Export your content to another WordPress blog

At some point, you may need to export content from your site at http://blogs.baylor.edu to another WordPress blog. For example, you may be graduating and wish to take your e-portfolio contents with you: This is a perfect occasion to use WordPress’s built-in export tool to transfer your site to another free blog hosted at http://wordpress.com.

To do this, simply log in and, from the Dashboard, click Tools > Export to see the following options:

Leave “All content” selected if you’d like to take all of your content, including file attachments, with you; otherwise, select any of the other options as appropriate. Click the “Download Export File” button and save the file to your computer. Once the export file has been downloaded, you can follow these instructions for importing content into another blog at http://wordpress.com.

Be aware that there are often some limitations with regard to how large an export file can be, and the site from which you are exporting must be accessible over the Internet in order for attachments (i.e., images and documents associated with your account) to import into the destination site.

Additional resources

Learn how to update your site to avoid deactivation during our spring cleaning :-).

WordPRESS, not WordSTRESS!!!

Are you a student needing tips on how to create a WordPress blog or portfolio for your class? Are you a faculty member who wants to use WordPress in class but doesn’t know the first thing about it? When you hear the word “blogroll,” do you think, “breakfast pastry”?

If this sounds like you, don’t get your hopes dashed in the Dashboard if you’re (Word)Pressed for time. The Electronic Library is here to help! Attend Edublogs 101 to learn WordPress on the fasttrack and pick the session that best suits your busy schedule!

Created specifically for faculty and students who will be using blogs in the classroom, Edublogs 101 will focus on the basics of using the WordPress platform within the Edublogs system at http://blogs.baylor.edu. Each session will last approximately 45 minutes and will explore elementary aspects of blogging and site administration. NOTE: You must have a site at http://blogs.baylor.edu to participate, and seating is limited to 24 users per session. All undergraduates and graduate students may get sites with a faculty sponsor in conjunction with their academic coursework. For more information about site registration guidelines and policies, visit https://blogs.baylor.edu/site-registration-instructions/.

Topics will include:

  • Basic site administration tasks
  • Creating blog posts, categories, and tags
  • Creating pages
  • Optimizing site navigation with custom menus
  • Managing images and media, such as YouTube videos
  • Changing the appearance of sites with sidebar widgets and themes

Seminar Schedule (all sessions take place in Moody Library G42, the library’s newest smart classroom adjacent to the TechPoint service desk on the garden level):

  • Tuesday, Sept. 4, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 5, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 6, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 7, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
  • Monday, Sept. 10, 4:30-5:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2-2:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 12, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 13, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 14, 3:30-4:15 p.m.

For additional information, contact Lance Grigsby at lance_grigsby@baylor.edu. Hope to see you in class!

Something up with your site? Here’s the fix …

A couple of weeks ago, the Edublogs staff made some changes to its suite of WordPress themes. Unfortunately, these changes had an unintentional effect on our WordPress instance at http://blogs.baylor.edu: All sites using the Twenty Eleven theme were accidentally switched to the Edu Campus theme. The problem is easily fixed by logging in at http://blogs.baylor.edu/wp-login.php, clicking Appearance > Themes, and reactivating the Twenty Eleven theme (you might find it useful to search for Twenty Eleven by using the Search Installed Themes field on that page). All the customizations you applied to Twenty Eleven should be present when you revert back–if not, please let us know so we can help you restore your theme settings. NOTE: Any custom headers you uploaded should be present in your media library.

Very sorry for the inconvenience! While Edublogs will be looking into why this happened, they will be removing the Edu Campus theme, which will cause all “broken” sites to revert back to the Twenty Eleven default theme.

Change the default size of video embeds, images, and thumbnails

If you’ve been working with WordPress for awhile, you know how easy it is to embed a YouTube video in a page or post. Simply paste the video URL on it’s own line, publish the post, and you’re done. Occasionally, however, the size of the resulting video may not fit the main content area of the theme you’re using–the result can be a video that’s only partially visible in the player.

If you’re having this problem, here’s how to fix it: Visit the Dashboard and click Settings > Media and scroll to the Embeds section of the page as shown here:

Change the width attribute to a dimension that fits the width of the main content area on your site, which might require a little experimentation to determine, and leave the height attribute blank (this will cause the height of the video player to scale appropriately).

Likewise, you can do the same for images and thumbnails at the top of the page by changing the default sizes for those. This can be very helpful when you’re using WordPress galleries and need the thumbnails to be something other than 150px by 150 px. If you would like to change the thumbnail sizes in your galleries, however, make sure to do that in the Settings > Media before you create the gallery.

