MIS 2102.003 – Joe Instructor – Spring 2013

Munir Mandviwalla

Instructor dashboard

The “Instructor dashboard” is available when you navigate to the dashboard of any site on Community. It is under the Activity Widget on top right. If you want, you can re-arrange these widgets so that the Instructor Dashboard is the first thing you see. If you do not see this widget, let Manoj know at chacko@temple.edu and he can enable it for you. The features include:

About: Shows your details as it appears in the faculty page.

Gradebook: Allow you to manage the gradebook feature from the dashboard. For your courses to be added to the Gradebook, Add them under courses->Add course

  • View Grade: Allows you to view the uploaded grades from all sections.
  • Upload Grades: Allows you to upload grades to the current courses.
  • Gradebook Instructions: Instructions on how to upload.

Courses: Shows all your courses that has been listed under the community course links past and current. For your courses to appear in this list, it needs to be added under courses->Add course. Only current courses can be added.

  • Current: Shows the current courses.
  • Past Courses: Shows all the Past courses.
  • Add Course: Adds courses in to gradebook as well course links on the front page.
  • Participation Analysis: Complete Post/Page/Comments Analysis on your particular course site. It also allows you to Export for more detailed analysis later.

View Students: View And Email Students, requires a class roster to be uploaded to gradebook.

  • View Students: Allow you to view students with  avatars, points, Major/Minor Information/
  • Email Students: Allows you to send email to the students


Make your posts interesting with clip art and pictures

There are two ways to add pictures:

  • If you have a picture, click Add Media on the top while in the editor.
  • To add ‘clip art’ – enter a keyword in the ImageInject box below while in the editor. The image below was sourced from ImageInject by typing in the keyword ‘Philadelphia’.  ImageInject respects copyright regulations and will only show images that allow use and their conditions of use (click Dashboard, Settings, ImageInject).

Philadelphia photo

Photo by vic15

Creating and sustaining a community

The Temple Community Platform focuses on the complete educational experience such as relationships, networking, serendipity, engagement, curiosity, and openness. In comparison, most learning systems only focus on the one way transmission of knowledge. To fully leverage the platform will require a different way of thinking. To get started, you should:

  1. Create a personal avatar – picture – (login, Click My Account, and then Profile) and also provide your interests. Ask your students to do the same. Communities are formed when people can see each other.
  2. Create a personal site, all MIS majors have such sites, called e-portfolios. All faculty also have sites. Communities are sustained when people can learn more about each other.
  3. Encourage comments on all aspects of the course, not just the formal discussion questions. Commenting is integrated into every aspect of the software, use it. Communities are sustained when they can question each other.
  4. Look at the community and your impact. For example, you can see all the members, all the activities, and every site including every course. Curiosity about each other is what sustains a community.
  5. Learn more. Click here for a short slideshow and go to the home page of the site and scroll down to the right and click on current courses or just click through all the activity! Do more than teach, provide a complete experience!


You can post a welcome message about your class as the first post. Include your picture.

You can make this post ‘sticky’ if you want it to stay at the top. To make a post sticky:

  1. Go to the Dashboard, click on “All Posts”, select “Quickedit” under the post you want to change.
  2. Click the check mark next to “Make this post sticky” on the right hand side.

Setting up your site

How to get this template

If you are viewing this site on the URL:http://community.mis.temple.edu/coursetemplate, then you are looking at the results of our course template. To use this course template, do the following:

  1. Create a new course site by clicking here: https://community.mis.temple.edu/sites/create/
  2. Please use the following convention for the “site name” – the site name will be the URL of your course: MIScoursenumbersectionterm (e.g., mis2101003spring2013). It is a not a good idea to use your name or the course title (you are going to teach other courses, and you are likely not the only person who will ever teach this course). The “site title” should be the name of the course (e.g., Information Systems in Organizations) (also see below).
  3. Open the site Dashboard and select “Appearance” and then “Themes”, select “Course_V5_Content” by clicking “Activate” under that theme.
  4. WordPress will now ask “Do you want to import Content?” – select yes by clicking on “Add Content”
  5. If you already have an existing site and just want to use this theme (the look and feel) without the sample pages and posts, then select the theme titled “Course_V5” above instead of “Course_V5_Content”.

Customize the header

You should customize the header of your site, the suggested convention is as follows:

  • Site title: Name of the course (e.g., Information Systems in Organizations)
  • Tagline: Course number, section number, instructor name, term (e.g, MIS 2101.003 – Carey O’Donnell – Spring 2013)

To customize the header:

  1. Go to the Dashboard, click on “Settings”, select “General”.
  2. Change the first two items, this is also where you can select the correct time zone, and click “Save changes.”

