Hello to ENVS 295, Environmental Engagement! You will use this site to document your work so that you can readily share it with others. Here are some pointers for you.
Account & profile
Students, if you have not yet used our envs.lclark.edu site, we will create an account for you. Your login name will be your LC email prefix, and we will use your LC email address. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to set your password. Make sure to save your password so you don’t forget it!
Once you’ve logged in (available on the footer of each page), edit your profile via the admin menu at upper right or Profile on your dashboard menu at left.
- Just as with the LC website, your display name is your first and last name, which web visitors can see. Please keep your display name as is unless you need to change your first or last name.
- An avatar (typically an image of you) will personalize your posts and portfolio; this will also be displayed publicly. Here are your avatar options:
- If you have a Gravatar associated with your LC email, it will be displayed on all your envs.lclark.edu sites. This is the easiest solution, and there are advantages to having a Gravatar, but you do need a (free) WordPress.com account to get one.
- Otherwise, scroll to Avatar at the bottom of your edit profile screen, where you can upload an avatar. (This must be done separately for each envs.lclark.edu site.)
- Other profile information will only be available to logged in users (i.e., fellow ENVS students, staff, and instructors), or if you indicate it’s okay to share (see Portfolios below):
- Biographical info: A concise paragraph summarizing your background and interests in ENVS.
- Website: If you have your own DS or other professional site, enter its URL here.
- We will later add a feature such that you can display this information publicly if you choose.
- There are other things you can edit on your profile, such as the default dashboard color scheme. If questions, feel free to email ENVS.
Writing in this digital medium for public communication is an important professional skill you will benefit from in future. All you have learned to date about good writing (e.g., these Writing Center pointers and ENVS style guidelines) are applicable, but there are new things to learn as well, which you’ll primarily do via posts using the new WP block editor. The content of these posts will be specified by your instructor, but in each instance make sure to do the following! (And feel free to practice using the “Practice posts” category.)
- Create a compelling title. Web visitors will typically see your post alongside others. Will they click on it? Well, would you click on a title like “Week 3 Post” or “Annotated Bibliography”?? You probably wouldn’t. Come up with a compelling title, enter it in Headline Style Capitalization, and you’re off to a good start.
- Add a (legal, full-width) featured image. The featured image is what shows up in the banner of your post, and the background of your post summary when viewed alongside others. Choose or upload a featured image in the Document block at right. Make sure it’s legal!: see e.g. Google’s usage rights information when you do a search, or use one of your own great photos. Also make sure it will work as a full-width image: typically this means it needs to be a minimum of 1000 pixels left to right.
- Check the correct category. All posts, areas of interest, and situated projects are organized on this site via categories, as they can be arranged hierarchically; make sure to check the right one as specified by your instructor. (Don’t use tags; they demand more organization than we can collectively muster.)
- Include your co-authors. This site has a special plugin that allows multiple users to edit the same post (albeit not simultaneously); just go to the Authors section of the Document pane at right to add them.
- Make the most of this digital medium. When it comes to content, here are a few pointers to consider:
- Create vertical space in your text—endlessly long paragraphs don’t work well online. Split long paragraphs into shorter ones to convey your message in a punchier, more visually readable manner. Or, organize your text into lists (numbered or bulleted) via the block editor to make them look great.
- Remember hyperlinks—it’s the web, after all! Link to related content or resources you or others have produced. It’s good web practice to link to content on this site in the same tab, but content on other sites in a new tab.
- Consider adding blocks—there are lots you can use on this site, including standard WP blocks, Atomic Blocks, Ultimate Addons blocks, and EmbedPress blocks (see also below). As examples, a few Ultimate AddOns blocks we suggest include Table of Contents (if a long post), Info Box (to visually summarize an important point), Advanced Columns (to create side by side content), or Sections (to demarcate sections of your posts). Then you’ll be using the Paragraph, Heading, List, and/or Image WP blocks all the time.
- Consider embeds—this is content from another site (e.g., a YouTube video or GoogleDoc) that is displayed on this site. The easiest way to do this is via standard WP embeds and the extended EmbedPress blocks. You can also do HTML embeds if not supported by these options.
- …and if the above gets distracting?? One potential problem is that the WP block editor has too many options! There are ways to simplify it. Also, via Options (bottom of three dot menu at right) you can choose to show/hide boxes as desired.
As you can see, you have lots of opportunities when you write in this digital medium! But some of the items above are so important—and so easy for WP to check—that we have included them in a special Checklist you’ll see on the Document pane at right when editing a post. They include:
- The correct category. WP can’t really check for that, but it does verify that you’ve checked a category. If you save your draft without doing so, WP will automatically assign your post to a default category, which may or may not be the correct one.
