Create Your Blog Your blog is a process portfolio in which you will be thinking and writing in this course—a site where you will be sharing your intellectual work with members of the class, and other interested readers. You have created your digital portfolio using the open-source digital content management system (CMS) Word Press (WP). And you have begun the process of designing a space that will make visible your intellectual contributions
In creating a WP blog you are creating a space to gain some control over your digital identity. Using basic digital tools and technologies will allow you to share your ideas in a public space and to consider ways of using the web in meaningful ways
Manage Your Blog The first step in managing your blog is to experiment with digital tools—to take up design questions about organizing and presenting information, to play with the relations between text and image, to cultivate habits or protocols (using categories or tags, or thinking about style) when publishing a post. More broadly, in managing your blog you are exploring the implications of how you represent yourself in a public space—empowering you to move beyond the passive consumption and toward more active production of content in the digital commons
The checklist below will develop your skills (such as adding images and links) and establish habits, or protocols, (such as including categories and tags when you publish a post
- Clean up your theme delete default pages, links that are not relevant, widgets in sidebars or footers that you are not using; organize the sidebar or footer to make the site easier to navigate, making sure there is a list of “Recent Posts” so that a reader has a table of contents; try a “sticky post” that will welcome readers to your site and will be “above the fold” for visitors of your site;
- (Re)consider your theme You are welcome to experiment with different themes. Word Press has hundreds of free themes for you to try. Don’t worry: you can try one out and if it does not work you can always switch back to your original or default theme
- Edit your “About” or “About page: Readers want to know who is writing and you are in control of what a reader will know. Remember that you want to be taken seriously and so what you say (or do not say) will shape a perception of you
- Add an Image to your About page Consider Justifying image left or right and wrapping text using image editor. If you choose not to use an image of yourself, choose an appropriate image that you would like your readers to associate with you
- Learn to use images in your posts Use your own. You can use Google Search to poke around on the web and find images that free to use.
- Add or Modify your Blog Header You don’t have to have a header. And what you can do with a header is in some cases determined by the the theme you have chosen. Still, headers are attractive and can serve to reinforce or echo the blog theme.
- Add a Links or Blogroll Widget (if you do not already have one) Delete default WP links that do not seem relevant or necessary. Consider context, perhaps adding the College home page (Title of the link should be the name of the College). Link to course web page. As your projects develop later in the course you will likely want to add to the list of links.
- Consider conventions and style Practice and play with conventions of writing on a blog; consider microstyle, including brief but suggestive post titles, simpler sentences; when writing and curating your prose, find a voice less constrained by formality or informality, perhaps by questioning familiar distinctions between formal and informal distinction, but without going too far toward either pole; consider spaces (as opposed to indentation) to mark paragraph breaks; consider the use of bullets to organize information
- Revisit and Revise Your First Post: To add a Category, open edit for your first blog post and add a category; Add Tags Go through your first blog post and identify key words and concepts, people, place names. Add no fewer than three Tags to the post
- Add one or more LinksHighlight text > add a URL > save (or command + K on a Mac). Link to a text (de Tocqueville or another?)
License your Content Add a License to your blog As authors creating and publishing content on the web, you need to think about copyright and the commons, digital communities, collaboration and sharing. Here is what you need to do:
- Go to the bottom of the Open Space of Democracy course page and have a look at the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License icon
- Visit Creative Commons and watch the three-minute Creative Commons Remix on Vimeo. Read About Our Licenses and What They Do. You will learn how the licenses for your work are designed to address legal, human, and software considerations
- Choose a license. I recommend and use the least restrictive license. The 4.0 License lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon our work, even commercially, as long as users credit us for the original creation. You retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make non-commercial uses of your work. Once you have chosen a license, add a Text Widget to your Blog. I recommend placing the text widget at the bottom of the widget sidebar or in the footer. Paste into the Text Widget Window the following code:
<a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/”><img alt=”Creative Commons License” style=”border-width:0;” src=”https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by/4.0/88×31.png” /></a><br />This work is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/”>Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License</a>.