Writing a post – the “techie” bit


The “techie” part of writing a blog post is very like word processing. Just like MSWord or other word processing programs there are a series of buttons at the top of your page for you to use in making your text look how you want it to look. If you already use MSWord then some of these will be easy for you.

Starting a post

Log in to your Dashboard.

This will open a window with a title space and a box for you to type into. This is your new post – see below for how to make sure that the settings are right for you to type.

You can write your blog post directly in the page and change the font and other settings to suit you in the same way as when you are using a word processing program like MSWord.

What the buttons mean

The buttons on the toolbar will allow you to make your posts “user friendly”, by formatting your text with headings, colours etc and adding links, pictures and other media. Many of the buttons will be easy for you if you already use word processing. If you are not sure “hover” (mover your mouse pointer over)  over a button to find out what it does.

There are some buttons that are used to do particular things that are related to blogging. You will learn how to use these buttons as you start writing your own blog posts.

Saving, previewing, publishing and further editing

Once you start to write your post it is important that you save it often just as you would with a word processed document. You can also check out how it will look when published by previewing the post – this will open a new tab/window with your post as it will look on the blog.

Saving, previewing and publishing are done using the “Publish” panel in the right hand sidebar of the dashboard.

Further editing of a draft or  published post is done using the Posts” menu in the left hand sidebar.

Once you have finished editing then you can preview the post again, or with an already published post use the “Update” button – this replaces the “Publish” button once a post is published.


There are a few other items you will come across as you learn more about blog posts – but that really covers the essential “techie bit”. Writing well and making your posts look and read well is the next step!

As usual we ask you to add a comment to this post. Look at the layout (how the text and images are placed on the page, the colours and the sizes). Does this work for you? What do you like about the layout and why? What do you dislike about the layout and why?

Making your blog truly YOURS!


This post is about going into your blog for the first time and making it yours by:

  • “customising” it with a theme that you like;
  • making an avatar (image for yourself);
  • uploading the avatar into your blog profile;
  • using “widgets” in your sidebars.

Logging in to your blog

You will have been given a link for your blog. Click the link and this will take you to the public view of your blog.

Next you need to login to your blog so that you can change it to suit you. For this you will need your username and password. You should have an email with those. If you don’t know them then contact your lecturer. Click here for a reminder about how to log in to your blog.

Once you have logged in for the first time it is a good idea to change your password. Make sure you choose something that you will remember!

  1. Go to the top right of your blog dashboard screen where it says “Howdy, yourname”;
  2. Click the arrow for the drop-down menu Click “Your Profile”;
  3. Scroll right down to the bottom of the profile page;
  4. Type in your new password and then re-type it in the second box – this helps you to be sure you haven’t made a “typo” in your password.


Your blog theme

Your blog theme is one of the things you can change to make your blog very personal. All of our blogs have the same theme when they are first set up. They also have the same example blog post and example comment. Once you get going it is a good idea to delete the example post and comment. Changing your theme is a big step in feeling that you own your blog!

Our blogs are hosted by Edublogs on a CYOC Edublogs Campus site. One of the best known bloggers worldwide in education works for Edublogs. She is an ex-TAFE lecturer from WA – Sue Waters. Sue writes many excellent blog posts in her role for Edublogs. They include “how to” posts, information posts, ideas sharing and many others. One of her “how to” posts is this one about changing your blog theme. This is just one of several Edublogger post links that we will use to help you learn about blogging.

Making an avatar

An avatar is an image you use to represent yourself online. Some people use a photograph. I do so myself because this works for me as an educator with a large global network of colleagues. However as a student – especially if you are under eighteen – we prefer you to use another image for your CYOC blog identity. This is for safety – we will discuss this later in the course during the Digital Safety project.

There are many different sites where you can create avatars, some use a photo as the base, others give you a series of features that you can make into a cartoon. You can also use your own images as long as they are not of other people. You MUST NOT take images from the web – these belong to the persons who created them and using them may be theft! On the left is an image made with FaceYourManga. This is one that is free and also lets you save the image as a file. Some avatar sites need you to capture an image from the screen and edit it. You will learn how to do this for projects later in the course.

To create your Mangatar avatar checkout the Slideshare below:


Widgets are the things that sit in the sidebars of your blog. They have many different functions, you can choose the ones that are most useful for your purposes and you can also move them around within and between the sidebars. Checkout this Edublogs post on widgets including the most important ones to have on your sidebars. I love to know where my blog visitors are from so some sort of graphic of this is really important for me and I always have a ClusterMap in my own blogs.

Conclusion – One last thing for you to do on this post

Once you have uploaded your avatar and added one or more widgets  add a comment to this post to tell us what was easy and what was hard about making your blog truly yours, and why this was so!

A Plan to Learn With

Where Do You Want To Go Today?

