Getting Started on Project 1

WordPress DogeToday we’ll begin work on Project 1, which means we’ll be diving into WordPress and learning about all the features built into the tool.

  1. To get started, let’s talk about what makes a website “good” in our Google+ Community. Here’s the discussion question that I posted there:

    Let’s talk about what makes a website “good” to establish some guidelines for the web portals that you will make for Project 1.

    For homework, I asked you to find general advice on what makes a webpage work in one of the tutorials linked in the 1/23 blog post. Add a post that tells us the advice you found and whether you agreed with it.

    After you post your advice, read some of the other advice people post and respond. Add +1s for advice that you particularly agree with. Add a comment to at least one other person’s post.

  2. After everyone posts and comments, we’ll talk about the characteristics briefly and then go over the assignment for the first project, Building a Web Portal.
  3. We’ll get started on building our WordPress sites, and work on them in the time remaining in the session.


  • Read Chapter 1 of Writer/Designer so that you are familiar with the terms we’re using in class as we discuss multimodal projects.
  • Explore the resources in WordPress. We’ll spend Thursday’s class session working on the sites further. I’ll go over any WordPress tools we haven’t covered and give you time to work on your projects and ask questions.


Class Logistics and Tools

Air cargo Amsterdam schipholWe’ll spend about half of today’s class getting the online tools that we’ll use during the term set up. Specifically, we’ll look at the Scholar site briefly, I’ll share some tutorials from, and we’ll get connected on the Google+ Community for the class.

After we have those tasks taken care of, I’ll share an online site and ask you to post in the Community about the conclusions you can draw based on the multimodal resources that it uses. Don’t panic if you’re not sure what I mean when I talk about multimodal texts—I’ll give you some basic definitions before you get started.

Scholar: Our Scholar URL is is a tutorial site that is free to all VT students, faculty, and staff.

Google+ Community: Our community is named Writing & Digital Media Spring 2014.

Useful Resources:


Go to one of the tutorials linked above and watch three videos. Look for general advice on what makes a webpage work, and be ready to discuss what you found at the beginning of class on Tuesday. Focus on general principles rather than any specific details on how to code something.

[Photo: Air cargo Amsterdam schiphol by Pieter v Marion, on Flickr]


Welcome to Writing and Digital Media

[KANSAS-J-0003] Farm House - Wichita?Welcome to English 3844, Writing and Digital Media. This site is the official home for our course. All assignments, weekly and daily activities, and related resources will be posted here. So bookmark it, memorize the URL, or have the address tattooed on your arm—whatever it takes. (Tattoos of web addresses are not actually recommended or advised.)

We will use several other sites for the course. We’ll use Scholar for announcements, grading, and the gradebook, and we’ll use a Google+ community for most of our class discussion and communication. We’ll go over all the details on Thursday the 23rd.

For today, you have two activities to complete:

  1. Respond to the Writing and Digital Media Survey to give me some basic information about your experience with digital media.
  2. Add a comment to this post that introduces yourself, and answers the following questions: Approximately how much time do you spend online each week? What types of activities do you typically do when you’re online (email, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, etc.)? Are you happy with the way you spend your time online, or is there something you would like to change (quantity, quality) about your online activities?

    Before you post, a couple of warnings: (1) Your classmates will see what you write, so don’t include anything intended just for me. (2) This website is public, so use your first names (or a pseudonym) only. Also, please be sure to use your email address every time you post to the class website. Once I “approve” your first comment on the site, you will be able to post comments for the rest of the semester without waiting for me to approve them.

Before class on Thursday, please complete the following activities:

  1. Get familiar with your Google Drive account, which is connected to your email address. (If you forgot your password for your VT Google Apps account, follow these instructions.) You’ll use your Google login in class Friday.
  2. Buy a copy of Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. We will begin reading from this book next week, so you’ll want to get it ASAP.
  3. Come back to this site and read through the comments on this post to get to know a bit about your classmates. Be prepared to talk about the similarities and differences you see among one another on Thursday. You can also reply if you like. It’s never too early to start connecting.

[Photo: [KANSAS-J-0003] Farm House – Wichita? by waterarchives, on Flickr]