Since we will be working within blogs for much of our class work, here are some things to consider, as well as other general information. Since most of you have WordPress, I have made my comments specific for that site. There are many help sites available, or I have a WordPress for Dummies resource book in my office. Despite the name, it is very helpful!
- These blogs are an extension of you, the visible part of an online class. Since our textbook asks “who are you” and spends the first chapter discussing online personalities, I want you to think about how you want this blog to look and feel. Spend time with the templates (and customize them, if you wish), and decide on the voice you wish to cultivate with your words.
- Brand new blogs come with existing pages and posts, largely generic. Delete these to make your own, or “edit” them to add your own information. I encourage everyone to do an “About” page with a brief bio or even a picture to help us get to know each other.
- Online writing activities require different types of blog posts. Consider how you will organize your blog – will you use “categories” or “tags” for each blog post to help you separate the types? These will be choices on the right side of each “add new post” page. For example, you can simply create a “Reaction” category for the responses you write for the textbook.
- You will respond to your classmates’ blogs, and they will respond to yours. Make sure you have enabled comments! You can find this feature in the “Settings” menu, on the left side of the WordPress Dashboard page.
- Some comments may accidentally get stuck in spam, so make sure you check your account frequently to see if any comments are being held.
- Make sure you look through other “Settings” – especially “General.” If your template gives you a timezone option, pick New York or other city in Eastern timezone; otherwise, it will look as if you are posting after the deadline if we are not all in the same timezone.
- There is a difference between Posts and Pages. Posts will appear on the main or homepage, and unless you change the automatic setting, new posts will appear at the top. I recommend creating new pages for the assignments – this will make them easier to find and easier for you to organize.
- Templates offer a number of options, but you should be aware that templates are created to emphasize some features above others: menus on the top versus the side of the page, widgets of particular types, etc. For example, if you want to add your own links or blogroll widget, make sure your template supports that! You can add widgets (which are simply applications that allow you to do certain things within the blog) from the “Appearance” menu.
As issues come up this summer, I will add to this list!
Here are some links for additional help, including tips for creating good blog content: