We were pretty much ready to release Manila 9.6
this week, but have decided to hold it up to add a feature. The new 9.6
feature is all about moderation. Not the kind that overtakes you after
you turn 30, but the blog software side of moderation - the ability to
review / comment on items and then approve them for publcation.
This is an important issue for many educators using blog technology in
the classroom and revolves around the ability to protect and insulate
the student's work from criticism - especially the destructive kind -
before its released to the class or the school in general. As such the
teacher needs the ability to review a students work and comment /
advise before its published. This iterative process may require several
cycles before the work is ready for prime time. While an editorial
oversight process is pretty different from the way most blog software
behaves, its crucially important for academic blogging applications.
So for Manila 9.6 we will provide the ability for a Managing Editor
to moderate and approve material before its published to a wider
audience. On a site with this feature enabled, all items the students
create will be "pending" items. Pending items can only be seen and
edited by the creator and the Managing Editor. To simplify the process
of collecting and reviewing "pending" items, they will be collected for
review on a single page by the site's Managing Editor (the teacher).
The "pending items" page will list the author, department/category,
date created, date last edited and by whom, a checkbox to delete the
item, and a button to "publish" the item to the home page.
Clicking on the individual item's link in the Pending Items page allows
the Managing Editor to edit the item or submit feedback. Any item
on that site must be "approved" before it can be posted to the home
page. This way the material on each students blog can be reviewed and
"approved" prior to being published. We think this will be a great
incentive to get more teachers comfortable with the idea of using blogs
in the classroom for writing assignments and other class projects.
We should have a screenshot ready soon as well as a post with some more detail for the UserLand Blog.