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WordPress is an open-source platform that is used at Middlebury for individual blogs and as a content management system for creating web sites in general. Uses include journals, creative writing tools, and news publishing. You can log into the Middlebury instance of WordPress with your Middlebury username and password.
To log into WordPress at Middlebury, locate the “login” link on whatever blog you want to contribute to. If the blog has no “log in” link then go to: http://sites.middlebury.edu/wp-admin/. Type in your Midd username (first part of your email address before @middlebury.edu) and password (same password you use to log into Midd email).
You must have a Middlebury user account to create a WordPress blog. Here are the steps:
- go to the login page
- then go to the sign-up page to give your blog a name. Do not use “wp” at start of blog name.
To create a course site using WordPress, begin at the Course Hub. This will make it easy for your students to find the site, and it will automatically keep permissions up-to-date via the course roster.
WordPress sites can be organized in a variety of ways.
An author adds material to their blog by creating posts. Posts may be of any length, and can include text, audio and video. Once an post is created, it may be previewed, saved as unpublished, or save as published. Only published post will be seen by visitors. Posts can be edited after they are published. When posts are published they appear on the main page of your site in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent posts first).
Authors can also add content to their site by creating pages. Like posts, pages may be of any length and can include text, audio and video. When pages are published a link to them will be created either in the top navigation bar of the site or in the “Pages” widget in the site’s sidebar. You can change the order of pages on the menu by going into edit for a page and assigning a number in the order field.
Pages vs Posts
Many people new to WordPress are not sure of the difference between posts and pages and when to use each. Posts are dated and listed in reverse chronological order on your blog’s main page. Posts can be tagged and categorized.
Pages are not dated, cannot be tagged and are not displayed on your blogs main page. Instead a link to every page on your site can be displayed in your blog’s sidebar (using the Pages widget). Pages can be ordered hierarchically. When they are, your sidebar will display sub-pages below the page that is their parent. (see a list of the pages of this blog in the right sidebar)
For courses sites, it is recommended that instructors use pages for most information about the course, such as the course description, syllabus, schedule, requirements… etc. Use posts on course sites for announcements and discussion.
Categories and Tags
All posts can be assigned one or more categories and/or tags for use in a guided search. New categories can only be added by site administrators or editors and can be organized hierachically. New tags can be added by site administrators, editors and authors.
Themes allow you to adjust the look and functionality of a site. You can select a new theme for your site at any point; the appearance will change but the content will remain the same. Colors, layout, and navigational tools all can be different from one theme to the next. Find new themes in the Dashboard of your site, under “Appearance.”
Widgets are available to add character and functionality to the blog. Some widgets that are available include:
- Latest entries
- Creative Commons License
- Tag cloud
- Subscribe to feed
A feed widget can be added to create a list of links to any other blog or website that has an rss feed. Also, third party widgets can be added.
To change the way widgets are displayed on your blog, activate the Display Widgets plugin. More information about the Display Widgets plugin is here: WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Organize your Widgets with Display Widgets.
Plugins are features that are added to WordPress to expand its functionality. Some of the plugins we have added to WordPress at Middlebury have been highlighted in the LIS Blog. See Plugin Spotlight. Additionally, an overview of many plugins sorted by function is available in this wiki. Please review our WordPress plugin requests documentation prior to requesting the addition of any plugins to the system.