Archive for ‘Tutorials’

Student Portfolio blogs

0 Commentsby   |  11.01.11  |  Tutorials

Many faculty on campus have been asking for a simple way for  1) students to archive major assignments and projects and  2) entire classes to share reflections or other posts to a central class blog. The new Portfolio Blog system attempts to solve these two challenges. 

Portfolio Blogs have been created for every student on campus to allow them to share their best academic work with a public audience on the web, including:

  • essays, presentations, and other files
  • photography and visual products
  • audio, video, and experimental media
  • research notes, links, and media examples

Your portfolio blog represents personal development as a process rather than a single product, and allows your teachers, peers, and family or future employers a glimpse at how your thinking has been shaped across multiple semesters.

Getting Started

STEP 1: First, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to locate your portfolio blog. You’ll find it by adding your MyACU username to the main blog address: , for example.

STEP 2: To edit blog posts or customize the layout of your blog, you’ll also need to find your portfolio Dashboard. Just add “wp-admin” to the end of your portfolio address: , for example.

STEP 3: Watch the introductory videos below to learn more about publishing content and customizing your portfolio blog.

Videos Tutorials

As part of our first semester supporting portfolio blogs, the Learning Studio developed the following short videos introducing key concepts in managing your first blog.

Introducing your Portfolio Blog  (3 min)

How to Post Content to my Portfolio (2 min)

Customizing my Portfolio theme and navigation  (7 min)

Post by Email for your Blog  (6 min)

Using Categories to submit work to Class Blog  (5 min)

For more specific questions like adding images to a blog post or widgets to your sidebar, see the WordPress Screencasts page or come by the Learning Studio during afternoon staff hours.

Blog Calendars this Spring

0 Commentsby   |  01.18.11  |  Tutorials

Though ACU Blogs has seen several additions over the holiday break, much of the work by Web Integration and Programming focused on server updates to keep WordPress blogs humming along. Since our launch in 2009, faculty and staff at ACU have created more than 1,000 blogs and those numbers will continue to grow in 2011.

One important holiday update improved the Google Class Calendar system in a several key ways. Most importantly, faculty can now edit every event on a class calendar from one screen (see part #2 of the podcast below).

The following three-part podcast walks you through 3 ways to get course calendars into your WordPress blog.

#1 – Copy and Paste a Reading Schedule from Word (3 min)

We’ll start with the easy stuff, but if you already have a reading schedule typed up at the end of your syllabus, copy and paste may be all you need.

Click to play

#2 – MyACU Calendar Editing Tool (2 min)

One tool that will make working with Google Class Calendars much easier this spring is the new calendar editing tool in MyACU.

<img class="size-thumbnail wp-image-570" title="Calendar2" src="http://blogs you can find out×108.png” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”108″ srcset=”×108.png 150w, 429w” sizes=”(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px” />

Click to play

#3 – ICS Calendar Plugin for WordPress (7 min)

The new plugin that really brings your Google Calendar into your blog is ICS Calendar. This podcast breaks the process of embedding a calendar into your blog down into easy to follow steps.

Click to play

Other Holiday Additions

Here are a few of the other plugins and projects that were tested and installed over the break. Please continue to send along suggestions for future updates.

  • FeedWordPress is a plugin that brings in content from any blog with an RSS feed and aggregates it on a single blog (see example at Feminist Blogs hub). Colleagues at the University of Mary Washington have been using it to create “mother blogs” where students each create their own blogs but share their feeds back to a central class blog that consolidates dozens of external discussions.
  • WP LaTeX is a plugin to help get math formulas and equations into blog posts and comments. Here are a couple examples to see how LaTeX turns code into formulas presented as small images.
Finally, this is less a plugin than a plug, but Greg Straughn and Nil Santana worked long hours over the break to adapt the main Cornerstone Portal theme developed last summer by Mike Wiggins for use in the next CORE class coming online to produce the CORE 120: Identity Portal. Both versions of the theme demonstrate the flexibility of WordPress to solve complex web publishing challenges within the university.
<img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-573" title="IdentityPortal" src="×357.png" alt="" width="350" height="250" srcset=" see this website.dir/1/files/2011/01/IdentityPortal-500×357.png 500w,×107.png 150w, 1011w” sizes=”(max-width: 350px) 100vw, 350px” />

Students using ACU Blogs

0 Commentsby   |  01.29.10  |  Tutorials

Many students and faculty have asked for help introducing ACU Blogs, specifically post by email, to new users. Here are a couple short introductions from staff in the Digital Media Center that should help serve this need.

