This page is a brief manual for users of Blogs@Baruch who will be administering their own weblogs, as most faculty do when they use a blog in a class.
What follows details the administrative panel that those users will see when they login to their sites. Users who are members of a blog that is administered by another user on the system — students writing to a collaborative course blog, for instance — should see the Support for Students Authors page.
There are five levels of users on a WordPress weblog:
- Administrator – Somebody who has access to all the administration features
- Editor – Somebody who can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage other people’s posts, etc.
- Author – Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts
- Contributor – Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish posts
- Subscriber – Somebody who can read comments/comment/receive news letters on a blog that is password protected
Each individual blog on the system is controlled by its administrator, though the Center for Teaching and Learning maintains ultimate control over all of the blogs on the Blogs@Baruch system. If you are interested in adding functionality to your blog, either via a plugin, via a customized theme, or via an avenue you’ve yet to uncover, contact us.
What follows is by no mean exhaustive, and functionality is being added and upgraded on WordPress all the time. Hard core users interested in advanced functionality should consult the evolving WordPress Codex to stay abreast of the latest developments and documentation.
Table of Contents:
This section is intended for faculty/staff/administrators who will be managing their own spaces on Blogs@Baruch, or for students who have been granted permission to administer their own blogs in affiliation with a course. If you will be contributing as an author to a collaborative course blog, please visit the “Support for Blog Authors” page.
To create a new blog on our system, visit the Blogs@Baruch main page and log in using your Baruch username and password. Once you’re logged in, click the “Create New Site” button on the left side under your name.
You will land at a page that asks you to name your blog, and to give it a title. The “Site Name” is what will appear after the “http://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/” in your web address, and cannot be changed after you create your blog; it also must be in all lowercase letters. The “Site Title” is what will appear in the header of your blog, and can be changed at any time. Finally, fill out the form to provide some basic information about how you’re planning to use the site, and click “Create Site.”
A confirmation message will appear, giving a link to your new site.
Once you have set up your blog, you will manage it through the administrator’s Dashboard, or “back-end.” The back-end is where you go to manage everything, from editing posts to changing the overall look or theme.
The home page of the admin panel or back-end is called “the Dashboard.” As soon as you log in, you come to this page by default:
From here, you can click on several different options that will bring you to the different areas of the back-end. You can post new articles, edit your own posts or comments, update your user profile, and return to the front page of your blog. The Dashboard gives you an overview of your blog activity under “Right Now,” including recent postings, comment activity, incoming links, and how much storage space is available. There is a QuickPress section that lets you write a quick post, and at bottom right you’ll see several links to recent news about WordPress (often containing useful info about updates, features, and more general information about the open source WordPress community).
You can customize your own Dashboard to your liking by simply dragging and dropping each of the sections into place and/or clicking the Screen Options tab, in the upper right-hand corner of the Dashboard, to decide what you would like to make visible or hidden.
This section is where you can write new blog posts and edit existing posts.
Writing posts is probably the main thing you will do with your blog. When writing a new post you can control the status, e.g. make the post a draft if you are not ready to publish it, password protect it, etc. You can also change the time stamp to control when the post shows up in the blog’s chronology of posts. In addition, you can add categories and tags to posts to create a personalized taxonomy of terms and sections in your site. You can add tags and categories while writing a new post, or later while editing an existing post. Use the Quick Edit function if you just want to change the tag or category or status of your post. If you want to change what you wrote, click Edit.
The sub-sections Tags and Categories allow you to manage tags and categories across all your posts. Posts are displayed with the newest on top, with the older posts moving down on the page and getting automatically archived by date. If you want to post something that will always be visible, you should use the Pages function instead.
Allows you to search media you have uploaded, such as images, music, videos, etc. Keep in mind, however, that your storage space on this system is limited, so you may want to use external services for media such as Flickr, YouTube, or Google Docs.
The Links section is where you can add new links to other blogs and manage existing links:
To add a new link, click on the Add New sub-section and enter the appropriate information in the following three fields: link name, web address and description. Also, you can categorize your links by simply adding a new category in the categories section, or by choosing an existing category. You can also manage these categories in the Link Categories sub-section. Once you have added links and categorized them, they can then be added to your sidebar using the Links widget in the Appearance–>Widgets section (more about Appearance, below).
This section is where you can write new pages and edit existing pages.