- A minimum word count. Your instructor will specify this. This in itself is an important writing skill: how do you convey substantive content in a manner longer than a tweet-like soundbite, but much shorter (and likely more readable) than a full-on term paper?
- A featured image—so easy to forget. Look at the specifications above for guidance.
- Final publish approval—a box you would check when you have gotten the green light to publish your post. (You’ll need to check this box in the Document pane before you try to publish your post.)
- Note that WP can’t really check for a compelling title, etc.—but we will!
- If you haven’t done all items specified in the Checklist, you won’t be able to publish your post; just fix them and you’re set.
This site compiles a public portfolio of all posts for which you are listed as co-author. The portfolio is displayed as your author archive, with the following URL: https://envs.lclark.edu/295/author/[yourusernamehere].
A sample of the portfolio (as of late March…not up to date) is below: pay attention to the portions you edit via your User vs. Author profile! Detailed info is at bottom.
Your portfolio draws from your user profile the following fields:
- Display name (first and last, please)
- Avatar (an image of you or anything else you choose; make sure it’s not the default image!)
- If the user is logged in (i.e., a fellow student), or if you’ve given permission via the privacy field below, they will also see:
- Biographical information (a brief summary of yourself)
- Links to your LC email address and a website if you entered one
All of these user profile fields are summarized in Account & Profile above. If any user profile information is not displaying correctly on your author archive, contact ENVS or your instructor and we will re-sync information from your user profile to your author profile.
There are also four important fields related to your ENVS 295 portfolio that you’ll add/edit. You will do this by going to Authors on the left of your dashboard, then go to your name and choose “Edit Author Profile.” (These are the only fields you should edit in Author Profile; if you edit user profile information in your author profile, it may get erased when re-synced.)
- Share information. Do you want to share your bio, email, and website information with public (non-logged in) viewers? Enter Yes to share this information with everyone who visits the site, or No (or keep blank) if not.
- Course summary. In about 100-150 words, please summarize (a) what ENVS 295 is about, in your own words, (b) what you have accomplished so far in 295, then (c) what you have learned so far in 295, all written for a general public audience. If you compose this summary elsewhere, please remove GoogleDoc/Word HTML formatting via sites such as www.gdoctohtml.com. Do not use formatting such as headers, though you may link to course-related or your own resources as you wish. Note that all of your text will be displayed as one paragraph.
- Engagement partnership. Please enter the full URL for the engagement partnership record you helped create. Example: https://envs.lclark.edu/295/partnership/crossing-party-lines/.
- Engagement project. Please repeat the above for the record you create for your engagement project.
Note: if a post you co-authored doesn’t show up on your portfolio, make sure you are listed as a co-author on it!
Your engagement work will be documented so that it can be shared publicly, and with future students. We envision two databases to which you will contribute: engagement partners and engagement projects.
Partnerships are how ENVS will support you and future students in doing engagement projects that last and make a real difference. You will, as part of ENVS 295, develop new and/or maintain existing partners. Below are instructions on how to enter information in our partnership database.
- When logged in, click New > Partnership on the admin bar at top, or Partnerships > Add New on the dashboard at left, to start entering partnership information. If you are editing an existing partnership, you’ll need to be added as an author first; please contact your instructor.
- For a new partnership: (a) start with its official name, in Headline Style Capitalization, in the title field at top; then (b) select the appropriate partner organization category at right; then (c) add a featured image that follows post guidelines; then (d) add all authors on your team. You can then save your draft before entering the below information.
- Here are the fields you’ll complete on the partnership form, with * required:
- *Organization website: The full URL to the organization.
- Contact name/position/email/phone: You’ll provide the information to our current key contact here (Sp20 info on Partners tab here). This will be your main contact person moving forward with projects and other collaborations.
- *Organization summary: Here, in about 3-4 paragraphs, you’ll summarize your partner’s background and mission, as well as the context in which it operates. Make sure to link to related resources; cite references (to be annotated below); embed graphics including actor-network diagrams and images/charts; etc. as useful.
- *Related references: It’s helpful for you to find and share reference resources, so here you’ll enter an annotated bibliography, in Chicago author-date format, of ideally 6-10 key references related to significant dimensions of this partnership, including publications/reports by and about the organization, publications about the realities in which it operates, including its priority issues, etc.
- [Note that, though initially composing the larger fields above in GoogleDocs may be helpful, pasting from GoogleDocs may result in a messy appearance upon viewing the final result; to fix, first paste your GoogleDoc text in an HTML cleaner like this one, then copy/paste into the form.]
Engagement projects, done in conjunction with ENVS engagement partners, are at the heart of what you learn and contribute via ENVS 295. To document your projects for the benefit of others, you’ll create and edit a project record in the engagement project database; here’s a sample, and below is how to do it.
