Have a question? It might be answered in our FAQ.
What is an academic blog and what would I use it for?
Academic Blogging is the use of blogging within Higher Education by both staff and students. It encompasses a broad range of use cases, including accredited learning and teaching activities, research engagement, personal academic / professional development blogs, or showcasing aspects of life at the University.
This service uses a broad definition of ‘blogging’ including individual reflective writing, writing for public audiences, group blogging, showcasing project work, and multi-modal blogging. Multi-modal blogging could include activities such as students collaborating to curate collections of non-text artefacts (image, video etc.) or annotating text or other digital artefacts. As far as possible the service supports a range of reflective, creative activities that encompass the breadth of subject areas across which we work.
Visit some successful academic blogs such as Thinking Out Loud, Teaching Matters and Student Stories.
Do I have to be an academic to get a blog?
No, any member of staff or any postgraduate research student can request a blog. If you are wondering which blogging platform would be best, consult our comparative matrix or look at our interactive decision tree to get tailored advice.
If you are an undergraduate student or a taught postgraduate student, you can get a PebblePad blog.
How can I get a blog?
Setting up a blog is simple, either immediately via an online form, or via an integration from our centrally supported VLEs. This will depend on which blogging platform you are entitled to, or want to request.
There are various blogging platforms available to you: blogs.ed.ac.uk, Customised blogs, DIY blogs and DOOO blogs [coming soon] as well as PebblePad and VLE Blogs.
Your access to these platforms depends on who you are, the content you want to produce and the tools you require. Consult our interactive decision tree to find out which platform is best for you. If you prefer to know what they all offer, you can look at our comparative matrix.
A request form or link to applications is available on each of our blogs pages.
What am I allowed to write about?
As this is academic blogging, the content you produce must be linked to University life and its projects. Advice on how to write for the web can be found on our 'how to write an engaging blog' page.
I've never had a blog before: will this be a problem?
Not at all. Most of our blogging platforms are intuitive and user friendly. We have put a variety of help resources at your disposal to assist you during the process of creating your blog. To get technical advice on your chosen platform, consult its dedicated service page in either Blogging for staff, or Blogging for students.
If you want advice tailored to writing blog content and how to write effectively for online readers, you can turn to our 'how to write an engaging blog' page.
Who can see my blog and blog posts?
You decide, depending on the nature of your blog; whether external people can see it and whether it is private to you or to University members. Consult specific service pages for details.
If you have created a blog with blogs.ed.ac.uk then your blog will be private by default. However, you will have the opportunity to alter this in your settings.
Other modifiable options include the choice for your blog to be indexed by search engines or integrated with social media tools.
Can I change my blog's domain name?
If you have created a blog with PebblePad or a VLE, you will not be able to modify your blog's domain name.
If you have created a blog with blogs.ed.ac.uk you will not be able to modify your domain name. This is what appears in your blog's web address. However, you can always modify your blog title. For instance, if you decide to call your blog The Study of Confucius, you might not be able to have https://study-of-confucius.ed.ac.uk (for example) as your web address. You can however have something like: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/study-of-confucius. [no dashes or underscores in name at the moment]
Customised, DIY and DOOO blogs give you the choice to remain with ed.ac.uk or use another domain of choice which can, in some cases, come at a cost.
If you want more information on domain names and web addresses, please feel free to contact the IS Helpline.
How do I change the look of my blog?
Options available to you in terms of customisation will depend on the platform you choose to use:
- Both Blackboard Learn and Moodle offer very limited customisation.
- To read more about how to change appearance in PebblePad, consult our PebblePad service page.
- blogs.ed.ac.uk offers a variety of themes and colour options: consult our tailored page for more information about the appearance of blogs.ed.ac.uk.
- Customised blogs offer bespoke development and personalisation. One of our specialists will set it up for you. Find out more about customised blogs.
- DIY blogs' customisation also rely on WordPress, but they are more developped than for blogs.ed.ac.uk. Read our service page about DIY blogs for more information.
How do I report something that seems offensive/unusual?
This depends on the type of blog you have requested. For blogs.ed.ac.uk, there is a ‘Report a Page’ link in the footer of every page which lets you report on a page or content that you believe is inappropriate, offensive, or breaches copyright. Please see Take Down Policy for more details. For VLEs or PebblePad, please report to staff on the course or contact the IS Helpline.
Where can I turn if I need more help?
If you haven’t found the answer to a question here, have a look at our Blogging Help and Support page or contact the IS Helpline.