I had another post started, saying I failed to get WordPress to do what I want, and attributing my failure to trying to force an egg-beater to be a spatula — in other words, forcing one technology (a blog) to be another technology (a social network). I was prepared to return to Moodle with my tail between my legs, just to avoid advertising and paying anyone money (well, you know me). Let’s admit it, I don’t know code. I ain’t no educational technologist. I’m a history teacher.
Then I discovered a theme called Atahualpa. It looked clean at first glance, and claimed zillions of customizable options. The first thing I noticed was that when I added a page, it appeared above the header image, like tabs. There were my static pages. The categories appeared right below the header image, which I realize is to help blog navigation but it also looks like tabs. So I began working with them as if they were the community (posting areas) instead of like blog categories.
I made a category called Groups, and then a post for each Group number, as a workspace. I made a category called “Post Theses Here”, then 14 subcategories, one for each Homework assignment. In order for the categories to display, I needed a post for each group and each homework, to which students can comment to add material.
I already had two plug-ins to enable them to use images in comments.
The problem was that the main page showed all the posts, for all the homeworks and groups and everything — what a mess. So I removed the Home tab, but clicking on the name of the blog, or going directly to its URL, still brought up the massive list of posts. Still yucky. But this theme really did have a zillion ways to customize. I was able to set the front page to display a static page instead of posts.
Right now I have it on the syllabus, but I’ll make a special web page introducing students to the class.
Replacing the rotating images with things more suitable too my class was a total cinch.
Things are definitely looking up! You can see it for now here, but I may close it soon for the class. Still thinking about that one…