Suppose you needed to get something from your local shop. It could be some bread, or milk, or a jar of your favourite jam, or anything else that you usually buy. I guess that you would go towards the shop, rather than just walking around in circles:

A man walking in circles

Illustration By Frits

What you have inside your head is a PLAN! It says to you how you can get to that shop. Think about it:

  • You know where you want to go (the shop)
  • You know how to get there: walking, driving, catching a bus
  • You are aware of any potential problems (Is it raining?)
  • You know when you want to go (Now? This afternoon? Tomorrow?)

Image courtesy Thomas Cizauskas

Not a Shop, But a Something Else!

If you want to learn something (instead of buying something) you still need a plan. Here are the same four items:

  • What do you want to learn about?
  • What are you already good at (try “walking” 🙂 ), and how might this help you?
  • What problems might there be, and who can I ask for help?
  • By when will I have learned it?

What we are really talking about here is goal setting – there are a variety of different strategies to help you set goals. Checkout the Slideshare for more about gols and goal setting.

Just to help you, there is this Word document that you can use to write down your initial ideas. It is a blank template.

If you want to see a template with some of the spaces filled in for “Underwater Basket Weaving”, you can see it here.

Credits: Basket image: Vilseskogen, link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vilseskogen/3781517030/
Underwater image: photohome_uk, link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photohome_uk/1495438762/.

Using Email to communicate in the course


This short post is about getting an email address (if you don’t already have one) and writing simple emails that meet their purpose and are written in the correct style for that purpose. We will also describe/show you how to attach a file to an email.

There are many different email tools. The example we are using is Gmail. If you have a different email you will be able to do the same things but the steps may be slightly different. If you get stuck try looking for the “Help” in your email tool it may be hiding under another menu or icon – the Gmail one is in the menu on the “gear” icon at the top right of the screen. Another way to get help is to put a comment on this post asking if anyone can help you with your particular email program.

Getting an email account

If you already have an email account then you don’t need this bit of the post! If you need to get an email we suggest you get Gmail. When you get Gmail you do this by getting a Google Account. As well as Gmail this gives you the opportunity to add other Google toolseasily if and when you want them. This link will take you to a sign up page for a Google Account Once you have signed up send your lecturer an email so that they will know your email address.

Emails “fit” for purpose

Just like other forms of written communiction we use different styles of writing depending on the audience for our email. It is important to use the correct style or we could offend someone or give them wrong ideas about us. We also need to make sure that we use a sensible subject line – this helps people to find the email they want. Checkout the Slideshare for more information.

Email from Jo Hart


Writing a simple email

Click on this Writing a Simple Email link for a screencast that will show you how to write a simple email that meets its purpose.









Attaching a file to an email

We will ask you to word process some of your work and send it by email to us. Especially first drafts of written texts and also when we have given you a template to complete. To do this you will need to know how to attach a file to an email.

Click on this Attaching a File to Email link to see the screencast on how to attach a file to an email.







If you have any problems with writing or sending emails or attaching files you can get help in several ways:

  • talk to your lecturer in virtual class;
  • put a comment on this post so that others can help you;
  • email your lecturer (if the problem is with attaching files).

Remember if you have an email program other than Gmail the process for doing emails might be slightly different and the buttons might have different labels. However you will still be able to do the same things!

Happy Emailing 🙂





This is our course blog. The word blog is short for “weblog” which is just a name for a type of website or a where you can easily upload “stuff” for others to see. It can be all sorts of different things – it doesn’t have to be just writing. Your blog is what you want it to be – or sometimes what you need it to be to show off your skills! It can be any or all of these:

  • an online diary or record of things that you do;
  • a place to write and share ideas;
  • somewhere to include pictures, videos or other media;
  • a professional or business place;
  • a personal place where you write for yourself;
  • a portfolio where you gather evidence of your learning and/or your skills;
  • somewhere to tell others how you do things.

A piece of writing or other media that you put on your blog is called a “post” and when you put the post on the blog this is known as publishing.

What is this blog about?

This course is about making your own blog and using it to showcase your learning and skills by making posts and uploading files and using e-tools like the Voki to make your posts more interesting to make and visit. Doing this will also help you to gather evidence for three units in one of the Certificates in General Education for Adults.

This blog is here to help you with your own blog – we will do that in several different ways:

  • posts that “show and tell” how to use some of the e-tools you will use to make blog posts – they will use a mixture of writing, pictures, diagrams and sometimes audio and/or video;
  • posts that give you links to useful e-tools and how to use them;
  • we will use different e-tools to make our posts so you can see how they can be used;
  • we will comment on the posts we write so you can see how to add comments – and we will ask you to comment on the posts too.

We will set up your own blogs soon and help you to log in and get started.

Before you start with your own blog we would like you to start with making some comments on posts on the course blog. You will see that there are comments on this post, you can use these to help you get ideas about how to make comments on blog posts.

Once you have looked at the first comments on the post have a go at writing your own comment. Look at the “how to” below and follow the instructions to add your own comment.

Your comment will appear soon – at the moment we have the blog set for comments to be checked before they appear.  We will change this once you have had some practise.

Good luck with your first comment!