Tips and Tricks for using the foxmis community

Monthly Archives: August 2009

What is TinyMCE Advanced?

tinymceTaken from the developer’s webisite.

“This plugin adds 16 plugins to TinyMCE, WordPress’ wysiwyg editor: Advanced hr, Advanced Image, Advanced Link, Context Menu, Emotions (Smilies), Full Screen, IESpell, Layer, Media, Nonbreaking, Print, Search and Replace, Style, Table, Visual Characters and XHTML Extras. Together these plugins can add over 40 new buttons to the toolbar, which is now two rows plus one hidden row.”

TinyMCE gives you the ability to arrange the buttons and drop-down lists in  by going to Dashboard > Settings > TinyMCE Advanced. Here you can choose an appropriate layout for the functions you will use.

IMPORTANT: Arrange the icons so that the posting form doesn’t expand too far to the right, because the right sidebar will overlap the post box.

Using Plugins and Widgets

wordpress-logo1

Plugins extend WordPress functionality by allowing users to add various applications to their blogs or enhance aready existing WordPress features. Each blog has several plugins available for use. They are: KB-Gradebook, TinyMCE Advanced, cformsII, WordPress Download Monitor, Polls, and Ratings.

Most of these plugins can be inserted as widgets into your blog sidebar and will display sitewide. You can access the sidebar by going to your admin bar above each page, select a blog then go to Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets. Then you can add or delete widgets from your sidebar. I will make an individual post for each plugin detailing what it does and how you can use it. 

KB-Gradebook Plugin

imagesFaculty members can take advantage of a WordPress plugin that allows them to upload and display grades to students. The plugin allows you to upload custom gradesheets created by Excel or any other program that allows the exporting of CSV (Comma-Separated-Value) files. You are required to have a list of student names and their e-mail addresses so that they are able to view their individual grades by visiting a course site/blog. Once the gradebook plugin has ben set up maintenace is fairly hassle free.

Here’s how to get started: Continue reading

Starting to Use WordPress and BuddyPress

Bp

Since there will be a large amount of new student users registering at the beginning of the semester I figure I’d post some guiding pointers to help them get set up.

As mentioned in my previous post, initially, your blog will look very bland. You are given a shell to populate as you please. However, there is some infastructure behind the shell which will both guide you and provide a framework for getting stuff done.

You (the user/blogger) exist in two mutually inclusive “parts” of the site. One is WordPress MU (the blog) where you can submit posts, change your “About Me” page, and add other pages to your personal site. The other is BuddyPress (the community/social network) where you can see the profiles of other students and faculty.

BuddyPress is comperable to Facebook in that it allows you to browse and “friend” various users and their blogs. For example you can keep track of your classmates by friending them and find your classes by searching the blogs. As the site grows you will be able to join various groups, such as AMIS, and have group discussions.

How to create a course site

  • Login to your account
  • Click on My Blogs
  • Select “Create a Blog”
  • Please use the following convention for the “Blog name”: course number, section, term, so if your course is MIS 2101 Section 001 and you are teaching in fall 2009, your course URL would be ‘mis2101sec001f09’. If we all use this convention then it will be easy to remember and find courses.
  • For the “Blog title” we recommend using the title of your course. So if your course is MIS 2101 Informations Systems, then use “Information Systems” for the title.
  • There is one more critical step after the above process is complete. Click on “My Blogs” again and select the new site you just created. Then select “Switch Themes.”
  • Select the “Course” theme. This will automatically configure the look and feel of your site so that it is set for a course. Don’t worry you can change it all later. This is to get you started.
  • Now take a look at the site.
  • You can add “posts” to the site by again selecting “My Blogs” and then selecting the new site and then “New Post.”
  • That is all it takes to get going!
  • For more control and options, select the “Dashboard.”