Setting Up a Free CMS Course
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Setting Up a Free CMS Course

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Outlines the steps for setting up a blog for an online course using WordPress.com as an example.

Outlines the steps for setting up a blog for an online course using WordPress.com as an example.

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  • 1. Setting up a course in WordPress.com Sean Cordes Assistant Professor Western Illinois University
  • 2. WordPress
    • WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.
    • www.wordpress.com
  • 3. Examples
    • History http://milliganinfotoday.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/hist-332-%E2%80%93-history-of-modern-france/
    • English http://klamkins.wordpress.com/eng-043/
    • Art http://wanewartmedia.wordpress.com/in-class-projects/
  • 4. GH301
    • WordPress site for WIU Honors Course in 21 st Century Literacy http://gh301.wordpress.com/ http://www.wordpress.com/
  • 5. Getting Started - Course Content
    • Develop your content for the course.
    • It is important to create the entire course in a word processing program first.
    • What you might include:
      • readings and assignments,
      • links to Websites,
      • discussion questions,
      • an area to post grades,
      • instructions for students.
  • 6. Getting Started-The Web Site
    • Open a new blog on WordPress.com (or other free blog hosting site).
    • Create the first page of the blog. This will be the landing page for your students so include the course description here as well as instructions about how to access the remainder of the course.
    • The content on this page is considered to be static, it should not change after the course starts.
  • 7. The Home Page
    • When you are on the editing site for this first page there are some things to remember to do:
      • 1. Password protect the page to make sure that no-one can access the site without your permission.
      • 2. Turn off the comments part of the page. You want to contain the comments in specific pages set up for discussion.
      • 3. Post your photo and contact information on this first page, which is usually called the Home page of the blog.
  • 8. Course Pages-Content Overview
    • Start a new page for the content of the first section of the class.
      • Title this page something like “Course Content." This is main section for putting content under.
      • The page is basically like a Syllabus. It should include a course description, the objective, the deliverables which includes the activities and assessments.
      • This is also a static page, so disable the comments section and password protect the page as well. You can set either the same password as for the home page or a different one.
  • 9. Course Pages-Add Content
    • Make a series of static pages so you can post any reading material, assignments, or lecture, or lectures you have created for the course.
      • Turn off the comments on these page as well, as you are simply presenting material for the students to access.
      • WordPress allows you to set a hierarchy for presenting the pages, so set this page with the previous page as its parent page. That way this page will not show up on the top menu bar, but it will appear under the Course Content page in the list of pages on the navigation.
  • 10. Course Pages-Collaboration
    • Set up some discussion question pages.
      • Use one new page for each discussion question and leave the comments area open. This is where the action of the class will be.
      • Set each discussion page with the appropriate Section page as its parent so it only appears in the list of pages under the appropriate section. Title each page with the number of the Discussion Question (DQ1, DQ2, etc.)
      • Your students will be able to easily navigate the different areas of the course this way. Set a password for every page, using the same one as the parent page. This will allow students to move around in each section without having to re-enter passwords.
  • 11. One More Page
    • Set up one final page, this one without a parent page so it will appear in the top menu bar. Title this one Introductions or Intros and Chat.
      • This is another discussion thread but one that can be accessed anytime during the course, so be sure to use the same password as on the home page.
      • Post a note asking students to introduce themselves and let them know that this is the area where they can chat with their classmates about any off-topic subjects just as if they were meeting in the hall before class.
      • Post your own short introduction on this page so students can get to know you.
  • 12. Resources
    • Themes http://greatwordpressthemes.com/
    • Training and Tutorials at Lynda.com http://www.lynda.com/home/DisplayCourse.aspx?lpk2=601
    • Support http://en.support.wordpress.com/
    • WordPress for iPhone http://iphone.wordpress.org/
  • 13. Other Options-Google Sites
    • Google Sites is the easiest way to make information accessible to people who need quick, up-to-date access.
    • People can work together on a Site to add file attachments, information from other Google applications (like Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube and Picasa), and new free-form content. Creating a site together is editing, and you always control who has access
    • www.sites.google.com
  • 14. Examples
    • Education http://sites.google.com/site/edps314001/Home
    • Statistics http://sites.google.com/site/stats202/
    • Communications http://sites.google.com/site/cmns455/
  • 15. Other Options-Edu20.org
    • EDU 2.0 is a free, web-hosted learning management system that allows anyone to create an online school in minutes. It's easy to use, comprehensive, and can be accessed from any web browser.
    • http://www.edu20.org/
    • http://winchester.edu20.org/site?password=demoteacher&userid=demoteacher
  • 16. Questions?
    • Thank You!
    • [email_address]
    • Slides available here:
    http://www.slideshare.net/cscordes/online-web-spaces-for-teaching-and-learning