- 1 Blogging at Middlebury
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 New Blog Creation and Access
- 1.3 Access and Roles
- 1.4 Organization
- 1.5 Customization
- 1.6 Commenting
- 1.7 Adding Images
- 1.8 RSS and Subscribing
- 1.9 Podcasting
- 1.10 Liveblogging
- 1.11 Embedding Video
- 1.12 Access to Blogs
- 1.13 Removing a blog
- 1.14 WordPress at Middlebury
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 Midd instance of WordPress with your Midd 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).
New Blog Creation and Access
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.
For more information see: WordPress @ Middlebury
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 (see more at Group support added to WordPress).
Instructions are here Course Hub: Adding a Resource to Your Course Hub Site
Access and Roles
WordPress allows you to define who can access your blog/site (anyone, middlebury community, registered users, admins only( and what role individual users have (administrator, editor, author, contributor, subscriber)
Access to a given blog/site can be defined in Dashboard > Settings > Privacy. Here are the steps:
- Go to Dashboard
- Go to Settings > Reading > Site Visibility
- Specify which option best meets your needs
Access can also be restricted by adding password protection to posts or pages. Password protected posts/pages will only be accessible to blog/site administrators, editors, authors (of the post/page password-protected) or any site visitor who is given the password. Here's how to password protect a post/page:
- Add a new or edit an existing post or page
- In the Publish panel chose edit the "Visibility"
- Select Password protected and type in a password
- Click the "OK" button
- Click the "Publish" or "Update" button
WordPress allows you to add "users" to your blog/site and assign them roles (administrator, editor, author, contributor, subscriber). When you create a WordPress site, by default you will be the only person who can access it. Here are the steps for giving access to additional users:
- Browse to your blog
- Click on the Log In, using your Midd email name and password
- Click on Add New to pull down menu
- Click on User
- To add an individual, use the "Add An Individual User" window and type in either a person's name or username. To add a class, follow the instructions below.
- Begin typing in a name. Wait for a couple of seconds
- A list of names will appear. Choose the correct one.
- Use the drop down menu to give appropriate access
- Click on the ADD USER button.
Roles and access:
- Administrator - Somebody who has access to all the administration features
- Editor - Somebody who can publish and manage posts and pages as well as manage other users' posts, etc.
- Author - Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts
- Contributor - Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish them
- Subscriber - Somebody who can only manage their profile
[Alternatively, if you are adding group members as users (see below) then access to sites for your course can be managed in the same way that you manage access to your Courses Folders. This has the advantage of adding users once to give them permissions to any course platforms that need authorization. See Managing Access to Classes Folders and Other Folders on Middfiles.]
Adding Group Members as Users
Groups of users can be added to your WordPress site as well
- Go to your site Dashboard
- Go to Users > Add New
- Under "Add Users By Group" Type in the name of the group you want to add (i.e. span0101a-f11) and wait for this group to appear in the drop down list
- Chose a role for these group members and click the the “Add Group” button
Group synchronization details
By default, WordPress will keep the group in sync and add new group members to the site when they log in. Similarly, if users are removed from the group they will have their role in the WordPress site removed the next time they log in.
The group features in WordPress respect the highest role given to a user and will not reduce a user's role if a group they are a member of is added with a lower role.
Since users are only added to or removed from the site when they log in, the site's user-list may not fully reflect the current state of group-membership. If for some reason you need to fully update the user list, press the "Sync Now" button next to each group.
Stopping group synchronization
If you no longer wish to synchronize a particular group, there are two options:
- "Stop Syncing" which leaves all users in the user-list with their existing roles intact.
- "Stop Syncing and Remove Users" which will remove all users who were synced via the group and have not had their role changed.
Your own "administrator" role will not be removed even if you happen to be a member of the group that you are removing.
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
For more information of the difference between pages and pages, see:
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.
All the categories/tags on a site can be listed using the "tag cloud" or "categories" widgets. For more information about widgets, see:
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. In addition, plugins are documented here.
Blog Authors, Editors and Administrators
Visitors to a blog may leave a comment through the use of a simple web form. In most cases, this is a name, an email address, and the text of their comment. Authors may decide whether comments appear immediately on the blog, or if they are held until the author can read them.
Blog Visitors, Subscribers
To comment on a Midd WordPress blog, click on the link to comment (usually below the title of the post or below the post text). If you have a Middlebury user account and you see fields for name and email address, this indicates you should log in before you post. If you are NOT part of the Middlebury community (i.e. you don't have a Middlebury user account), you need to fill in your name and email address.
The "Media Add New" screen allows you to add images which can be used in posts/page on your site. It can also be used for other media, but video and audio are better included via MiddMedia, described in the section Embedding Video.
Uploading media from your local computer into the Media Library is quite simple. Two 'uploader' methods, Multi-File Uploader and Browser Uploader, are provided. The Multi-File Uploader is the primary method for adding media to the Media Library, but if doesn't work then click the "Browser Uploader" link to use the Browser Uploader.
Image File Size
All sites on our WordPress instance have a storage quota, somewhat erroneously named "Maximum upload file size". This is the total space allotted for file uploads.\
In order to remain within file size quotas, and as a matter of best practice for the web, files should be resized in image editing software.
A good rule of thumb is that image files should be .jpg, or .png files that are no larger than 100K. Image dimensions should be no larger than the visible screen when viewed at 100% scale, or 1:1 scale. If your image is larger than 100K, especially if it's 1M or more, or if your image exceeds the screens viewable area when viewed at 100%, you should resize the image in image editing software prior to uploading.
