Digital Guyana

Posts Tagged ‘how to

WordCamp 2009

In the first of the two sessions on blogging we introduced the students to WordPress, explaining that it’s a very popular, free blogging service that comes with several useful features including:

  • A visual editor similar to Microsoft Word (with WordPress handling much of the HTML required)
  • A professional look
  • Flexibility to add static pages as well as blog posts
  • RSS feeds

We also explained some of the basics of search engine optimisation, showing why blogs are effect tools for making content more easily discoverable via search engines.

We introduced the students to various bits of blog-related jargon, including:

  • blog – a type of website where the most recent content typically appears at the top of the page
  • post – the name given to an individual article/piece of content on a blog
  • embedding – taking content hosted on another website and displaying it on your own
  • link – an element on a website (often a bit of text or an image) that, when clicked upon, will send the reader to another website
  • permalink – whereas the blog itself will have a domain name, each individual post will have it’s own unique URL, allowing people to link directly to that post, rather than sending people to a page that will change as soon as new content is published
  • ping – a notification, sent to various directories, that a new blog post has been published
  • comments – on most blogs, after each post, readers are able to leave feedback via the comments box
  • trackback – an automated comment that will appear if someone links to an individual blog post from their own blog post
  • sidebar – the strip down the side of the blog which may contain
  • blogroll – a list of links to related and/or relevant websites/blogs that is often found in the sidebar
  • RSS – a clever bit of technology that puts blog posts in a machine-readable format. Allows people to subscribe to the blog so they receive new updates without needing to return to the blog itself
  • uploading – adding a piece of content (photo, audio, video or document to a website from your computer

After signing up to WordPress.com, the students logged into their new blogs’ dashboard and clicked on ‘Visit site’ to see the website that had been created.

We then talked the students through the process of deleting the ‘Hello world’ post and then writing their own first blog post. These were published so that the student could see them on their blogs.

In the next exercise we asked the students to write another blog post, this time including links to other websites (in some classes they linked to each others’ blogs in order to demonstrate trackbacks).

For the students’ third blog posts the students included an image, taken from Flickr.

In some classes, where time allowed, we introduced the students to the various themes available, letting them pick one they preferred.

Having several students all logging in to WordPress at the same time put a certain strain on the internet connection, meaning that these steps took slightly longer than they would if someone was following on their own at home (for example).

(Pic is WordCamp 09 by seanosh)

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language – the tags and attributes that are used to explain to a web browser how to display a page on the internet.

In the first lesson of the course we introduced the students to HTML and got them to build a very basic personal website with a homepage and separate pages for links and contact details.

Firstly, we asked them to open Notepad and create an html page using the <html> and <body> tags. The importance of closing all tags was emphasised.

<h1> tags were used to indicate the title and <p> tags were used around a lump of text. The file was saved as ‘index.html’ and viewed in a browser to show how the page displays.

Links were demonstrated next, along with html attributions. The students were asked to add a link to another website to their web page.

We then asked the students to use Notepad to create a document called ‘links.html’. In this document they listed a set of links to other websites.

The exercise was repeated, creating a third page called ‘contact.html’. The pages were then all edited to insert links between them.

To demonstrate how to add images into a web page, we took photos of the students and gave them the file to insert into their homepages.

We introduced the students to the following HTML tags:

  • <html>
  • <body>
  • <h1>
  • <p>
  • <strong>
  • <em>
  • <a>
  • <img>
  • <ul>
  • <li>

We demonstrated HTML tag attributes using:

Further attributes to style text included:

  • font-family: arial
  • font-weight: bold
  • background-color: yellow
  • text-align: center
  • size: 100%

In compiling the course materials we were indebted to the HTML tutorials provided by W3Schools.

(For links to further Web Skills course content please go to The Course)