How to set up student Google Sites Follow

Note: Due to limited API access, Hāpara cannot support creation of new version Google Sites, but does support Classic Google Sites. Please re-enable Classic Sites before completing the below steps.

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How to create student sites through Hāpara

Hāpara can automatically create sites for students by copying Google Sites. Students' sites are owned by the teachers for a class and shared with students as editors, so teachers can moderate activity when needed.

1. Creating a Source Site

  1. Choose to create or copy a site in Google Sites.
  2. Select a name for your source site.
    Example: Portfolio 2
    When sites are copied, students' names are appended to the site name.
    Example: Portfolio 2 - Max Sharkey
  3. In the Site Location box, type "template-" before the page name.
    Example: template-portfolio-2
  4. To ensure that copied sites remain manageable in a teacher's account, click More Options and add a category to your source site.
    Example: ePortfolios
  5. Create the site.
  6. Open the source site and share it with your school's Institutional Content Owner user as an owner.
    • At most schools, this user is school.apps.owner@<your_domain>.
    • If your school uses Domain Management, please share your source site with any relevant school-specific Institutional Content Owners.

  7. Edit the site until it is set up the way you want students to receive it. Students can keep editing their sites, so it can be very basic. If you would like to use Google Analytics for student sites, then set that up now. Those settings will be carried over to copied student sites. To learn more, please see this article from Google.
  8. Save the site. Your site is ready to be copied for students! 

2. Warnings before copying student sites

  • Sites cannot be deleted programmatically, so revisit source sites before copying them to ensure that content, links, and navigation are correct.
  • This process may add hundreds of sites to a teacher's Google Sites view. Please use the categories view to make it manageable. Student sites can also be opened directly from Hāpara Dashboard, and that is often the easiest path.
  • By default, student site URLs include students' usernames. If you would prefer to anonymize student site URLs, please see read the Anonymizing student site URLS section. 

3. Copying a source site for students

  1. Add the column-header Student Site to your classes spreadsheet.
  2. For each class that should have a site, remove 'template-' from the source site's URL and type the remaining value into the Student Site column.

    Example: If the template site URL is 'template-portfolio-2', then put 'portfolio-2' in this column.

    Note that different classes can use different source sites. If a class does not need a site, then leave the cell blank
  3. Reload your classes spreadsheet
  4. While the classes spreadsheet is loading, ensure Classic Sites have been enabled
  5. When your class load is complete, run the script xfix_rejoin_all_sites to copy student sites:
    • Log into your Hāpara Admin Console.
    • Go to Scripting > Run a script.
    • Type xfix_rejoin_all_sites into the Script Name field.
    • Click Start script. This process may take some time, especially if many sites must be made.

This will initiate Google site creation processes for all sites in the domain. If you'd only like to create sites for specific students please submit a Hāpara Support request advising the student emails you'd like sites created for.


Showing activity from all student sites

The easiest way to show student site activity in Hāpara Dashboard is to show all activity across all Google Sites that a student can edit. To make a class show all Google Site activity:

  1. Add a Student Site column to your classes spreadsheet.
  2. For each class that should show all Google Site activity, put the value "any" in this column.
  3. Reload your Classes spreadsheet.


Showing activity from a single student site

Hapara Dashboard can also show activity from a single site, by using a specific configured value to identify student sites by their URLs.

Existing site requirements

To show existing sites, each Google Site must meet these criteria:

  • The site identifier for each site must start with a common prefix. You will specify this value in the Student Site column for a class. To change the URL of a Google Site, please see this section.

    Google Site URLs and Site Identifiers:

    Google Sites URLs follow this format:<domain_name>/<site_ID>

    For existing sites to be shown in Hāpara Dashboard, the <site_ID> in each student's site URL must begin with a common prefix.

    Max's site is
    Casey's site is
    The common prefix for these sites is eportfolio.

  • Each student must only have edit rights to one Google Site with the site prefix.

  • The site must be shared with your Institutional Content Owner.
    In most cases, this is school.apps.owner@<your_domain>.

To show activity from a single student site:

  1. Add the column header Student Site to your classes spreadsheet.
  2. Populate this column with the site identifier prefix used to identify each student's site.
  3. Reload your Classes spreadsheet.

Changing Google Site URLs

Unlike student blogs, Google Site URLs can't be changed by simply editing their URLs. A site must be copied to a new location to change its URL.

To copy a Google Site:

  1. Click the More actions drop-down menu.
  2. Click Manage site.

  3. Under the Site settings section, click General.
  4. Click Copy this Site.

  5. Enter the site name.
  6. Click Copy site.

Anonymizing student site URLs

By default, Hāpara makes student site URLs by combining the template's name and a student's username.

template-portfolio for student john

This makes it easy to identify which student owns a site, but it exposes students' usernames. That may be undesirable if student sites will be publicly accessible.

Fortunately, though, Hāpara can anonymize URLs for student sites. This option can be enabled as follows:

  1. Log in to your Hāpara Admin Console.
  2. Go to Advanced Settings > Apps Options.
  3. Check the box next to Encode student sites URL's.

When enabled, student usernames are encoded to keep them from being obvious in a site's URL. This results in a different site URL:

template-portfolio for student john1fpx

Important notes:

  • This setting only affects sites copied after the setting has been enabled.
  • This setting is applied domain-wide, so either all student site URLs are encoded or none are.
  • If this setting is enabled after sites have been copied, then those sites will not be accessible through Hapara Dashboard, so we do not advise changing this setting once you have created student sites.
Have more questions? Submit a request