How to use this course weblog

General Information

Weblog Layout

The ETEC522 Course Weblog is the site where all course content, activities and discussions will take place.  Once you have added yourself to the course (using the instructions that were emailed to you), you will be able to view all of the material, post new topics and comment or respond to existing posts that have been made by other students or the instructors.  You can login/logoff of this course weblog by clicking on the CWL (logout) button that is on the top of the left column.  Use your CWL ID/password to login to the weblog.

The layout of the material on this weblog is quite simple.  The links on the left column lead to static pages of course content on which you will find the course materials for all of the modules and descriptions of activities that we want you to engage in.  You can read any of this material whenever you want, but we will be moving through it as a cohort, according to the Course Schedule that is part of Module 1.  You cannot edit or comment on the pages on this weblog.

The right column is where on-going discussions will appear throughout the course.  The links on the right column will automatically appear as postings are made into the various topics, so at the start of the course, you will only see postings relating to the early modules, with the later module discussions appearing as people begin to post into them.  On this right column, too, we have added a tag-cloud and a popular posts link, so you can jump into content according to how people have tagged information as well as see where most people are discussing issues at any time.

The centre column is also a dynamic space, and it will always show the most recent postings made in the course.  These postings will appear according to the time and date they were posted, with the most recent posting always on the top.    If you find it confusing to follow the discussions that way, you can always click on the discussion links on the right column to pursue your reading only within the one discussion category.  You can choose which approach works best for you.

Posting New Topics and Replying to Existing Topics

Creating a new Post

Creating a new Post in a weblog is just like creating a new thread within WebCT: you are creating a message to which other people can respond and comment.  To create a new post, click on “Write” in the drop-down menu and select “Post”.  You will be presented with a template that you can fill out to write your post.  Start off by giving your post a title: this will be displayed on the weblog page.  Then, use the Post field to type in the body of your posting.  You can edit using either the wysiwyg editor (visual) or use html and format your text with colours, links or even embed media (like pictures of videos).  One note on media.  If you are going to embed a video, you have to already have the video hosted somewhere on the web.  There is a page of resources for the Venture Forum in Module 12 that describes some different sites you can use.


We would also like to encourage you to associate keywords with your posting.  We will be generating a tag-cloud from the keywords you enter into your postings, so it will be possible to quickly find postings that have been created on similar topics regardless of where they are in the course.  


When you create your posting, you will also need to assign it to a particular category.  We have created a list of categories in the weblog that correspond to the modules in the course as well as for some general topics such as “questions and answers”.  As soon as people start to post in a particular category, that category will appear as a link in the right side column, and you will be able to easily see any topics and comments that are related to the topic.  If you make a mistake when assigning your posting to a particular category, you can go back and edit your post and change its category.  To do this, click on “Manage” in the drop-down menu, select “Posts” and then scroll down the template to the section that has the categories listed.  Just click (unclick) the categories to place your Post where it needs to be.

Saving or Publishing Your Post

You can save a draft of your posting to work on at a later time without actually making it public.  Only you are able to edit a posting that you have initiated.  When you are ready to make your posting public, click on the Publish button on the posting template page.  If you are working with a draft, you will first need to click on “Manage” in the drop-down menu, select “Posts” and then look for the saved version that you want to publish.  Once you have made the revisions to the draft, you can then click on the Publish button to reveal your posting to others in the class.  Postings will show up in the centre column, dynamically, with the latest topics at the top, but you will also be able to find them either through the discussion (category) links on the right-side column, through the tag-cloud or, even, by searching the weblog.

Advanced Options

You can write an excerpt of your posting if you want, which will give people a shortened version of what a longer post might be about, but beyond that, you do not need to do anything with the other options that are listed.

Responding to a Post

Responding to a posting, or commenting is just like responding or replying to a message in WebCT.  To do so, you simply need to look for a link at the bottom of the original posting that will either indicate that there are comments or that there are no comments.  When you click on that link, you will then see a template that allows you to enter in your own comments.  Simply fill in your comments in the provided text field and then submit.  Your comment will then be connected to the original posting and will form part of the thread of comments that will grow as others also respond to the original posting.  We have installed a plug-in that also allows us to achieve a bit of nesting of the comments within the weblog, so you will see a reply to a comment connected, visually, rather than just added to the bottom of the list of comments.  Once you try out commenting a few times, you will quickly get the hang of it!

Communicating with Your Instructors

We have set up a “Questions & Answers” category for you to use to ask any general or content related questions that you might have.  Use this category to post such questions and your instructors (or other students in the course) will respond.  If you want to contact your instructors directly, send an email to:

David Porter <>  and David Vogt <>

Updating your Profile and Creating your Avatar

Please check that your profile information is correct by clicking on “Profile” in the drop-down menu and then selecting “Your Profile”.  On this page, you can update your email address, as well as link in any other information about yourself that you might want to share with students in the course.  Don’t forget to click on “Update Profile” on the bottom of the page if you have made any changes.

WordPress also allows you to set an avatar (a virtual image for yourself) so that any postings you made will also display the image.  You can use a picture of yourself or any other image that you want.  To set your avatar, click on “Profile” in the drop-down menu and then select “Your Avatar”.  You will be asked to Browse for an image on your own computer and then to upload it to WordPress.  Once you have done that, you will see your image when you login.