Pages vs. Posts

Pages and posts are document objects in WordPress, and architecturally they are the same. The only difference is that posts are typically used for time stamped, sequential documents, and pages are typcially used for more static documents. In higher education, posts are then best used for announcements, discussion questions, and any other item associated with how the course evolves and progresses week to week. Pages are best used for information about the course such as the schedule, course materials, background, projects, and so on. WordPress offers tools that will work well if you understand and follow this model.

Widgets and Plugins

Widgets in WordPress are screen objects that you can place in the left or right columns (e.g., the search box on the top right of this site). Plugins are pieces of code that provide the functionality for widgets. Widgets do various things and provide the most tangible benefit of using WordPress. There are more than 20,000 plugins available! To see the available widgets go to your Dashboard, and select “Appearance” and then “Widgets”. You can drag any item you see there to any of the slots to the right. Try it!

Categories and Tags

Categories are conceptual labels that can be used to organize types of posts. For example, on your site, you could separate posts that are categorized as “Announcements” from posts that are categorized as “Discussion Questions.” This makes it easier for students to navigate the site. You can also display the “Categories” widget on your site so that students can navigate using that model. To categorize a post, edit that post, and select a category on the right hand side. “Tags” are similar to categories but they are flat while categories are best used in a hierachical manner. If you are new to WordPress start with Categories.

We recommend you use categories for course components such as ‘announcements’ ‘news’ ‘questions’ and use tags for content/topics such as ‘social media’ ‘big data’ and so on. They are several widgets available to creatively display and navigate categories and tags.


The blogging (posting) metaphor can be confusing to students because it is sequential. Use “pages” for static information, such as the items you see on the top. Pages can be organized into a menu. This is the menu that you see on the top. To understand and control the menus further:

  • Go to the Dashboard, click on “Appearance” and then “Menu”, look inside the  “Primary Widget Area” (it is on your top right).
  • If you used the “Course” template provided by the department then it will likely show “Sample VMenu”. Feel free to modify per your needs. Click “Save Menu” to save.

Finalizing your site

Please make sure you delete or edit all the sample posts and pages included with this template. Click on “All Posts” under Posts to see all the posts and click on “Pages” to see all the pages.

Learn more about WordPress

If you are unfamiliar with WordPress, Temple University has a site license for Lynda.com, which provides professionally prepared short video tutorials on the software. Click here to get started. Choose, “WordPress Essential Training” and focus on section 4 (Creating Posts), and section 5 (Creating Pages).


Jetpack is a collection of widgets created by the people who run WordPress.com. It includes widgets for:

  • Social sharing (so you can have the LinkedIn and Facebook like buttons on your site)
  • Subscriptions (so that students get an automatic email each time you post on your site)
  • Simple site statistics (that tell you which pages are being used the most)
  • Media integration (so you can easily embed YouTube videos)
  • Twitter integration (so you can display a twitter feed)
  • Contact form (so you can easily create a special form for students to fill in)
  • and many more.

To use Jetpack, do the following:

  1. Go to your Dashboard and click on Plugins, find “Jetpack by WordPress.com” in the list, and click “Activate”
  2. You will then see a message on the top of your screen, that says “Jetpack is almost ready…”. You need an account on WordPress.com to use Jetpack (click here to create one). Link your account.
  3. You are now ready to use Jetpack. Click on Jetpack on the top left of your dashboard, to configure all the options/widgets. Many of the widgets don’t need any further setup. They will be available in your list of widgets (including the “Subscribe” widget).

Replace this widget with the 'Recent Comments" widget to display the most recent comments on the site. This is useful if you intend to encourage online commenting and discussion and it allows all the participants to see the latest posts easily and creates a sense of freshness to the site. 


Replace this widget with the "Recent Posts" widget to display the most recent posts on the site. This is useful for students if you intend on posting items on a regular basis. 


Replace this widget with the "RSS widget" to display the most recent news from the main MIS site. This will create a sense of community among students. 

After you have dragged the RSS widget over, use the following RSS feed URL: http://community.mis.temple.edu/blog/category/News/feed/


Replace this widget with the "Blog subscriptions (Jetpack)" widget to allow students to get automatic email updates whenever you add a new post. 

See the post titled "Jetpack"  for more information