As we prepare for a new year and our second semester on ACU Blogs, here is a quick list of updates to the core theme, sidebar widgets, and plugins available to blog owners.
ACU Blogs Theme
- Author Archives
Now clicking on any name in a post or comment links you to the Author Archive page. Typically, author archives simply include the posts made to that blog, but we’ve added a comment archive at the bottom.
*If you’re grading a student’s contributions to a class blog, this will bring them all together on one page.
- Blog Admin Comments
Another feature you may have seen on other blogs is a way to identify comments from the blog admin. Since in our case blog owners are often instructors, we have changed the style of the name block to set off admin comments more clearly.
- Subscribe to Comments
Students now have the ability to receive follow-up comments to a particular post via email. *If you don’t see a checkbox beneath the Submit Comments button, check the Plugins menu on the Dashboard to see if you need to activate the Subscribe to Comments plugin.
- Blog Excerpt Control
The ACU Blogs theme previously allowed admins to show either full posts on the homepage or one-paragraph excerpts. You may now select the length of automatic excerpts in the Theme Options menu as well as setting custom excerpts yourself in the post editor.
- Homepages Categories
One other advanced feature on the Theme Options menu is to set individual categories to include or exclude from your blog homepage. You’ll need the category id number which can be a bit tricky to find, but this is a powerful way to limit which posts appear on the front page of the blog.
*For example, only posts with the category Announcements could appear on the homepage or you could exclude all student posts and have them appear on a different page.
ACU Widgets for Sidebar
- ACU Login
Many faculty and students wanted a faster way to get to the Dashboard or login to the blog. From the Appearance–>Widgets menu, just add ACU Login to your sidebar for login/logout as well as links to editing the blog and changing your avatar.
- ACU Recent Posts
There may be times when you want to group links to posts by category. The ACU Recent Posts plugin can also work with the Homepage Categories feature above to make posts visible in the sidebar even when they don’t appear on the blog front page. The plugin will need the same category id you needed earlier.
- ACU Custom Nav Sub-pages
Some users asked for sidebar links that expand and contract more like a webpage. The ACU Custom Nav widget now allows you to make sub-pages and sub-categories visible in the sidebar only when their parent is selected. For those with dozens of pages, links, or handouts to manage, this is a simple way to drill down to details when you need them.
This plugin will allow you to embed certain kinds of web pages into your blog, including Google Forms and Google Calendars.
For blog owners wanting to share Flickr photos and photo sets as well as search, embed, and link to Flickr photos with Creative Commons licenses.
If you’ve wanted to add your recent Twitter posts to the sidebar, Tweetable requires a simple one-time setup.
This powerful PDF viewer and archive can now embed Issuu documents directly into posts and pages.
For questions about updates or any thing else related to your class blog, send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.