Tips and Tricks for Faculty

Blog Layout and Structure

Sticky posts

You can “stick” a post to the top of your blog so it remains at the top even after you add new posts.  This can come in handy for active course blogs if you want to keep an announcement or assignment at the top of the page.  You can always “unstick” a post at any time.

You can make a post sticky in the Publish box on the Add or Edit Post screen.  On your Dashboard, go to Posts > Add New, or Posts > All Posts to either add or edit a post.

In the Publish box, click on the Edit link next to Visibility to expand the options, and check “Stick this post to the front page.”  Click OK to save.

Adding structure to your blog using Categories and Tags

Using categories is a great way to create a taxonomy to organize the content on your blog, making information easier to find.  You can assign categories, for example, based on broad content themes, course assignments, and tasks, allowing these posts to be grouped together with others that are similar.

Tags also provide you with a way to group information, but are narrower in scope than categories.  Blogs generally have many more tags than categories.  One way you might use tags on a single course blog for example, is to require that students use particular categories but have them add their own tags to contextualize their posts with keywords.

Custom Menus

Custom menus allow you to change the navigation options on your site (the links to the different pages on your blog that usually appear in the header along the top).  Using custom menus you can create drop-down menus with sub-pages, link to an external site, change the order in which your links appear, and create category archive pages (pages that aggregate all posts in a particular category).  See more here.

Helpful Widgets

Below are some widgets that might be useful for course blogs.  Click here for instructions on adding widgets to your sidebar.

Recent Comments and Recent Posts

These widgets do exactly what you would expect them to: display a list of recent comments and posts in your sidebar.  It’s a good way to provide a sense of the discussion and interaction taking place on the blog.

Text Widget

You can use the text widget to add custom text to your sidebar, such as a course description, contact information, or any other text you might want to include on the home page.

Once you drag the the text widget to your sidebar (see instructions here), you will see additional options.  Type in a title and the text you want to include.  Be sure to check “Automatically add paragraphs” at the bottom if you want it to include line breaks.  Then, click Save.

RSS widget

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” and it is an easy way to pull content from a news site, blog, or other content source.  You can use the RSS Widget to include an RSS feed from a site that’s relevant to your course.

Do you have any additional tips or tricks you’d like to add?  Leave them as a comment on this page!

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