So I’ve been asked to do an online class on how to use the blogging platform here. I will post the video in a later post, for now I want to go over a simple function of the site.
The “admin bar” and blogging
So you want to blog* a bit on the site. Well let’s think about where you want to blog! Each of us has a personal blog, mine is this one, at http://drew.agilelearningcenters.org/. Your username is most likely the name of your blog, just tack it in front of agilelearningcenters.org and you’ll be there.
*A blog is simply a list of pages on a website that are arranged in chronological order, the act of “blogging” is submitting a post that will show up on the blog. There is really no difference between a “blog” and a “website”, it’s kind of like the square rectangle relationship. All blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs (or contain them)
You’re probably also part of a group or two, groups have blogs too (if they turn the feature on, which can be done at any time). For instance I’m facilitating the ALC in Everett and we have a group here: http://agilelearningcenters.org/groups/alc-everett/
That’s the group page, our blog lives at http://everett.agilelearningcenters.org/. Wait, what’s the difference you’re surely asking. Well the group is something that the community interacts with through the main site (more on the later) while the blog (or website) is something that the public will interact with.
For instance, the Mosaic school’s website: http://mosaic.agilelearningcenters.org is flashy and geared toward people understanding what the school is all about. While the group page for the school contains the forums and discussions that we don’t necessarily want to share with the public.
Groups are our space while the group website’s are the groups public face.
This brings us to the idea of the “main site” this is simply the website that contains the groups. It is like the mother ship which all other sites connect to. You can find it at http://agilelearningcenters.org
By now you should see how our website is a network of websites. The main site sitting in the middle and all personal and group sites branching off of that. So just to be clear lets consider what blogs exist on this site:
- The main site blog: http://agilelearningcenters.org/blog/
- Group blogs: http://mosaic.agilelearningcenters.org/blog/ – group blogs are typically managed by multiple people and you should respect the group when posting on them
- Personal blogs: http://drew.agilelearningcenters.org/ – This is your blog, it’s all for you and you should do what ever you want on it!
Getting around the network
As of writing this, it’s not the most intuitive process and I wouldn’t be surprised if you found things a little confusing, this is a work in progress after all. Let me break it down. Once you log in to the site (http://agilelearningcenters.org/login/) you’ll notice a dark bar at the top of the page.
This is the key to getting around the network! It’s got everything you need. Let’s go over each element on the bar, more might be added later so if these images are out-of-date please make new ones and re-create this tutorial on your blog 😉
The ALC logo on the top left will always take you back to the main site.
Hover over your profile picture and you’ll see a whole bunch of menus for different things. Most of these items will take you to places in the main site and are associated with the functions of our social network “software” called buddy press. Poke around with this, and please make suggestions to the support group if you have any ideas for ways to improve it!
This is a drop down list of all the sites you currently have some kind of admin status on. Your drop down might not look exactly like mine, I’m a super admin with responsibility all across the site and thus have more knobs and levers at my disposal. You should get the idea though. Each of these items is a site. Either your personal blog or a group’s blog that you are a member of. You also might have a link to Agile Learning Centers which is the main site, which you may not have permission to fiddle with but will still see in your list (this is a known issue).
Each site has a second level menu with quick links to the admin area (called the dashboard), new post, view comments, and visit site. These are all pretty self explanatory. Pro tip: simply click the site name to go to the dashboard. Most menu’s work this way, the “parent” link to a drop down will typically link to the top menu item of the drop down.
The Current Site Menu
I want you to note the bold text, drew, that is the sub domain name of this site and indicates that it is it’s own stand alone site, basically it is not the main site. The current site menu gives you links to manage the site you are currently viewing. If you don’t have access to a particular site’s backend this might not show up, I’m not sure (please let me know in comments). It’s a quick way to get to common admin (backend) areas of the site.
Remember: This is for the site you are currently viewing! Be very careful (especially if you have super admin power) that you double check the site you are on before making changes!
The +New menu
This is where the magic happens. When you are ready to make some content look no further than the + New drop down. Here you can quickly get to the place where you will write a new blog post or add a new piece of media. Again, this is for the site you are currently viewing. In the image above we are looking at the ALC Mosaic site (you can tell by the words next to the house and by the site it’s self).
So, let’s say you are me 35 minutes ago and you (me) wants to write a blog post on your personal blog. No matter where you are on the website you can simply hover over My Sites then find your blog (in this case Drew the ALF’s blog) and find the new post menu item from the drop down! Vola you are now in the add new post page for that particular website!
I hope this was easy enough to understand. Let’s get posting! Please give comments and questions here or in the support forums!