Tech tips

There are many blogging tools available. I like WordPress because it is user-friendly and can be used by people with very little technical ability. WordPress, unlike other tools, offers a lot of free themes and plugins, which means that it is highly customizable.

As a teacher, you can choose either to create individual users for each student or create a generic login that the students share. I did the latter and here is how and why. 

I set myself up as the sole editor of the blog. I provided my students with a single generic login and password. This meant that they all logged in using the same credentials and had limited editing rights. They could create posts and then would be asked to submit their post for review.

As the editor of the blog, I approved and published their posts. While this sounds like a lot, it was as simple as responding to an email notification and clicking the “publish” button.

Because they used a common login, it was very important that they include their name (or pseudonym) on their posts and comments so I knew who was writing and so they could interact with each other. 

In the first edition of the blog (Fall 2016), I set up a free account on WordPress, which meant that there were ads. In the second version of the course blog (Winter 2019, with Prof. Mela Sarkar leading the way), the blog was migrated to a paid server to remove the ads. This costs about $50 per year. The current provider is Reclaim Hosting, which is run by academics for academics.  

WordPress is an open source and free software that can be installed on any server or device for free. It is likely that your IT department already has WordPress installed on their servers and this could be made available to you. Or, you can simply go to, create a free account, and start blogging. 

Here is the Blogging Tech Tips I created for my students. It would need to be customized.