Write a Page to display static information that stands outside of the reverse chronology of Posts; since Posts display with the newest post first and replacing older ones, you can use Pages instead to maintain permanent information that will always be on top. When writing a new page you can control the status, i.e., make the page a draft, password protected, etc. You can also control the order of pages so that they are aligned in the sidebar or in the header in a specific order. Click on My Page Order and drag and drop existing pages into the order you want them to be displayed. You can also achieve the same thing using Attributes—> Order while you are editing your page. You can add pages to your sidebar by going to Appearance—>Widgets and adding the pages widget if it isn’t there already. Keep in mind that the widget allows you to control the display through three different means: name (alphabetically), order (which you control when creating a page), or page ID (which is usually aligned with when you created the post).
The Comments tab is relatively straightforward. This is where you can manage, moderate, or delete any comments you receive on your blog.
To establish the settings for Comments, you need to go to Settings -> Discussion. This is where all of the settings for commenting are controlled, including turning off comments or requiring the user to log in before commenting. Also, the My Comments tab allows you to track all the comments you have made throughout Blogs@Baruch, which could be useful for keeping up with distributed discussions.
The Appearance section is where you control the overall look and feel of your blog/website. If you go to the Appearance section, you will see a number of images that highlight different themes you can use for your blog.
Double click on any of the over 100+ themes available for a preview of what your site will look like with this theme. If you like it, click Activate in the upper right-hand corner, or close the preview by clicking the X in the left-hand corner and preview another. Once you’ve selected the new theme, click on “Visit site” next to your blog title at the top of the admin screen to see how you like the new look. The Appearance tab is also where you can enable widgets for your blog.
WordPress widgets are content elements that can be added to the sidebar of your blog or website. For example, there are widgets that include del.icio.us bookmarks, Flickr photos, etc. Depending on the theme, you can also further customize the look and feel of your blog/website. Some themes allow you to add a custom image header and other features.
You can use this section to add other users to your blog and control the level of permissions you wish to grant them.
Once you add a user by putting their email in the appropriate field, an email will be automatically sent to them asking if they want to accept the invitation. Keep in mind that a user must be a member of Blogs@Baruch already for them to be added to your blog. Once an invited user accepts the invitation, they will show up as a user within your blog with the permissions you specified. Read more about what the different user levels (editor, author, subscriber, etc.) can do here.
The Users -> Your Profile sub-section is where you edit your own profile, such as changing your nickname, changing your password, adding your IM address, and various other personalized options.
The Tools section allows for a few important options; the first option is Turbo, which is an option for speeding up the performance of your blog through Google Gears. For more information about this option go here.
There is also the Import sub-section that allows you to import your work from a wide array of other services like WordPress.com, Bloggers, LiveJournal, Drupal, etc. — pretty much anything with an RSS feed:
The Export sub-section allows the user to download the contents of their blog to an XML file that can then be imported to another blog, using several services like WordPress.com, Blogger, or their own hosted site/blog using an application like Drupal or WordPress.
The Settings area allows you to change many of the overall options for your blog. For example, you can use the General Settings section to change the blog title, change the time zone, or add a brief description. The various sub-sections allow you to control the comments, reading, and writing options for your blog, among other things.
Settings also allow you to control the privacy settings, or even delete your blog entirely. The Permalinks sub-section is where you establish the convention WordPress will use for naming each new post to your blog, and AMP is where you change the settings for media files. If you are adding plugin functionality, you often control the settings for plugins within the Settings area (the plugin will frequently have an associated sub-section in the Settings section). There are many, many options housed within this tab, and it may be useful to click on each one to explore the possibilities.
We’ve recently streamlined the process by which students can be added to individual blogs. There are still two ways that you can register students, though most blog administrators will choose the first.
Creating Accounts for Your Students:
- Visit the Dashboard of your blog. Since many users are all members of multiple blogs, be sure that you’re in the correct place (the blog name should appear at the top of the Dashboard).
- Then, click on the “Tools” menu, and click “Import Users.”
- Then, paste a list of the Baruch email addresses for your students into the field on that page. The list must be in the following format, using Baruch email addresses:
- Select the appropriate user role from the drop down menu
- Click “Import Users”
The page will then give you a report of accounts created and accounts added to the blog. Please copy that report and save for your files in case there are any problems.
Each of your students will receive an email with their username, password, a link to your blog, and a link to their BuddyPress profile page (and a nudge to fill it out). Speaking of which, if you haven’t filled out your profile, please do so!
Having students self-register:
If you want your students to add themselves as subscribers, contributors, authors (most common), editors, or administrators, you’ll need to make sure that the “Add Yourself as a User” widget appears in the sidebar of your blog. You can add it by going to the Dashboard, then Appearance > Widgets in the left menu. From there, drag “Add Yourself as a User” from widget list in the middle of the page over to the sidebar where you’d like it to appear. The widget will then expand with options, which you can use to password protect self-registration on your blog and to allow self-registrants to add themselves to your blog at any user level.
Once your students have completed registration, you will see them listed in your Users menu.