Learn how to create a custom course site template using your own teaching framework. We'll prepare a WordPress site for easy customization for your style of teaching.
- [Voiceover] We all develop our own unique teaching styles, practices and frameworks that make our courses unique. A common frustration and time sink that many of us face every semester is conforming an initial learning management system course site to our own teaching framework for all of our classes. In chapter three, Building Your Course Structure In WordPress In The Classroom, we created a course site framework for an open connected course. Let's use this same basic framework to create a course site template that we can replicate over and over inside of our multi site network.
From inside of your site's network admin page, create a new site. Call it Course Site Template. Then go to the admin page for that new site. To save some time, I've included a course site template start file in the exercise files that we can use by following the same steps we walked through in the last movie. If you want the full experience of building this template from scratch, work through chapter three of WordPress in the classroom, or import one of your own courses.
Be sure to set the theme to 2014. Next, let's prepare this site to be a template by removing or replacing specific course information with easy to search for text to speed up the customization of new sites. Go to the course syllabus page. On a typical course syllabus page, there'll be content that you'll need to include for most of your classes. Things such as your course organization, grading policies, the document structure, and the formatting that you've selected.
Leave all of that in place, but for text that does change, replace it with an easy to search for string of characters. Something like XXXX. I'll change the course number and name to this. When you create a new course, you can then quickly identify the parts of each course page that you need to change. I've already prepared the rest of the syllabus page. After working through a page, publish it. Work through all of the pages in your site and repeat this process.
Deleting unnecessary pages as needed. Next, look at your site categories. Think about your overall teaching framework and set up the common categories that you'll need. I've already added a few such as homework, projects, and readings. I like the idea of creating a dedicated category for course announcements. So add that here. All new WordPress sites have a default category that initially is set to uncategorized. I like changing this category name to the same XXXX that we used earlier just to remind myself to change this category to be the unique course number for each course.
That way, all posts within the site get automatically tagged with the specific course number. Repeat this process for any custom tags you may need. Then, let's customize our main menu by going to appearance and selecting menus. When we import the template, WordPress may not have placed the menu properly. So select it if you need to. Make any changes to your menu that you need. For instance, I'd like to have a top level menu item that students can use to get quick access to all of the posts that I add to that announcements category we just added.
So I'll add a category menu item, select the new announcements category, and then move that to the top of the menu list so that it appears on the left side of my main menu. I've already added new category menus for all readings and all homework. Save your changes and then let's go to the front of our template to see how it's looking. The site is looking pretty good. Let's double check that our menus are working properly by creating a few more test posts.
From the back end of your site, go to all posts, command or control click on the new post button two times. In the first test post, for the subject, type in Unit 01 Announcement Test. And in the body, type in test post. Then, in the category section, add the categories of announcements and unit 01, and then publish the post. Repeat this process for the second post but make it for Unit 02 announcements.
If we go back to the front end of our site and refresh our page, then click on announcements, we see that our students now have one place to see all course announcements. Work through the rest of your site in this same way to build your starting course template. In the next movie, we'll set up a plug-in for using this template to create our additional courses.
- Creating a test environment to configure WordPress Multisite
- Designing a Multisite network
- Manually creating a Multisite network
- Creating new sites
- Managing access and privacy settings
- Adding and managing users
- Managing plugins and themes across multiple sites
- Creating a site template
- Aggregating posts in a Multisite network
- Supporting students
- Exporting student sites