How to geotag your posts via WordPress for iOS

My previous post about the WordPress for iOS app explains how you can start posting to your WordPress blog from remote locations using your iPhone or iPad. We’ve since installed Geolocation Plugin for WordPress, which will allow you to add geolocation information to your posts in the form of Google Maps from the iOS app. If you’re planning to participate in one of Baylor’s study abroad programs any time soon, using this app and plugin combo might be a great way to keep up a photo blog of your travels, particularly if you plan to use a theme like AutoFocus.

Adding geolocation information to your posts is easy. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that geotagging has been turned on for the blogs you’ve set up in iOS:

(If you’re not sure how to do this for a blog you’ve already set up, go back to your lists of blogs and click the Edit button and then tap the title of the blog you want to edit–when you do this, you’ll get the screen shown above. This is where you turn Geotagging on or off.) When you write a post, you’ll see a blue icon in the title field of the edit post screen as shown here:


Tap that blue icon, and then you can see the location information for that post:

This is the map that will be shown in the post when you publish it. If you wish to configure how that information appears in the published post, you can visit the full dashboard and click Settings > Geolocation to change how the geolocation information appears. By default, it will appear as a link at the bottom of the post, which will display a Google map of your location when you hover over it:

Finally, if you need to fine tune your location information after the fact, you may do so in the full version of the dashboard, where you will see all the custom field information for your location and the Geolocation module showing the map in your post.

Mobile posting on iOS devices – a common hurdle

So you have an iPhone or iPad and the free WordPress for iOS app. Ready to start posting from your mobile device, right? Sounds easy enough, but forays into mobile posting via iOS often begin with this error:

A seasoned WordPress vet will know exactly what this error means, but for you newbies: There’s an obscure check box in Settings > Writing that you must enable prior to blogging via iOS called Enable the WordPress, Movable Type, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols:

… check that box, and you’ll be able to sync up your blogs with the WordPress for iOS app, error-free.

How to make a post “sticky”

Sometimes you may need a post to stay glued to the front page of your site. For example, you may decide that you need to give your students a reading prompt for their next blog assignment and need the prompt to be readily available for the students up until the deadline. You can accomplish this by making a post “sticky.”

To make create a sticky post, visit the Dashboard and either create a new post or edit an existing one. Go to the Publish box to the right and find the Visibility section and click Edit. After you click Edit, the following menu appears:

Check the Stick this post to the front page option and publish or update the post. All done! Your post will now be the first post everyone sees when they visit your blog until you uncheck this option, but you may also have more than one sticky post. Finally, an alternate way to quickly make a post sticky is to use the Quick Edit menu (shown below) for pre-existing posts.

When student blog feeds don’t syndicate …

If you’re a faculty member using the FeedWordPress plugin to syndicate (aggregate) your student blogs into a courseblog, you may occasionally experience errors with regard to blog and category feeds, or encounter situations where a blogger’s content is simply not showing up on the motherblog at all. Here’s a very common error you might see in the FeedWordPress admin page while attempting to add a blog feed:

This particular error often means that the blog you are attempting to syndicate has privacy settings enabled. Unfortunately, the breed of motherblog that relies on remote syndication of content will not work if the sites it is attempting to syndicate are not fully open to the web. In any case, if you experience this error–or others like it–visit with your students to 1). ask whether they have privacy controls enabled or 2). whether they’ve just categorized something incorrectly (in order for category feed URLs to sync properly, the remote bloggers must be categorizing their posts properly).

If your students are electing to blog privately, please see our recommendations for managing privacy in courseblogs. There are ways to have a fully open courseblog and still let individual students contribute private posts that are only visible to the blog admin.

 

Managing Privacy in Courseblogs

Scenario: You’re an instructor using the FeedWordPress plugin to aggregate your student blogs into your courseblog. You enjoy the convenience of being able to read all your students’ posts on one site, as opposed to having to visit each of their sites individually to make sure they’re on task. But what if one or more students insists on having private blogs? Sure, they could add you to their site and give you permission to read their content, but that requires you, the instructor, to keep up with more than one site. And what if that student wants to delete their content from the blog after the class is over?

The main problem is that blogs that are restricted from public view will not have usable feed URLs, which means private blog feeds can’t be aggregated into a courseblog. However, there is an easy solution for maintaining a courseblog with a mixture of private and public posts that allows the instructor to see all the content on one site. In addition, this alternative approach to courseblogging gives students full control over their content once the course is over–once added to a courseblog as an author, a student can write public or private posts and then, at the end of the course, remove those posts or export them elsewhere.

