Blog

 

Overview

The blog module has all the functions you need to maintain a column of information that is contributed to by one or more people. The blog module can be used as a blog of course, but it can also be used to serve podcasts. Podcasts are typically MP3 files that are served up in a manner that people can listen to them, and visitors can comment just like they can a regular blog post. You can attach an MP3 file to any blog post.

The blog module has three main parts.

  • An admin screen that allows the publisher to add and edit their blog posts.
  • A comment mechanism allows visitors to post their comments. The manager of the blog can be set to be notified any time a visitor posts a comment. The comments do not go live until the manager approves it.
  • An automatically updated RSS feed in a compliant RSS 2.0 fomat. You can use this feed to push your blog posts to most of the social networks and many other places.

Blogs are great to deliver timely, less formal, content to your visitors. A unique feature to the Blog module in comparision to other modules is that it allows for direct visitor interaction through the means of comments. A visitor can come to the site, read a blog post, and then share their comments on the topic.

Since this interaction can be performed by anyone (registered and un-registered Campusuite users), the Blog module implements an approval process for these comments. This way, people can not post any content live to the site without your review and approval.

Administrator Topics

Setting up the blog module (admin)

A senior-level administrator may need to grant your department (or faculty web site) access to use the blog module. Once that is done, it's simply a matter of adding a link to your departments navigation to access the blog module. If you have been given access to edit your navigation, you can do this yourself by following these steps.

  • Click the Edit Navigation button in the top dash bar.
  • Click the Add Parent button to add a new link, and select the Module radio button. If your department has the blog module enabled, you will see it as an option to select. Incidentally, you may see that the blog module link already exists in your navigation, but it is hidden. In this case, simply edit that item by clicking the navigation label, then on the edit screen, click the Advanced Properties link and uncheck the hidden checkbox. Otherwise, click Save to turn on the blog module.
  • blog-righthand-include.cfm - Notice also, while editing that navigation of that area, there is a hidden navigation item called blog-righthand-include.cfm. This file provides the ability for you add a descriptive headline and supporting blurb of text about that blog. As an example, consider the headline "The Green Blog" and some descriptive text that reads, "a blog about being a friend to the earth through knowledge and action." This page needs to have it's syndication turned on so that it syndicates throughout your blog pages. To do this, simply edit this page, click the Properties button to expand the page properties and turn on syndication by changing the item XML from NO to YES. Then, click Save.
  • blog-header.jpg - When the blog module is enabled for a department, it places a default "blog-header.jpg" file that is a graphic that sits under your site header, but above the blog content. This file can be downloaded, customized and uploaded back to the same location, using the same name. If you delete the file, no header will be used and the blog content will reside beneath your regular site header. This header graphic is useful for theming, or personalizing that blog's content.

As a content publisher logged in, when you navigate to your blog page, you will see the buttons that will allow you to add new blogs or modify existing blogs. It's as simple as that to get started.

Specifying the manager of a blog

Another set-up item that your system administrator will need to do is specify you as the "manager" of your blog. The administrator can edit your account and check the permissions tab to see if you have been specified as a Blog Manager for your department or faculty web site. Once that is done, any time a visitor posts a comment to your blog, you will be sent an email letting you know. This email will provide a link that takes you to your login screen. When you log in, you will see the comment waiting on your dashboard awaiting moderation. See "Moderating comments" below.

 

Adding a Post

As a content publisher logged in, when you navigate to your blog page, you will see the buttons that will allow you to add new blogs or modify existing blogs. To add a new blog, click the Add Blog button and complete the fields that it asks for.

You can specify a date in the future if you do not want your blog to go live right away. By selecting a date in the future, you will see your post is labeled with Pre-dated as its status. Your blog will be set to go live on the date you specify. Of course, you can also specify Draft in the blog status menu at right to save your blog without publishing. This will let you come back later to finish it.

You might notice that the body text field of the blog post looks very similar to the page editor. This is a more simplified version of the page editor with limited functions to allow you to do basic formatting, add links, etc. Remember, you do not need heading styles as the main headline of your blog will be the main heading of the page. The body text field is only to manage the body area of your blog.

If you intend to upload an image with your blog post (recommended as it makes the post look very attractive) select it using the image mechanism. You can browse for a high-resolution JPG right off your camera. When you click Save, your image is uploaded and web-optimized automatically. Don't forget to add an image caption!

You can also find an MP3 uploading mechanism. Your audio must be in MP3 format in order to be uploaded. Once uploaded, it's loaded into a web-friendly player for your visitors to listen to.

Click Show advanced tools to select a gallery of images that you have already created. Keep in mind, if you uploaded an image to your blog, and you decide to link your blog to a photo gallery, then the image is replaced by the first image in the gallery. So, you may need to adjust your image caption accordingly.

Unlike other modules and pages in Campusuite, a blog post does not have specific buttons to submit drafts and utilize the workflow. These functions are under consideration and may be added to the platform in the future. Just be sure that you know if your blog is live or staged when creating or editing the blog post.

