Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blogging Assignment

Our web assignment this year will be based on blogging. As explained in the analysts report we handed out in class, blogs are the breaking wave in user-generated content, and we want to give students a chance to understand what this trend is all about. Many people consider that blogging only relates to personal diaries on the web. To the contrary, we find that many organizations are using blogging in a number of collaborative ways:

  • As a knowledge management tool. For instance, Sun Microsystems has created an employee blogging system to capture and disseminate information about the various projects employees are involved in. Even Sun's president, Jonathan Schwartz, has a blog that he uses to shape external impressions of goings-on at Sun.
  • As a corporate PR tool. For instance, Robert Scoble is known the A-list Microsoft corporate blogger, and has used his site to effectively promote Microsoft's agenda.

What you will do

You will create mini-blogging communities for this assignment in order to try to understand how these might work. Here are the specifics:

  • Form groups of four to five students and a agree on a general topic you will blog about.
  • Create a team blog. See for how you need to set the different options. One person will create the blog and then add the others as authors (See Members under Settings after the blog is created for how to do this). On the team blog, make an initial post with links to all of the team member's individual blogs.
  • Each member of the group will be responsible for creating six (6) posts in their own individual blogs (not the team blog) about the topic you have chosen. You should make at least one post per week up from the day of the lab until December 17 when the assignment is due (some weeks you will have to make more than one post to achieve 6). Each post should have a link to at least one external resource such as a newspaper article about your topic or even another team member's posting on the topic (say you want to disagree). These posts should be about one paragraph or longer.
  • Before December 17, each team member needs to make at least one post on the team blog explaining how their blog relates to the team's topic.

Due Dates

There are three due dates:

  • By the usual due date: You need to submit your blog URL (i.e. http://myblogaddress) on coursetools under the Class 8 Assignment. You also need to indicate your group blog URL and team mates.
  • By Friday December 16: You need to complete your individual and team blog postings by 12 midnight.

Failure to meet due dates will result in point reductions from your grade.


We will grade you on the following:

  • Have you kept your team and individual blogs on topic?
  • Does each individual post have a link to an external resource?
  • Do the individual members' posts link to each other?
  • Are the individual and team blog's attractive to look at? Specifically, have you chosen something other than the default template for displaying your blog?
  • Have you met the due dates?
  • Have you set the individual and team blog options as we directed in the tutorial?

Blogging Lab

In today's lab, you will do the following:

  • Create a blog using google's blogger blog hosting service.
  • Write your first blog post using blogger's HTML and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors

Setting up a blog with blogger

As described in this Morgan Stanley analysts’ report, setting up an account and getting started in blogger takes all of five minutes. Go to and do that now following the directions they give.

Make sure to note your username and password. You will need them to make blog postings.

Make sure to note your blog's web address, it will be in the following form,

Once you are all set up, go to your blogger dashboard located at: (where you come to when you log in). Click on the settings icon . You are going to set a number of the settings. Failure to properly configure these settings may cost you credit on the assignment.

Under Basic Settings, you want to make sure the following are marked yes:

  • Show Quick Editing on your Blog?
  • Show Email Post links?
  • Show Compose Mode for all your blogs?

Under Publishing, you want this option marked yes:

  • Notify

Under Formatting, choose to show 10 posts on the main page. Failure to follow this step, may cost you credit because we will not be able to see your assignment.

Under Comments, mark the options as follows:

  • Who Can Comment? Only Registered Users.
  • Default for Posts: New Posts Have Comments.

Under Archiving, answer the questions as follows:

  • Archive Frequency: Monthly.
  • Enable Post Pages? Yes.

Under Site Feed, answer the questions as follows:

  • Publish Site Feed: Yes
  • Descriptions: Full

You do not have to edit any settings under Email but may choose to set up an email address that allows you to create posts by email instead of using a web editor.

You also do not have to edit any settings under Members but may do so later when you set up a team blog.

Creating your First Post

This is very easy. Just click on the Posting tab in the blue area at the top of the screen. Now write up something for your first post. Be sure to give it a title in the field labeled Title. Just to see the link feature in action, highlight some text and click on the chain-link like link icon. You will need to type in a URL with http:// preceding it. It is considered good form to link to other resources in your blog posts and to comment on them. Always put a link in your posts.

Once you are done with your post, publish it. Now, go to your blog address and look at your post. Nothing could be easier in terms of web publishing.

As pointed out by Justin Trana in a blog post for another course last year, blogger makes a big deal about blogs being like personal diaries. Well, they can be a lot more than that. They can be platforms for web-based conversations. This is why we insisted so strongly that you put links in your posts above. You will see more of that in the assignment.

A Brief Sashay Through HTML

Here, we are going to learn how to use the HTML editing option when you create a post in blogger. Go to the posting tab for your blog and create a post. Now, in the upper right hand corner of the posting box, click on the link labeled Edit HTML.

Type in the following:

<b>Your name</b>

<p>I am a student at the University of Michigan.</p>

Click the Preview link in the upper right corner of the editing box. Once you see a preview of your post, hit the Hide Preview link and go back to editing. Type in this text on the line below where you asserted you were a student:

Your name, <a href=""></a>

Preview again if you like. Now, we are going to add a link to your document. The HTML for this is like what you used for your email address. Go to the end of the line where you asserted you were a student at Michigan right before the </p> and type in the following:

<a href="">The OC</a>

Let's say you want to put an image in your document. Here is some code that will insert the logo from the b-school's home page in your site. Add it right after your OC link.

<img src="">

Now, publish your post. Give it the title “Test”. It does not count toward the total of six you must do for the course.

We have given you a taste for some html tags here. To find out more, have a look at

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ?

Blogger Help : What is BlogThis! ? provides a way to do high speed blogging on blogger, but you have to know html.