Here’s how it works: All students who want private blog posts should be added to the courseblog as Authors (learn more about roles in WordPress). To add these users to the site, click Users > Add New and fill out the Add Existing User field with the username/email of your choice, making sure to give that user the correct role.

add new user screen

In this case, the Author role is a good choice since it will allow that student to control the visibility of their posts on the courseblog.

Once the students have been added to the blog, they’ll have to visit the courseblog’s dashboard and write posts on that site. Getting to another site’s dashboard is easy if you’ve been given privileges to access it. Simply click Dashboard > My Sites to see the links to all the sites you have access to. From there, the students can write their own posts and set their posts’ visibility to Private in the Publish box on the edit post screen:

Once these posts are marked private, only the administrators of the courseblog (presumably, this is only going to be the instructor of the course) will be able to see those posts. The only other requirement is that the blog admin must be logged into Edublogs to see the private posts.

Setting up FeedWordPress to aggregate category, tag feeds

Every WordPress blog on the planet has a standard RSS feed address. Just tack on “feed” to the end of every WordPress blog URL, and there you have it. For example, this site:

http://blogs.baylor.edu/feed

That’s all well and good, but if you want to drill down and only syndicate certain content from a site–not the whole blog–you can actually use a feed URL for a category or tag (all categories and tags in WordPress have their own feed URLs, too). For more information about WordPress feeds, visit http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Feeds.

If you’re setting up a courseblog or “motherblog” as an instructor and need to aggregate multiple feeds from other WordPress sites using the FeedWordPress plugin, the first thing you’ll want to do is have your student bloggers create a category or tag specifically for their class posts. If your students are blogging about things other than their class, you don’t want their other content being fed into the motherblog.

Before you begin, however, it helps to know what the site-naming convention is in Edublogs, and that is: http://blogs.baylor.edu/sitename, where “sitename” is the first and last name of the student as it appears in the student’s email address, minus any underscores or hyphens. So if a student has the email address of john_smith-hines2@baylor.edu, the sitename would be http://blogs.baylor.edu/johnsmithhines2. Also, you will need the feed URLs (web addresses) of that category or tag for each site you’re aggregating.

  1. First, choose a category or tag name, doesn’t matter which. Let’s say you decide to use the category name “history1305” for your course. Have the students visit the Dashboard, click “Posts” and select “Categories” in the sub menu:

    Type in the name of the appropriate category in the “Name” field and and click “Add New Category” at the b0ttom. Once the category is created, the students will have to remember to assign the relevant posts to that category in order for the aggregation to work properly:

    (Alternatively, choose “Posts > Post Tags” instead of “Categories” if you prefer to use tags instead–the process pretty much works the same).

  2. Now it’s time to get the right feed URLs for your student’s blogs. You will use the feed URL for the particular category or tag you had your students set up in step #1. In a nutshell, you’ll need to know the standard structure of WordPress category or tag feed URLs:Category feed URL structure:
    http://[YOUR_SITE_NAME]/category/categoryname/feed

    Tag feed URL structure:
    http://[YOUR_SITE_NAME]/tag/tagname/feedSo if the category is “history1305” and you need to know the category feed URL for the “johnsmithhines2” site above, it would be:

    http://blogs.baylor.edu/johnsmithhines2/category/history1305/feed

    …and if you’re using the tag “history1305” instead, the feed URL would be:

    http://blogs.baylor.edu/johnsmithhines2/tag/history1305/feed

    NOTE: As they appear in URLs, categories and tags are not case-sensitive; in addition, if the category or tag you’re contains two separate words, it will be hyphenated in the URL. Thus the category “history 1305” would appear as “history-1305” in the feed URL.

When you know what a feed URL looks like, you can start adding those to your motherblog using the FeedWordPress plugin for automatic syndication and aggregation. If you haven’t activated the plugin yet, visit the Dashboard and click “Plugins.” Find “FeedWordPress” and click “Activate.” Once the plugin is active, you will see a new link called “Syndication” at the bottom of the left navigation bar in the Dashboard. Click that link, and then on the following screen, you will see a field where you can add all of your feed URLs:

That should be it. If it’s easier to have your students email their feed URLs to you, I would request that. But at the very least, knowing how feed URLs should be constructed will help you troubleshoot feed problems later on.