created (About, Books I've Read, Books I Want to Read), with aforesaid universal categories--can't find this anywhere

    Recent posts/comments on the mainpage--check.

    All posts/comments routed to me for approval--haven't seen this anywhere. This is something in Drupal that's essential to making a blog site work in an elementary school, the ability to prevent unwise stuff from reaching the screen.

    One stop user/blog creation. Since I have to create all the users and their blogs, it would be nice to do it all on one page, including such user options as using the visual editor.

    I'm sure there are other issues, but let's start with these.

    I hope there are answers for all these, since I rode my IT guy pretty hard to set this up for me, *after* he already set up Drupal! :)

  2. andrea_r
    Moderator
    Posted 16 years ago #

    "Universal blog format: when I set up a blog, it should automatically default to a specific theme, with specific pages already created (About, Books I've Read, Books I Want to Read), with aforesaid universal categories--can't find this anywhere"

    - pick the theme you want, rename the theme's folder to DEFAULT (lower case, just making it obvious)). Make sure no other themes are enabled. Site Admin -> Themes. Voila, you are done.

    "All posts/comments routed to me for approval--"
    Not bult in and I don't recall seeing a workaround.

    "One stop user/blog creation. Since I have to create all the users and their blogs, it would be nice to do it all on one page, including such user options as using the visual editor."

    So.. I'll assume you're adding them in the backend under Site Admin -> Blogs, way down at the bottom and not going through the signup page each time, right? Or you could add each blog as yours (the site admin) and add each student as a user, bumping them up to admin, or possibly even editor or another role.

    If you're not worried about hacking core files (and you seem like you wouldn't be ;) ) go into wp-includes/wpmu-funtions.php, scroll waaaay down untill you find where it sets up the initial blog. you can change and double-check default options there.

    Slightly related is my main MU install at http://homeschooljournal.net/ . Not all are parents, there's a fair number of kids blogging there as well. Partly for "school", partly for "fun" (but we don't tell them they're learning ;) )

  3. jalien
    Member
    Posted 16 years ago #

    I did a quick check to see about having comments routed to the site admin. To have the notifications routed to you, it looks like you could change

    $admin_email = get_option('admin_email');

    in /wp-include/pluggable.php around line 500 to the site_admin email.

    I'm sure that if you look in /wp-include/comments.php and the above pluggable.php it would be possible to set it up so that the site_admin needs to approve comments. I know this is just a framework, but I hope it helps.

    As a further (hopefully) help I have added a lot of:

    if (site_admin()==false)

    to the wp-admin/menu.php to block menus or for some functions on specific pages, to prevent them playing with some setting. You will also need to add it to the setting file to prevent them going directly to that setting page if it is a menu item.

    hope this is a bit of a help

  4. ekusteve
    Member
    Posted 16 years ago #

    Just some more thoughts...

    For comments...unless you really feel there is a need for them, I would recommend eliminating the commenting features completely on these blogs. You can do several things to achieve this short of deleting the comments table in the blogs (which I\'ve found causes other problems)...i.e., remove all the commenting features from your theme and set the default values in upgrade-schema.php so that when blogs are created moderation is on by default, must register to comment is on by default, admin approval is on by default, etc. and then remove these options from the admin area of the blog so they can\' be changed. This will make it virtually impossible for anyone to leave a comment.

    For universal categories, if there is a plugin out there that would be great, but I haven\'t seen one. You could though, edit upgrade-functions.php to add the categories you want in the blog when it\'s created, then remove the options in the admin area to prevent these being changed.

    For all posts routed to you for approval...just to follow-up on the suggestion already made, you could create all blogs as your admin blogs and then assign your students as users with the role of \"Contributor\"...I believe that is the default role that can save drafts but can\'t publish posts. Then you would need to log into each blog and actually publish the posts. There could be some drawbacks to that approach, but another way to think about it would be to assign blog users as normal, but just remove the \"Publish\" button from the write post and pages menus for normal users....they could only save drafts. Then you would still need to login and publish the posts. Although, I have done the other two suggestions, I haven\'t tried this one, so I\'m sure there would be challenges to overcome.

    Another thing you may want to do with this type site is password protect the entire site so the general public can\'t view the blogs without loging in.

    Just some thoughts...I\'ve done much, although not all, of what you are trying to achieve on my teacher website site here: http://kentuckyclassroom.org/

    It takes a lot of core code hacking, but managing those hacks is not as difficult as some make it out to be if you\'re organized. For example, as long as you comment everything you change with some standard method, then it\'s pretty easy to find and merge those changes into updates. I just include a comment with my name in caps and a little explanation like so(STEVE...I CHANGED THIS FOR THIS REASON...) everywhere I make a change to the code. Then I keep a list of the files I have changed. When I\'m ready to upgrade, I just compare the new files with my changed files using winmerge and move my changes to the new files if necessary...I have a couple of very heavily hacked sites and it takes me all of about 30 minutes to merge my changes to a new codebase.

    Good luck.

    Steve

About this Topic

  • Started 16 years ago by dalelyles
  • Latest reply from ekusteve