Create a website using WordPress, a platform ideal for building an individual blog or for collaborative use in a classroom.
Teaching Toolkit: Creating a WordPress Site
Last Updated: July 2021
Domain of One’s Own at Penn makes it easy for students to contribute to a class blog or website. Students will gain understanding of the different parts of a website and will learn key principles of design and communication to help them to effectively create their class website.
This toolkit includes the resources for building a collaborative classroom website and guides to help direct the instructor in incorporating the site as a collaborative project. If desired, students can also learn basic HTML or CSS in order to customize their website.
- Identify key elements of a website and webpage
- Understand basic principles of design, user experience, and visual communication
- Demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively in creating content that supports a theme and clear viewpoint
- Introduce key concepts and best practices regarding accessibility, copyright, public domains, planning and organization
- Introduce WordPress, a popular but easy to use content management system.
Instruction Time: 2-3 class sessions (3 half hour workshops)
Building time: 2-3 weeks
Before work on the website begins, it is important that the topic of the website is chosen and understood.
Similarly, it is important to discuss how to find and cite media objects, including images, videos, and infographics. Have a discussion about finding and using fair use and public domain sources.
Identifying the Audience
Students need to identify who their target audience is. They must also identify the message or viewpoint they are trying to convey and why. This information will inform all the decisions students will make regarding how they build and contribute to the site.
Consider the target audience and what is important to them. What do they value? How can the site’s message be conveyed through words, pictures, and other media in a way that best resonates and connects with an audience member?
This could be a key point to address issues regarding accessibility and why it’s important to create a site that aims to provide access for all.
Examining a Website
Different websites look different for specific reasons. On a good website, every detail — such as color, type, and images used — is chosen with a specific purpose in mind. Students can compare and think through website examples and discuss specific features that standout. Students should consider why design choices were made. Students can also try to identify who they believe the target audience may be and whether they feel that the website is effective in reaching that audience.
WordPress is a leading content management system popular with novice and advanced web creators including many businesses and organizations. Students should be introduced to the interface and functionality of the WordPress dashboard.
We advise that students are added to the WordPress site before the class begins. This allows them to follow along during the class session.
Building the Site/Writing Blog Posts
Students should consider what design choices they want to make to the look and the feel of the site prior to developing blog content.. Clear guidelines and expectations should be set and agreed upon regarding what each student will be responsible for and when content/blog posts are due.
- Organization: Can a user easily navigate the site? Are all the key elements of a site/page included?
- Citation: Are the images used consistently cited?
- Editorial: Do the blog posts and/or photos chosen effectively communicate to the user? Do all the blog posts work together as a unified voice?
- Design: Are the design choices harmonious throughout the site? Do the design choices support the site message and purpose?
- Audience: Is the audience for the website considered and articulated through the organization, writing style, and visual design of the site?
- Accessibility: Are the colors accessible? Are alt tags included on images? Are font sizes easy to read?