Feb 11, 2013

Group blogging and blogging in the classroom

We normally talk about blogging as a personal project or a business project; unfortunately we often forget blogging in the classroom. Through +Google+ we've interacted with lots of educators that using blogging and +Blogger for their classrooms, both for their individual students but also as a way of tracking a class's progress. One of the problems in Blogger is that there are only 3 levels of permissions (Visitor, Author, and Admin) and no customizable granularity to the permissions of what the Author level is able to do. For instance, you can't give Authors the ability to write a post, but reserve the right to publish that post to Admins. Or you can't enable Authors to moderate comments.

+Guy Shearer reminded us of this challenge in his most recent blog post, "ClassBlogging using Blogger (a fudge)".

A long time ago we had briefly considered creating a full-fledged publishing tool using Blogger. A tool that would enable small newspaper staffs, or even classrooms, to create online journals in a collaborative environment. It was to be a mashup of Google services such as +Google Drive, Picasa, etc. and use permissions within them for the creation and management of content. We also found services such as GDocs.io and gave them a shot, but alas it was not for us. One day a solution will present itself...

But Guy's solution is, in our opinion, brilliant in its simplicity. Using the mail submission option in Blogger (where authors can send their posts to a special email address and have the submission saved as a blog post in draft mode), Guy essentially creates an additional level of permission to the site, that of "submitter". The submitter doesn't have any permissions inside the blog itself, but is a content contributor.

It also got us thinking how this could be combined with our submission forms, especially the one where the contents of the submission is emailed to a specified email address.

What're your thoughts? Anyone want to put this to work? We're happy to feature your examples!