Typepad for Education - an idea

  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Under Consideration
I set up our school website (http://www.porchester.notts.sch.uk) a while ago using Typepad as we wanted a dynamic site that constantly (and easily) updated, would allow parents and pupils to comment and interact on it, and would be easy to grab a feed from.
We now have every pupil in school using a blog (learning space) too - Typepad, naturally! - and currently we have around 200 learning spaces (150 active, 50 from previous pupils that we have archived).

It is a long and drawn out process of setting each child up with their learning space - create it / name it / theme it / remove unwanted categories / add relevant categories / invite author (pupil) / go into their school email to accept invitation / set up Typepad account... Each blog set up takes between 15 - 20 minutes on a good day.

I'd like to recommend other schools go down the same route as us, but cannot see them being happy at having to do so much work. It would be a much easier sell this to other schools if the administrator had...

* An overview of ALL blogs on one page with radio button options to "make global changes to selected blogs" including design changes / enabling comments / enabling twitter feeds / etc

* The ability to post an initial global welcome message (as admin) to all selected blogs from admin account

* The ability to delete selected blog authors in one go (once pupils have left us)

* The ability to set up bulk blogs using a .csv / excel file that includes...

1. Name of blog

2. Blog url

3. Design style

4. Additional author name

5. Additional author email

6. Password

* A way to link to a single mobile CSS stylesheet for all pupil spaces rather than have to manually upload the CSS file to each and every pupil blog folder in the File Manager area.

* The ability to allow comments only from registered users within the school account (ie no external commenting that could be unsuitable) by having an "allow comments from white list" option - where only pupil email addresses are listed.

* A simplified login page (or embeddable widget) for pupils that only offers them username / password, and no access to other peoples blogs / the QotD (imagine how awkard it would be to explain to a parent if an unsuitable question popped up)

Sorry for the long list, but for education users these features would be awesome, and I'm sure it would tempt more schools towards the Typepad blogging solution.

Simon Widdowson, Champion

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  • frustrated

Posted 3 years ago

  • 1

Kymberlie, Official Rep

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Hi Simon,

Thank you very much for taking the time to lay all of this out for us.

We appreciate you letting us know how to improve TypePad for you and for other schools and we'll keep these in mind for possible future changes.

Thanks,
Kymberlie

Jeff Reine

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Thanks, Simon. This is very thoughtful. We have Portal accounts that include some of this functionality. Typically these are deployed to large white-label partners, but I can imagine how they would be useful to schools. I think I have your email so let's pick this up that way.

Simon Widdowson, Champion

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Is there any movement on this Jeff / Kymberlie / Melanie? We'll be adding another 'batch' of pupils after July, and it would be brilliant to be able to deploy quickly, rather than one by one.

Jen, Typepad Support Engineer

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Hi Simon! We don't have an update right now, but we'll let the team know you're still interested in this functionality.

Simon Widdowson, Champion

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Just noticed that this topic now says 'implemented' - can I ask which part of the original suggestion it refers to?

I'd still love to see a bulk users option as I detailed above being possible, just to save me time when setting up pupil spaces.

Kymberlie, Official Rep

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Hi Simon,

Thanks for checking, but this should actually say "Under Consideration," so we've set that status back.

Thanks,
Kymberlie

Alex Sirota, Champion

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This is a terrific idea and not just for schools. It is very important for VARs like NewPath Consulting where they have to manage a lot of blogs/websites on behalf of our clients. Delegating administrative control after setup of a blog is critical and right now the idea of guest/junior author just doesn't do it, although I can see how this could work with schools to limit the functionality you give them.

The general idea is that you want to "program" typepad to do a set of steps automatically in the interface, over and over again, like a macro. Or use the import via file approach to enable/disable certain features.

This sounds like a big deal, and the Portal version of TypePad sounds interesting. Why is it not available on a more general basis? Or what is the threshold that is required to check out that feature set?

Melanie, Community Manager

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Hi Alex! It's good to know you're interested! As Jeff mentioned, these Portal accounts are only used by very specific people, so they're not generally available to everyone. If you'd like more information on how your company can be involved though, we can get someone to follow up with you personally!

Simon Widdowson, Champion

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Another summer break, and another time to spend creating pupil blogs one by one by one by one....

[repeat forever]
Create a pupil blog, set the design, delete the default categories, add the new categories, set comments to off, invite an author, accept the invite...
[never end]

!!

Any progress on the bulk creation idea?

Melanie, Community Manager

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Hi Simon!

The main issue with bulk-creation of blogs is that spammers would undoubtedly use the tool nefariously. We work so hard to fight against spam, and that includes the creation of spam blogs, which have the potential to suck up server space that belongs to our legitimate bloggers. It's unlikely that we would implement a bulk creation tool for this reason, and I hope that makes sense!

Cheers,
Melanie

Simon Widdowson, Champion

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Thanks for the reply Melanie, I can understand the issue with spammers abusing any bulk creation feature (I just think back to the issue with followers and free accounts a while back), but can't a trusted, long time user request access to such a hidden facility / service?
We've had the school account for 5 years now, and I've personally been with Typepad since the beginning. I'd imagine that has to put our account(s) in good standing!

Alex Sirota, Champion

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Oh and I suggest recording each one of your steps in [repeat forever] loop separately, and then you can chain them together in the simple scripting language imacros generate. It is way cool!

Alex Sirota, Champion

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Simon,

Have you heard of imacros? A great plugin for firefox for browser automation. Don't wait for typepad to implement your idea. Automate it yourself!

http://www.iopus.com/imacros/

Simon Widdowson, Champion

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Just looked at it - it looks like it might do the job, but the one problem is the cost. There's no way I could justify buying it at that price - that's half my software budget for an entire financial year!

Alex Sirota, Champion

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The add on for Firefox and IE are free though (although not as feature rich, they still do the automation you need, I promise) -- check it out at http://www.iopus.com/imacros/compare/ and here's the Firefox plugin download link

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/fire...