Openning online accounts for classroom activities

In most of your classes here at ODU you’re going to be asked to write essays. This is, generally speaking, a good thing because the more you write the better you get at it. The better writer you are the more effectively you can communicate and make your way in the world with success.

I’ve decided to do something different because once you graduate from college its highly unlikely that you’ll ever be called upon to write an essay again. Oh sure, you’ll have to write reports, complete evaluations, and give presentations but unless you become a journalist (or a professor) you’re not going to be writing in the essay form. We’re going to practice a new form: blogging and tweeting. And to do that you will need to complete some simple steps.

WordPress is the name of the service provider that runs our blog, Of Foxes and Hedgehogs. Over the course of the semester you’ll earn your grades by posting original material to the blog multiple times. In order to do that you need to become an author and set up your account.

Step 1: Find the email I sent you inviting you to join the blog. Click on the link in the email and follow the instructions. You are now able to sign-in to the class blog.

Step 2: From the blog homepage, hover your mouse over the fox icon in the upper left hand corner. A drop menu appears. Select “Dashboard.”

Step 3: You are now at your WordPress Dashboard. This is where you will compose new blog posts, but more on that later. Scroll down the left hand side and hover your mouse over “Users” and select “My Profile”

Step 4: Complete the “My Profile” section. Be sure to write something in the “About you” box, this will be your byline on all blog posts you publish. This is public, so share only what you’re comfortable with but you do have to put something here. Click “Update profile” when you’re done.

Step 5: If you’re not still on “My Profile” go back and create a Gravatar. This will be your icon when you publish posts and when you leave comments. This is like your profile picture on Facebook. It doesn’t have to be your portrait, but you can’t just leave it on default.

Step 6: In order to upload an image, you’ll have to create a Gravatar account. Click on this link to go to the Gravatar page. Follow all their instructions. This is actually really easy.

Step 7: Once your Gravatar is in order, double check with WordPress that it is displaying your icon.

A word of caution: a common mistake in setting up your WordPress is where one “joins” WordPress, but does not accept the author request. You are not creating your own new blog. You are becoming the author of an existing blog. To do this you will have to follow the link in the email I sent you.
It’s not always easy to think of a topic to blog about. Everyone has a lot of other responsibilities in their life and other demands on their time outside of this class, so I’ve created a news feed on to keep track of all the gender-related news stories that my friends share with me over Facebook and Twitter.

The beauty of is that you don’t have to join it in order to use it (unless you want to). You can just direct your browser to the URL and it will be made available for you to read. Check it out now!

You can have your web browser remember the link by pressing ctrl+D. This will create a bookmark that you can return to again easily. There are also phone apps and a Facebook app.

As you scroll through the website a lot of interesting news stories will pop up. Is there one that interests you? If you find a story you want to write about in your blog follow the links back to the story’s original Internet address or search for it using Google. That way you will have a URL to embed in your post.

Congratulations, you now have inspiration for your next blog! Now get to work.

Google Reader (optional)
The best way to become a better poet is to read a lot of poetry. The best way to become a novelist is to read a lot of novels. And the best way to become a blogger is to read a lot of blogs. Reading blogs can be easy when you use Google Reader which brings together the content from multiple websites and compiles them into one.

Step 1: Create an Google account. Go to Google and click on the “sign-in” button in the upper right hand corner. Follow the instructions, give them your email, and accept the terms of service. Done.

Step 2: Follow this link to subscribe to the RSS Bundle of gender studies blogs. If this doesn’t work you can ask me to email you the Google Reader Bundle. Click “subscribe.”

Step 3: Go back to the Google homepage. Find the button that says “More” on the far right of the toolbar at the top of the page. A drop menu opens. Scroll down to “Reader” and click.

Step 4: If you successfully subscribed to the RSS Bundle you should have a little menu icon on the right sidebar. Open that up and find the blogs. Click on a blog title to see what’s new.

For more on Google Reader such as how to subscribe to additional blogs click this link.

First assignment
This is a graded assignment. Complete all of the following tasks by Jan 24 to receive full credit.

1. Accept WordPress invitation, update My Profile
2. Create a Gravatar so you have a profile picture for WordPress
3. Leave a comment on one of the following posts to show that your accounts are working properly.
Ironic Masculinities
Playing with Gender: Rule 63

This is a graded assignment!


About Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is a project cataloger at The Mariners' Museum library. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and was formerly a professor at ODU. You can find him on Twitter @m4ttTh0mps0n.
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