The Curricular Technology team has organized a number of workshops on the Course Hub, Moodle and WordPress which have been very well attended and have provided us with great feedback.
We have also just scheduled a number of work sessions next week, specifically for faculty and staff who have already started to create sites in these new platforms and have specific questions or just want to collaborate with colleagues and LIS staff. Here’s the schedule of these new work sessions:
WordPress and Moodle are the primary alternatives to Segue for course sites at Middlebury. A number of workshops have been scheduled on how to use WordPress for course sites and how it is integrated with the Course Hub.
11:00 am -12:00 pm, Wednesday, August 31, Library 105
To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.
Recently, several people have had issues uploading files to Drupal using Firefox. What happens is that, when you use Firefox to download a file, like a PDF, the server you download it from tells Firefox what type of file you’re downloading. Firefox then associates that file type with the file extension. A server might tell you that a PDF is the file type “application/x-download” instead of “application/pdf” and from then on Firefox will think that all PDFs are “application/x-download”s. This causes problems when you then try to upload a PDF to our site and your browser tells our server than you’re sending us a “application/x-download”, which we don’t want you to upload.
To resolve this, you need to delete a file called “mimeTypes.rdf” from your Firefox profile folder. See this guide to locating your profile folder. You only need to do this if you start experiencing this issue.
There are now named anchors above every node on the site. If you have a page with a bunch of nodes, you can link to a specific one by adding #node-XXXXXX to the URL where XXXXXX is the node ID, usually a six-digit number that is in the URL when you’re editing the node.
The Google Calendar content type now supports multiple calendars and will let you select from a drop down list to choose which calendar you want to view. Items in the month display now line wrap to show you the full title. These changes were done to help support adding Library hours to our website.
A meta description is now automatically created for every news article on the site so that when you link to a news article on Facebook the description of the link will be taken from the beginning text of the article.
We’ve replaced the ShareThis link at the bottom of our news articles with large buttons that look nicer. This also corrects an issue where people visiting our site using Firefox 3.5 were not able to load news articles. We encourage people to upgrade to the latest version of their browsers for best support.
If a course site is empty, the description from Banner is now displayed on the front page. (suggested by Shel)
The list of updates is now styled to be more constrained table-layout — along the lines of a Twitter feed or a Facebook wall. The most common feedback we received from faculty about the Course Hub was that the update list was “messy looking”. This styling change is a big improvement on that front.
A fix so it’s now not possible to make a code with the same name as an existing alias.
During the past few years new versions of WordPress have made this system much easier to use — and our community has made use of these new abilities to make a wide range of sites structured in many ways.
Most of the content in WordPress sites are Posts, chronologically ordered entries that make up a ‘blog’ or news site. Pages on the other hand, are non-time-dependent content that can be arranged in a hierarchy. Traditionally, Pages in WordPress sites were used mostly for describing the blog, contact information, or other content that rarely changes and isn’t ‘newsworthy’. (more on Posts vs. Pages)
Recently, a number of sites have been making increasingly large use of Pages, such as to hold curricular resources that are then referenced from Posts describing assignments that use them. For sites that make significant use of Pages, site-owners can now enable the RSS Includes Pages plugin so that new pages are added to your site’s main feed. For course sites in WordPress, enabling this plugin will allow page additions to be fed into the Course Hub as updates.
We still recommend making use of Posts in WordPress sites to share new material with readers rather than heavily using Pages as Pages are still second-class citizens in many ways (such as support for tagging and categorization). With the new RSS Includes Pages plugin, Page-heavy sites can now feed new content to the Course Hub and others subscribed to their feeds.