Welcome to Introduction to WordPress Spring 2012

WordPress word wordle artWelcome to the second “Introduction to WordPress” class at Clark College this spring, the second ever in the world. The first course was a resounding success with no students failing nor dropping the class. Amazing. You can read more about it

Introduction to WordPress is focused on the core features and functionality of WordPress right out of the box – specifically out of the WordPress.com box. We’ll explore the full features of WordPress and WordPress.com and concentrate on content building and strategies. The extra features that come with free WordPress.com blogs are based upon popular WordPress Themes and Plugins, giving us experience using the extensible and customization features available for the self-hosted version of WordPress.

If time allows, we’ll work our way towards some basic WordPress development, planning website layouts and content support for a variety of business needs.

I’ve summed up most of what you will learn in this Introduction to WordPress course in WordPress Credit Course at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.

You will learn:

  • What is WordPress?
  • How to setup a WordPress.com blog.
  • Categories, tags, and content organization and navigation.
  • Web publishing with the visual editor, HTML editor, QuickPress/PressThis, mobile, and alternative publishing tools.
  • Publishing multimedia with WordPress.
  • Content development and management.
  • Introduction to basic core site customization (header art, widgets, etc.).
  • Introduction to dynamic web page generation.
  • Introduction to dynamic web design.
  • Introduction to WordPress Themes.
  • How to use Post Format Types.
  • Comments and spam management.
  • Multiple users and authors (permissions/authorities).
  • Managing multiple contributors.
  • Basic analytics and statistics with WordPress.com Stats.
  • WordPress and SEO.
  • Introduction to WordPress hybrid sites.
  • How to create and manage custom menus.
  • WordPress Widget functionality and customization.
  • Understanding WordPress interactivity through trackbacks, pingbacks, and pings.
  • WordPress feed management, integration, and customization.
  • Integration of social media to and from WordPress.
  • Managing a private or restricted access WordPress site.
  • Introduction to WordPress Plugins.
  • WordPress installation options.
  • Troubleshooting WordPress.
  • Introduction to WordPress development for employers and clients.

The program is fairly flexible based upon student abilities and learning process. We will explained into more technical aspects in WordPress as much as time permits.

The class requires are competency with computers and web browsers, as well as basic writing skills. See Class Requirements below for details. It is highly recommended that you have HTML Fundamentals and Introduction to PHP if you wish to pursue WordPress towards a career. Check with Clark College’s course catalog and counselors for more information on the various programs you will need for a WordPress and web practitioner degree program.

Be ready to:

  • Create your own blog.
  • Have something to say and share on your blog, enough for ten weeks.
  • Use social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Google+).
  • Interact with fellow students.
  • Interact with fellow bloggers.

Reading Materials and Resources

In addition to the Clark College Moodle notes for the class, most of the notes and homework will be on Lorelle Teaches, a site dedicated to educational materials for my classes and workshops.

There is no required textbook for the class. I will be recommending reading a variety of online articles and chapters from books on WordPress in the Clark Library’s online collection (requires Clark College student login):

Note: See my notes below on naming conventions regarding the WordPress features and functions found in these books.

For preparation for the class, I recommend you read the following:

Additional resources may be found on the following:

There are a variety of books listed in the 24×7 Book program on WordPress, and I’ve listed a few we’ll use above. Some are excellent but cover older versions of WordPress. Some cover topics we might not get to in class. I highly recommend you dive into all of these as there is excellent information in all of them. Unfortunately, while many of these authors are very familiar with WordPress, not all started out that way, so there are naming convention issues.

During the class, we will be using the proper names for the parts, pieces, and features of WordPress, which may not be reflected in these books. Here are a few of the key references that may be different in the books.

  • WordPress Administration Panels or Screens: The “backend,” admin, dashboard, and management pages are properly called the Administration Panels or screens (as of 2010). A panel on the Administration Panels is the dashboard, however Dashboard is a trademarked name and is not to be used unless referencing the specific panel.
  • WordPress MS: Within the past two years, what was known as WordPress MU is now called WordPress MS or WordPress Multisite. It is also referred to as a blog network. It is the multiple blog network version of the self-hosted version of WordPress.
  • WordPress.org versus WordPress.com: WordPress.org is known officially as the “self-hosted” version of WordPress. It is unofficially called dot org, whole, full, unlimited, and “free” version of WordPress. WordPress.com is the “hosted” version of WordPress. It is unofficially called dot com, limited, beginner, freebie, free version, and other variations, most of which are not valid references. WordPress.com is the full version of WordPress hosted by Automattic on their servers. There are a variety of WordPress Plugins and features that expand the capabilities of the core of WordPress, but you are not able to edit the core, add new Plugins or Themes, or do anything that could put the entire network or yourself at risk. Sites hosted on WordPress.com are also subject to the WordPress.com Terms of Service whereas the self-hosted version of WordPress has no such terms for usage.
  • WordPress Version Naming Conventions Changed: Since 2009, a lot of work has gone into the User Interface (UI) of WordPress to make it easy-to-use for everyone, from the beginner novice to advanced professional user. You may run into a few of these in the books but most make sense as they are synonyms. For example, the Blogroll became the Links Manager, then back to Blogroll, and is now called Links, which is a feature used to create a list of links as resources or references on your site, usually in the sidebar.
  • WordPress Plugin Directory: The older books refer to a variety of locations for downloading WordPress Plugins. The WordPress Plugin Directory is the only official repository of WordPress Plugins, and the only source of Plugins for automatic installation through the Administration Panels. It is sometimes called the Repository.
  • WordPress Theme Directory: The WordPress Theme Directory is the only official source for WordPress Themes and the access point for downloading and installing new WordPress Themes through the Administration Panels. It is a fallacy that paid or “premium” WordPress Themes are better than free Themes. Both are available through the Theme Directory and reviewed by the Theme Review Committee.

Class Requirements

Students will require the following skills for participation in Introduction to WordPress:

  • Basic writing skills.
  • Basics and familiarity with photo and graphic editing.
  • Web browser familiarity and basic proficiency.
  • Familiarity with links
  • Familiarity with blogs and websites in general
  • Familiarity with search and online research techniques

For the Introduction to WordPress course, you will need to be familiar with the following features on Firefox and/or Chrome web browsers:

  • Opening a link in a new tab.
  • Opening a tab.
  • Moving between tabs.
  • Viewing the source code/page source.
  • Adding browser extensions/add-ons.

Students should be a registered member of:

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Gmail or web-based email account
  • Facebook
  • Windows Live ID Account for Windows Essentials

The following materials and supplies are required during the class:

  • USB Thumb Drive or Portable Hard Drive and/or SD Card
  • Approximately 25 copyright free photographs, digital graphics, or your own personal graphics and photographs for publishing on your blog. They can be any family-friendly images.

The following are optional supplies, announced the week before they are needed for class:

  • Sticky Notes of Various Colors
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Highlighter (Any Color)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Printer paper and/or oversize art paper (11×14 to 11×17)

Bring your questions, enthusiasm, and willingness to embrace a fun and new way to communicate and connect with the world.

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