WordPress does not currently resize images for file size optimization, only for display on the screen. If you upload a 10M image, it will remain 10M and consume 10% of your storage quota.
RSS and Subscribing
WordPress supports both publishing its own content via RSS (really simple syndication) as well as accessing RSS feeds with widgets. Blogs are RSS feeds for posts/entries, comments, categories, tags and authors. Some blogs will display links to some of these feeds, most commonly, the feeds for posts and comments. How you subscribe to a feeds depends on how your browser and computer is configured to handle RSS. Some browsers may be configured such that when you click on an RSS feed link, you are given an option to chose what desktop or web application to use to read the feed.
Here is one way of subscribing to RSS feeds that will work on nearly all browsers/computers:
- Locate the link to the RSS feed you want to subscribe to
- Right click (or control click) on on the RSS link and chose "Copy Link Location" or "Copy Link" or "Copy Shortcut."
- Open you favorite RSS Reader (or try Google Reader), and find the "add subscription" or "subscribe" link or button
- Paste the RSS link url you copied above and click "add" or "save" button/link
The url (web address) of RSS feeds in WordPress follow a common syntax. Thus if the blog you want to subscribe to doesn't display RSS feed links, you can always figure out what they are by using the following convention:
Post Comments RSS:
Best way to get these urls is to go to the blog page that has the content you want to subscribe to and add "/feed" to the end of the url.
Subscribing to Private Blogs
When you are logged in and viewing a private blog, the RSS feed links contain a special key unique to you and the blog that gives your reader access to the feed. There is nothing special you need to do, just subscribe as usual and feeds from private blogs will now work without redirecting your reader to the login page.
Q. Oops, I sent my private feed link to everyone! Now what?
A. If you accidentally share your personal feed link with others, you can go to your profile page and revoke your key for the blog in question.
Q. If someone finds out my key, can they use it to access my other sites?
A. No, keys are per-user and per-site.
Q. I removed a user from my private site, will they still see updates?
A. No, the feed keys just authenticate the user, they still are checked against the subscriber list before showing them content.
Q. Will my feed key let me edit without logging in?
A. No, the key only grants access to feeds, nothing more.
Links to audio files in a WordPress entry will appear in the RSS feed. Visitors may subscribe to this feed as a podcast. To set up your WordPress blog to function as a podcast, do the following:
- Log into your Blog
- Click on the Plugins link in the upper righthand corner
- Chose to Activate the Audio Player plugin
- Click on links to Write > Post
- Give you post a title and add text (describing your podcast post)
- Click on the Add Media "starburst" in the post editor
- Click on the MiddMedia tab
- Chose to show files in your MiddMedia or Upload a new file to MiddMedia
- Click on the "use" button for the file you want to use in your post
- Click on the Publish button to publish your podcast post
Liveblogging is the practice of covering an event as it happens on your blog. Rather than a composed post that covers your thoughts on a subject and is published once, a live blog post is updated with snippets of your thoughts on the event as it occurs. Common uses of liveblogging are covering a speech, television show, or sporting event. The practice allows the author to interact with their readers in real time via comments on the live blog post.
To do liveblogging on your site, activate the Liveblog plugin. More information about the Liveblog plugin is here: WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Liveblog.
Wordpress allows users two different methods to embed web-based and locally hosted video into their site.
To Embed Web Based Video (YouTube, Vimeo, etc)
- Log into your blog and navigate to the page or post where you would like to embed the video.
- In another window copy the URL of the video that you wish to embed on your page.
- Return to your blog and paste the URL into the text box of your page and post. The size of the video will vary based on your theme.
- Click Publish or Update and preview your post/page to view the embedded video.
To Embed Video from MiddMedia
- Log into your blog and navigate to the page or post where you would like to embed the video from MiddMedia.
- Click the Add Media button below the page/post title field.
- Select MiddMedia from the column on the left hand side of your screen.
- Enter the video width and height (in pixels) that you would like to use. Then click the Show Files button next to your username. (Note that by clicking the down arrow next to your username you can select alternate groups that you have access to.)
- Locate the video that you wish to use and click the Use button to the left of the video screen shot.
- You will return to the edit screen where you can now Publish or Update the page and view your embedded MiddMedia video.
Access to Blogs
A visitor can view all published entries in a blog. Unpublished entries may have a scheduled publishing date, or they may be manually published.
A blog owner may allow, or not allow comments on their blog.
To limit blog access just to students enrolled in a class, do the following:
- Go the "dashboard" of your blog (you'll need to log in and click on link to site admin or one of the links in the upper right corner.
- Click on the link to privacy under Settings (in the right sidebar).
- Chose to make your blog "visible only to registered members."
- Click on link to "add new" under Users.
- Under "Bulk-Add Users By Group" begin typing in the course code for your class until your class appears in the drop down menu and you can select it.
- Click on the "Add Group Members" button and chose to add them as subscriber or authors (if you want them to create their own posts).
Removing a blog
You can delete a blog that you own.
- Go to Dashboard
- Go to Tools > Delete site
- You will receive an e-mail, which you must respond to for deletion to happen.
WordPress at Middlebury
WordPress has been used in a variety of ways at Middlebury.
WordPress has been used for creating course sites and curricular resources.
Many faculty, students and staff have used WordPress to create blogs that describe things they have done at Middlebury. These sites could contain information about research, studies, projects, e-portfolios... etc
Some departments/areas at Middlebury have used WordPress to supplement information on the main college website.
For more examples, see the blog roll on the home page of Blogging at Middlebury.
- WordPress, http://www.wordpress.org/