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Best platform for class blog with email notification: P2 or something else?

  1. Hello, I'm looking for some advice about using P2 or an alternative platform for a private blog for my students to keep the conversation from class going between face-to-face sessions.

    I am thinking of using the P2 theme for two reasons. First, P2 can be configured as a private blog which is important because I want students to be able to explore their ideas as a community without worry about outside judgement or exposure. Second, P2 can be configured to send students email alerts for new posts.

    Privacy:
    None of my students have WordPress accounts yet, so I think I will have to have them each create a WP account so they can access the site, then add each one as an "author." Is there another platform that makes it easier to have security — that would allow students to log in, for instance, with an existing gmail account?

    Alerts:
    P2 currently allows users to subscribe to a blog and get notices of posts by email. This is great because students won't even need to sign in to yet another site to keep up with new posts. But: Alerts for new comments is not yet supported, so students cannot keep up with the conversation. Unless they sign in to the site they won't even know it is happening. These students are already required to use Desire2Learn (d2l), a learning management systems like Blackboard, so I'd be foolish to expect them to learn to navigate and monitor one more site.

    I have read that alerts for comments "is coming," but I don't know when. Does anyone know of an alternative that already has these features integrated?

    I hope developers will take note that there is great potential here for powerful software and that there is a need for this kind of product for educators and students.

    The blog I need help with is wcupa.wordpress.com.

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