Hello to ENVS 400, Senior Seminar! 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. It’s also a good idea with longer posts to include section headings (using genuine Heading styles, not just e.g. bold text) so the reader can easily navigate your text.
- 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, all accessed via the Contributors page. The portfolio is displayed as your author archive, with the following URL: https://envs.lclark.edu/400/author/[yourusernamehere].
A sample portfolio is below: pay attention to the portions you edit via your User vs. Author profile! Detailed info is below the image.
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 three important fields related to your ENVS 400 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 Senior Seminar and your capstone, 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.
- Senior capstone. [Near end of semester] Please enter the full URL for your capstone record. Example: https://envs.lclark.edu/400/capstone/capstone-title-here/.
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!
You will document and share your capstone with fellow ENVS students and the public viewer via a capstone record; here are capstone records on this site to date. To start a record, choose New > Capstone Record in the admin menu at top or choose from the dashboard menu.
Your capstone record stores basic information about you and your capstone:
- Your major status (single/double), plus second major and/or minor if applicable
- Your year of graduation
- Your capstone
- Its outcome type (thesis vs. alternate outcome), and alternate outcome info if applicable
- Its situated geolocation (SEE THIS IMAGE for guidance!…it’s easy). You will geolocate your capstone so that it shows up on a mashup map of all capstones. You can geolocate yours by entering a placename, or a latitude/longitude, just like a typical Google location search.
- An abstract summarizing the entire capstone, written in present tense for top/bottom of hourglass and past tense for middle.
- Its framing and focus questions
- Any outcomes (thesis/mini-thesis/alternate outcomes), so that they can be readily shared with others. These generally are PDF files, but can also include URLs (e.g., of an ArcGIS StoryMap).
Thank you for documenting and sharing your capstone via this record! You’ll enter the URL to your capstone record on your portfolio so that it’s readily accessed from there as well.
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 400 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 400 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.