To add a new blog

  1. Navigate to a blog module.
  2. On the module page, click the Add Blog button. The Add Blog page will load.
  3. Fill out the fields as needed. View a description of this interface for reference.
  4. When finished, click the Save button. Depending on the setting you specified in the Blog Status menu, the blog will be live, saved as a draft, or scheduled to go live in the future.

Saving a Draft

You can specify "Draft" in the Blog Status menu at right to save your blog without publishing. You can create your blog just as you normally would, but selecting "Draft" will make it so your blog is not published. You can also use this same menu to "archive" blogs that you wish to make inaccessible.

 

Editing a Post

  1. Navigate to a blog module.
  2. On the blog module page, a list of blogs will be shown. You may need to navigate multiple pages of posts to find the one you need. When it is found, click the title of the post to open its editor.
  3. Make changes to the fields as needed. View a description of this interface for reference.
  4. When finished, click the Save button to store the changes in the system, or click the Cancel button to ignore any changes you made.

 

Deleting a Post

  1. Navigate to a blog module.
  2. When on the blog module page, a list of blogs will be shown. You may need to navigate multiple pages of posts to find the one you need. When it is found, click the title of the post to open its editor.
  3. In the page that opens, scroll down to the bottom. Click the Delete button.
  4. A new page will load, asking you to confirm the action. Click the Yes button to continue, or the No button to quit.
  5. Assuming the Yes button was clicked, the blog would have been deleted. The page will then reload back to the blog modules page.

 

Moderating Comments

When a visitor posts a comment to your blog or podcast, you will be sent an email (if you have been set up as the blog manager) letting you know. You can follow the  link on this email to log in and moderate the comment.

Upon login, you will see the comment waiting on your dashboard, below the departments panel. You can read the comment and then click either "Approve" or "Reject" to save or remove the comment. Your comment is not viewable to the public unless you click Approve.

To remove a previously approved comment on a blog, simply edit the blog post that contains the comment, scroll to the bottom of the blog and you will see each individual comment listed with the option to remove.

To approve a blog comment

  1. Go to the Requests area in the dashboard.
  2. There may be multiple types of requests pending. For blog comments, the Type field will show "Blog Comment". In a request's listing, a summary of the comment will be shown. From this you can determine the date it was posted, who posted it, the person's web site, and the body of the comment.
  3. If you wish to approve the comment, click the Approve button, otherwise, click the Reject button.
  4. The action will be immediate; the Requests page will reload, and the comment should no longer be listed.

 

Editing a Comment

When you approve a comment, you then have the ability to edit it if you need to. You can only edit the body portion of the comment; you cannot change the name or website of the person who posted the comment. Keep an eye on the URL that was provided and be sure it doesn't link to a spammy web site. This is often a flag that the post is bogus, or auto-submitted by an internet bot.

  1. Navigate to a blog module.
  2. On the blog module page, a list of blogs for that specific instance of the module will be shown. You may need to navigate multiple pages of posts to find the one you need. When it is found, click the title of the post to begin editing it.
  3. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page. The comments currently approved for the blog will be shown. Browse these comments and click the Edit Comment link for the one you wish to edit.
  4. The text for the body of the comment will turn into a textbox; this will automatically be populated with the current body of the comment. Change this text as you see fit.
  5. When finished, click the Save Comment button. The comment's changes are now saved.
  6. Edit other comments if you like. When you are completely finished, you can either click the Save button or the Cancel button to return to the blog post listings. Please note that clicking the Save button will save any changes you may have made to the blog.

 

Deleting a Comment

  1. Navigate to a blog module.
  2. On the blog module page, a list of blog posts will be shown. You may need to navigate multiple pages of posts to find the one you need. When it is found, click the title of the post to open its editor.
  3. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page. The comments currently approved for the blog will be shown. Browse these comments and click the Delete Comment link for the one you wish to delete.
  4. You will be shown a confirmation dialog; click the OK button to continue with the deletion, or click the Cancel button to stop.
  5. If the OK button was clicked, the comment will be deleted from the blog, and this change should be reflected in the comments section of the blog editor. Delete other comments if you like. When you are completely finished, you can either click the Save button or the Cancel button to return to the blog post listings. Please note that clicking the Save button will save any changes you may have made to the blog.

Syndicating your blog

Here's the fun part. Your blog manages an RSS 2.0 compliant feed. These feeds can be sent to a multitude of services. Our preferred tool is www.dlvr.it, but there are many others. Create a free, personal account here and it will allow you to specify the RSS feed of your blog and feed it to Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networks you may be using. The RSS feed provides a lot of flexibility to allow you to syndicate your blog to many places around the internet.

Overriding the Blog Name (at top)

To change the name of your blog from the default, simply follow this process:

- Navigate to the blog you want to change
- Edit navigation
- Add a new page
- Name the new page 'blog custom'
- Make sure to hide the page (We also suggest checking the 'nofollow' under advanced options)
- Update this page with the content you want the custom blog header changed to and save