Your Very Own WordPress Blog

To start off the class, you will all be creating your own course blogs.

The blogs will help you to track your thoughts throughout the quarter, allow you to reflect on readings and class discussions and the writing you are producing, and give you an outlet to share your writing with a real audience that will provide authentic feedback. Much of your work this quarter will be completed and posted on your individual WordPress.com blogs.

To get started, watch the following video by Professor Torgerson at St. John’s University on setting up a WordPress blog.

For specific instructions on how to sign up for a WordPress.com blog, see the video below and follow the instructions underneath.

CTEC 280 How to start a WordPress.com site from Lorelle VanFossen

The class blog you will be creating is for you during these English courses. You may wish to continue it after the course as a personal, portfolio, or professional site. During the course, it will hold your thoughts and homework assignments, which may be removed or edited after the course to be more in line with your long-term site goals.

Note: During the class, it is highly recommended that you use Firefox or Chrome as your web browser. There are Windows and Mac versions of each.

Here is the step-by-step process.

  1. Choose a Site Name: There are two aspects to choosing a site name. There is the name of the site, called the Site Title, and the address of your site.
    • Site Title: For the title of your site, choose a title that reflects you as a writer and thinker. An example is InkSpeare, a cool name for a blog. It can be your name, but use a little imagination for your site title.
    • Site Address: WordPress.com addresses follow the pattern of a subdomain such as lorelle.wordpress.com or summerschoolrule2013.wordpress.com. You may use your name, your initials, or the site title for the subdomain part of the address. If that name is taken, you may change it or add numbers such as I did with the year.
  2. To create your site, you need to register on WordPress.com.
    1. Follow the instructions for the free blog.
    2. Verify your registration in your email inbox.
    3. Click the link that will take you to your new site and login.
      • Logging Into WordPress.com: To log into your WordPress.com site, simply type login at the end of your site address in the address bar of your web browser. If your site features the Meta Widget in the sidebar, you may also click the login link there.
      • In English 101, Jen will model the process of signing up and logging in. In English 102, we will complete this process together in the computer lab.
  3. Add Your Site to the List: To receive your participation points for creating your blog, please post your blog address on the “Student Blogs” Page in the comments. Please be sure you put your name and your section number with the complete URL. If you are unfamiliar with posting links, see this article on the proper way to publish links.
  4. Create an Identity: On your site, go to the Administration Screens (backend – through the Admin Bar at the top, hover over your site title and click “Dashboard” or one of the other options in the list) and go to Users > My Profile and fill in the information.
    1. Write a short paragraph about who you are in the About You section.
    2. Click the Gravatar icon and upload an image of yourself. When you comment on a WordPress blog, the image will appear in the comments. The image is linked to the email address you used to register your site.
    3. Click Update Profile to save the information.
  5. Homework Assignments: During the class you will be asked to do homework assignments on your blog. All homework assignments must be in the “Homework” category to be graded. To create a post category in WordPress, see the Categories tutorial.
  6. Design: So everyone starts off on the same foot, all students will be using the Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme. Go to the backend (Administration Screens) to Appearance > Themes and search for “twenty” and choose the Twenty-Eleven WordPress Theme and activate it. As we go through class, show off your creativity by customizing the look of your site’s header art, background colors, and the other customization features available for that Theme.
  7. Follow: At the top of this site, if you are logged in you will see a black bar with the name of this site, Jennifer Whetham’s Summer Courses at Clark 2013. Next to it is a linked button which says “Follow.” Click this to add this site to your WordPress.com Reader, a feed reader built into WordPress.com. When you get the list of the other student sites, add them. When a site is updated, you will receive an email notification (check Email Notifications settings) and be easily able to track updates from this site and your fellow students on the WordPress.com Reader.
    Follow link button on WordPress.com admin bar.

What You Are Going to Learn in This Course

We’ve an exciting class ahead of us. It is highly interactive, tapping into your creativity as well as your creative writing skills and talents.

As we move through the quarter, Jen will be giving you instructions regarding developing your blogs including the About Page, Categories versus Tags, the Contact Page, how to comment on the blogs, and how to participate in the larger conversation such as using feeds, integrating your blog into the social web, and how to build a community around your blog.

The following are resources you may need to help you develop your blog and learn more about how to use WordPress.com.

  • How to Blog:

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