WordPress

Wordpress is a content management system that you can use to design and manage blogs or websites for your courses. Hosting and limited support is provided for it by CTEL.

What can I do with WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source blogging platform and content management system. You can use it to create a website, wiki, or blog.

Course Website

Host all of your course’s learning materials and resources in a website.

Class Blog

Have your students contribute to a class blog through posts and comments.

Wiki or Resource Site

Have students collaboratively curate resources for a public website or wiki.

Want to use WordPress for portfolio or personal websites?

WordPress is a great option for creating project or personal portfolio-type websites. However, due to resource constraints, CTEL only provides WordPress sites for use by a whole class, not for individual students or faculty members. If you want to have your students create individual WordPress sites as part of an assignment (or you want to create a personal one of your own), we recommend that you sign up with a low-cost service like Reclaim Hosting or WordPress itself.

How can I access WordPress?

WordPress is an open-source, web-based content management system, so you access it online rather than by downloading software on your computer. You can sign up for a WordPress user account at WordPress.com.

You have the option to set up a free website with WordPress, but ads will appear at the top and bottom of every page on your website unless it’s hosted on CTEL’s network, usmcourses.org (or you pay for your own hosting). To request a WordPress site for your course on CTEL’s network, email its administrator.

How do I start using WordPress?

If you haven’t used WordPress before, you should first sign up for a free WordPress site at wordpress.org and get an idea of how the system works. Then, request an appointment with CTEL learning designer for help with the initial set-up of your course site—but don’t hesitate to begin setting up your site on your own if you’d like. We can easily move it to our network whenever you’re ready. Just be aware that the free version of WordPress provides different, lower-quality theme options than ones that are available on our network, so your site’s overall look will be different (usually much better) once it has been moved.

Note that WordPress is not supported by the University of Maine system, so the Help Desk does not provide support for it. Also, while CTEL can help you set up a WordPress site and consult with you on designing and administering it, you’ll need to manage it yourself. Typically, this means that you’ll need to add students to the course each term and connect them to external resources when they need support.

Giving students access to your course's WordPress site

If students will be adding blog posts or authoring pages in your WordPress site, you’ll need to add them as users. Users have to be added one at a time to your WordPress site, but the process is fairly simple.

  1. Go to the dashboard for your WordPress site.
  2. Click the Users link in the left-hand menu. A list of people who currently have access to your site will be displayed.
  3. Click the Add New button. It’s just to the right of the “Users” heading on the top-left side of the page. The “Add New User” page will open; it has two sections: 1) “Add Existing User,” which is on the top half of the page; and 2) “Add New User,” which is on the bottom half of the page. In this case, “new” user means someone who doesn’t already have access to CTEL’s WordPress network, so all of your students will likely be new users rather than existing ones.
  4. Enter a username for the student. It can’t have spaces or use punctuation.
  5. Enter the student’s email address.
  6. Select a level of access on the Role menu. We recommend the Author option if students will only be writing blog posts or the Editor option if they’ll be editing or adding pages.
  7. Leave the “Skip Confirmation Email” box unchecked. Students will need to receive a confirmation email from WordPress since it has a link to the site and login instructions.
  8. Click the Add New User button at the bottom of the page. The user account will now be created for the student.
Screenshot showing how to add a new user account in WordPress
Steps 2 & 3: Adding students as users in WordPress

 

Screenshot showing the fields for a new user account in WordPress
Steps 4-8: Setting up a new user account in WordPress

Where can I learn more about WordPress?

WordPress provides web resources that you can consult if you want to learn more about its features. You can also meet with one of CTEL’s learning designers if you’d like personalized assistance.

Video Overview

UMS Academy offers WordPress video tutorials (Maine.edu login required).

Text Tutorials

Visit the Support section of WordPress.com to learn more about its features.

Privacy

Visit WordPress’s Privacy Policy page to learn how it manages users’ data.

Accessibility

Visit WordPress’s Accessibility page to learn how it supports diverse users.

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