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By posting a brief description of weekly GIS assignments, students share their experience with fellow classmates, other GIS enthusiasts, and earn participation points in our GIS courses. By the end of their coursework, our students will have created a sort of GIS Journal or portfolio showcasing examples of work completed for all their GIS courses.

Utilizing a personal blog to share work is a great way to view classmate’s maps, see how others complete the same task (for style), provide feedback to fellow students’ work, build a sense of community, and ultimately help each other make better end-products. It is important for our students to practice communicating what they did, why they did it and what information is displayed on their map clearly and succinctly. In this guide we will help students make the most of their blogging experience with sections on how to make a blog post with an image, how to use a label gadget and some blog best practices. 

Essential Skills

How to make a blog post with an image

1. In your blog dashboard, click the "New Post" button in the bottom right. It is an orange circle with while plus in it. 

New Post button

2. Give your new post a title. Include a brief statement about your map.

3. Select the insert image icon. Most of the time you'll want to Upload from computer

Adding image to new blogger post

4. Select Choose Files, navigate to your locally stored image, select it and hit open. Then OK. Select the image you added and then click Select. 

Add Images

5. Your image should appear with your text. Click on the image itself to change the image size and position if you would like to. 

Image editing properties in blogger

6. Before you select Publish, make sure to add a label to your posting. This should be either the class name or the class number. 

Adding Label to blogger post

7. Select Publish when you are finished.

Publish button

How to use the label gadget

Blogs need to be organized so that instructors and visitors can find your posts easily by course. To do this, you need to use the label gadget.

1. After creating your blog, go to the ‘Layout’ menu.

layout option

2. Choose to ‘Add a Gadget’.

add a gadget option

3. A new window pops up. Scroll down the list of basic gadgets until you find the ‘Label’ one. Click the + to add it to your blog.

label option

4. Configure your labels and save

configuring labels

5. When you make a post, be sure to label your post for the appropriate class. 

adding labels

6. After you’ve made a few posts your label section will look similar to this.

label section

Blog Best Practices

It is important to be able to communicate what you did, why you did, and what information are you displaying with your map. There is no need to write a five paragraph essay with your blog posts, but they should follow any special instructions given in the assignment for the post and summarize what you are learning in class that week and explain your map. Being able to explain what you did is important so your instructors know you’ve understood what they are teaching and it gives you practice so that when you get a job in the GIS field, you are able to explain your work to your supervisor. Here are some examples of blog posts that we like:

In the title of this post, the student included the class, which Module/Week, and the title of the lab. In the post, the student began with a short introduction, moved into some of what they learned that week, and finished with what they did in class. A very good post! The student also included a label to the class it was for.

example of a good post

Again, this student included the class, week/module, and lab title in the title of the post. The student began with a brief introduction, told us why they were doing it, what they did, and what the end result is/what the map shows. Once again, the included a label for the correct class!

example of a good post


Your participation grade assessed in all GIS courses will suffer each week/assignment you don't post to your blog.

You only need one blog site.

Yes, you will use the same blog for all courses in the Online GIS Certificate program. Just make sure your instructors know what the link is (and that it shows up on the main course blog after the first two weeks of class). Instructors share a blog list to help streamline this process.

Add the label gadget to your blog. Label each post according to course title or course number it's for.

The Labels option will only appear when you are publishing a post. Just write a test message and select  a Label (or create a new one). Use "preview" to see the labels. Hit "Publish" when you are happy with your post.