Tracking student blogs using Google Spreadsheets and WordPress

I’m currently teaching a first year module on Open Source Software, one of the requirements for which is students write their findings up as blog posts. For that reason I thought it might be useful to be able to keep track of how much my students have been writing. Given there are 80 students on the module, some automation here would also be useful! I remembered an impressive set of techniques developed by Martin Hawksey for tracking Jisc project blogs, and so I decided to use these as a starting point.