- When logged in, click New > Project on the admin bar at top, or Projects > Add New on the dashboard at left, to start entering project information. If you are editing an existing project, you’ll need to be added as an author first; please contact your instructor.
- For a new project: (a) give it a brief descriptive title, in Headline Style Capitalization, in the title field at top; then (b) select the appropriate partner category at right; then (c) add a featured image that follows post guidelines; then (d) add all authors on your team. Then, save your draft.
- Go to the bottom of the edit page below all fields, where you’ll see a Post Relationships box . Select your partner organization, and re-save your draft. You have now connected this project to your partner, so that this and other related projects will display on the partnership page.
- Here are the fields you’ll complete on the project form, with * initially required, then all required when project complete. Note for all following: if you compose this text in GoogleDocs/Word, make sure to use an HTML cleaner like this one.
- *Abstract: A 100-15o word summary of all below, with emphasis on project goals, what/who/how, and outcomes to date.
- *Project status: Give its current status (Proposed | In Progress | Completed).
- *Semester/year: Give your current semester and year of ENVS 295. If this is a previously proposed project, please update it to your current semester/year.
- *Date proposed / date completed: The date this project was proposed, rounded down to the first of the month; and, if complete, the date it was completed, also rounded down to the beginning of the month. (This is because the specific day in which you started or completed a project usually doesn’t matter relative to other ENVS 295 student projects.)
- *Goals: what do you hope to achieve via this project? Consider engagement as “conversation toward action,” thus goals as involving conversation (process) goals and action (outcome) goals. Summarize your main goals in one paragraph of about 100-150 words in length. Ideally use the numbered or bulleted list feature to demarcate each goal. You may also use links and minimal formatting if useful.
- *What: In about 300-400 words, summarize and justify the What (environmental issue) of your project, including links and citations as relevant. You shouldn’t use section headers, but you may use links and minimal formatting if useful.
- *Who: In about 300-400 words, summarize and justify the Who (audience or participants) of your project, including links and citations as relevant. You don’t need to use section headers, but you may use links and minimal formatting if useful.
- *How: In about 300-400 words, summarize and justify the How (means of engagement connecting the What and Who) of your project, including links and citations as relevant. You don’t need to use section headers, but you may use links and minimal formatting if useful.
- *References: List references (need not be annotated), in Chicago author-date format, you cited in the What, Who, and How sections.
- *Input: Input is what you are obtaining now to polish your project proposals (vs. assessment bel0w, which happens when the project is underway). What input have you received from your partnership organization or others on this project so far? How have you responded to their guidance? Please date each entry into this field, to keep a running record of how you have edited your proposed project over time in response to this input, ideally using the bulleted list feature to organize each instance of feedback. Make sure to link to related organizations, etc. as helpful.
- *Assessment: Assessment is based directly on the goals you listed above: how do you plan to, or how did you, assess this project to determine the extent to which it achieved your goals (summative) or how it could be improved in future (formative)? How did you decide on this approach? Based on this approach, what summative and/or formative insights have you obtained so far? Summarize your means of assessment in about 200-300 words here.
- Outcomes (when done): When your project is complete, attach any reports, presentations, or other files here that summarize this project as outcomes. Remember that PDF is always a preferred online file type!
- Next steps (when done): When your project is complete, what do you recommend or envision as next steps beyond what you accomplished? Summarize possible next steps in about 200-300 words, for the benefit of students who may choose to continue your project. Make sure to link to key contacts, organizations, resources, or other information they would need to carry on.
Using your own site
Would you like to use your own DS site in addition to this group course site? Then read on!
First, remember that this site will automatically accumulate your work onto a portfolio you can link to from your own site. This is the easiest thing and requires no extra work! In addition to linking to it, your portfolio automatically generates an RSS feed (just add /feed/ to the end of your author archive link), and you should be able to display an RSS feed of your 295 posts on your own DS site.
Second, remember that your user profile has a Website field where you can enter the URL of your own DS site. This way viewers of your 295 profile can quickly click to go to your DS site.
If, however, you wish to have your posts appear on both sites, here are your options:
- See the RSS feed option above. This doesn’t actually create posts on your individual DS site, but you can at least display them.
- If your site is hosted (i.e., you have full WP admin control and can install plugins)
- The most powerful alternative is Distributor, which potentially syncs your posts between both sites!
- Another alternative is Page Links To. You’d do your post on this course site, then do a Page Links To post on your own site. Use the same title and featured image, but make the post simply link to the post on this site. Then your post will show up on any post archive you have on your site, but when someone clicks on it they will be directed to your post on the group site.
- If your site is on WP.com (i.e., you don’t have full WP admin control and cannot install plugins), or on a non-WP platform:
- You won’t be able to use the two plugin options above. But you can always link to an individual post on this site or to your author page.