Moving beyond Day 1’s simplified model of the web, we’ll expand our understanding of the infrastructure and technologies that power the web through a role playing exercise. This activity will explore DNS, IP Addresses, HTML files and more as we conceptualize the flow of website data.
Next, we’ll transition away from HTML websites to explore Web Applications. Web Apps can be utilized to build more dynamic websites more quickly using themes, plugins, and simple editing interfaces. The most important Web Application we will investigate is WordPress, which is open source and powers more than 25% of the web.
The remainder of our second session will be spent building and prototyping the website you will produce this week.
Explore the Web Apps offered within the OU Create system (optional) – From websites to wikis to forums to blogs to photo galleries and survey tools, there are many different softwares available in OU Create to publish various types of online content. Feel free to explore the web apps offered with OU Create.
Install WordPress on your OU Create domain – We’re going to install and explore WordPress. In particular, we’ll spend time exploring Pages, Posts, Themes, Plugins, and more for our new WordPress websites. (Even if you decide to use a different web application, having a general understanding of WordPress is valuable since it’s such a popular web publishing software.)
Transfer the content from your HTML site into WordPress – Anything you’ve created in HTML up to this point can be transferred into your newly created WordPress website. We recommend copying the HTML text into WordPress Pages.
Explore website designs – We have shared several OU Create websites below. Take a few minutes before our session starts and during the session to explore these websites and gather ideas. The faculty websites offer good examples of the types of information you may want to include in your website.
Start building the pages of your website – Several examples of faculty and students websites are provide below in the resources. As you look through these, notice their page structures, and think about what pages you would like to include in your website.
Readings and Video
*Please note this video is very long.
Lynda.com – This website offers video tutorials on many of the web applications that are supported by OU Create. You can watch a single video on how to install WordPress or work through the accompanying activities for multi-video, in-depth courses.
YouTube.com – A search on YouTube for WordPress tutorial returns 5.5 million videos. One of the benefits of web apps like WordPress is that they have very large user groups who have extensively documented all of the different ways to use the app.
W. Ian O’Byrne has written a series of blog posts that discuss both the reasoning behind setting up a web presence and the technicalities of how to setup a WordPress site. His posts closely mirror this site’s process and are a great resource.
Model Web Sites from OU Create
Lucas Bessire – Faculty member’s web portfolio.
Blog 3423 – Course blog for a Spanish language course by Julie Ward.
Margaret Bourlon – Great student web portfolio.
Audra Brulc – Great student web portfolio.
Elements of Statistics – Open online textbook by Saleh Sahabeh Tabrizy.
Karlos Hill – Faculty member’s web portfolio.
OU Forum – Student run newsmagazine.
Content Management System – A computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content. It is often used to support multiple users working in a collaborative environment. The most used content management systems in OU Create are WordPress, Omeka, and Drupal.
Web Application or web app – According to wikipedia, a web app is client–server software application in which the client (or user interface) runs in a web browser. In our words, a web app is a program that runs in your browser and allows you to interact with data stored in a remote server. The broad category of web apps includes email clients like Outlook, content management systems like WordPress and Drupal, and calendaring applications like Google calendar.
WordPress – WordPress is one of if not the most popular content management systems. It is in many ways the web equivalent of Microsoft Word, in that it allows for word processing, but with the added integration of easy web publishing. It has a huge user community, so it is technically well supported. It is also highly customizable.