Feel free to leave comments to this thread if there are other intros you’d like added to this list, specifically to serve student users. Thanks for your help.

ACU Blogs Intro for Students (3 min)

Post by Email for Students (2 min)

Student Posts from the Dashboard (3 min)


*NOTE: The Post by Email function on any class blog is an option selected by some faculty, but this plugin is turned off by default. For faculty interested in the feature, here is the faculty introduction.

Post by Email for Faculty (8 min)

Mid-Semester Updates

by   |  10.22.09  |  Tutorials

The past few weeks campus developers have been testing updates to WordPress MU that will go live Friday. For a quick summary of new plugins and capabilities, see the following four-part podcast.

Part 1: My Blogs and Plugins panels (2 min)

A quick introduction to the mid-semester updates and two additions to your Dashboard.


Part 2: New Video Embedding plugin (3 min)

Simple video embedding is now available through shortcodes for over 50 popular video services. For a complete list of available services and example shortcodes, visit the WordPress Video Plugin site.


Part 3: New PollDaddy Polls plugin (3 min)

Those looking for ways to add embedded polls to blog posts will also be interested in this update. To create your free account, visit the PollDaddy site (you’ll need this login before creating your first poll).


Part 4: Post by Email Change (3 min)

Finally, to improve the speed of the Post by Email system, there is one last change. If you are using Postie to post content to your blog, you’ll need to Activate the plugin. For more information on using Postie, see the Post by Email screencast.


For all other questions or comments about the update, please post to the Leave a Comment page.

Sharing Course Documents

0 Commentsby   |  10.14.09  |  Tutorials

Here is a quick walk-through of three ways to share files on a class blog. The process will be the same whether you’re sharing a Word document, PowerPoint presentation, PDF, or media file. Feel free to raise additional questions or issues in the comments below.

The three methods described are posting documents by email, using the Add Media button in the editor window, or converting Word documents to pages using the Paste from Word button.

Sharing Documents (10 min)

*Remember that mobile users also have the ability to open most common file types from an iPhone or iPod touch. Unfortunately Flash files or media are not currently compatible with the iPhone software though links to the following formats can be opened from your blog.

    Other: PDF, TXT, RTF, Keynote, Pages, Numbers
    Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF
    Audio: AAC, MP3, M4A, AIFF, WAV
    Video: MP4, M4V, MOV

WordPress Basics screencasts

0 Commentsby   |  08.29.09  |  Tutorials

Mike Wiggins put together a couple new screencasts that may help new WordPress users working with the text editor and adding images to their blog.

Publishing a Post (14 min)

Working with Images (9 min)

Post by Email screencast

0 Commentsby   |  08.24.09  |  Tutorials

Picture 31Now that you’ve had a week to find your way around the WordPress Dashboard, you may be ready to try out post by email. This was one of the key features faculty in the blog pilot last spring wanted to bring over to ACU Blogs. Post by email is a great way to publish content quickly:

  • post an announcement or schedule update
  • have a TA upload slides before or after class
  • share a photo you just took on your phone
  • ask students to submit audio/video interviews with community experts

The following screencast will introduce you to Postie, the WordPress plugin that handles post by email, along with the main settings that give you more control over who can (and can’t) use the class blog email address.

Post by Email with Postie (8 min)



In the screencast, I mention a small problem with the current image attachment settings. Postie handles images fine, adding them to the appropriate post, but you may notice a hiccup in the way image borders are displayed. Here are a couple changes that should iron things out:

  1. Go to the Postie settings panel, and under the Image tab, replace the HTML in the Image Template box with the following line of code:
  2. <a href={IMAGE}><img class=alignleft size-large wp-image-{ID} src={LARGE}alt={CAPTION} /></a>
  3. Go to the Media settings panel (above Postie in the  left menu) and replace the Large size values with 490 for Max Width and Max Height.
  4. Send an email to your class blog with one or two images attached. Images wider than the main column should now be reduced as well as being linked to the original full-size image.

Let me know if you have any other questions about post by email.

ACU Blogs setup screencasts

0 Commentsby   |  08.18.09  |  Tutorials

ACUblogsStandardOur friend Mike Wiggins has taken time he didn’t have the week before classes start to make life easier for new blog owners. He is the designer of our ACU Blogs theme and has put together two screencasts introducing the first-time setup and use of a custom widget he designed for your sidebar.

Basic Blog Setup for ACU Blogs

Custom Navigation Widget for ACU Blogs

In the coming weeks, we’ll be spotlighting additional features like post by email or the mobile interface in follow-up screencasts. Thanks again to Mike for his help.