WordPress Network

I have been wanting to set up my WordPress.org installation to host more than one blog for a while now.  Todd assured me it was possible and I’d see it done on other blog sites, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it.  I want to have a separate blog for each different topic I teach.  Since I teach a lot of different disciplines, from archaeology to religious studies, folklore to the impact of technology on human society, I wanted to be able to set up different blog rolls, Twitter feeds, links and resources for my students.  In addition, I wanted an actual BLOG for each topic, not just a single blog on the front page and a bunch of static pages with info about different classes.  I have aspirations for using my class blog to reflect on class discussions, add information that got left out of a presentation, that sort of thing.  It’s a lot of writing, especially in semesters where I have four class preps, but as I say, it’s an aspiration.

So, a single WordPress.org blog was not enough.  And finally, over the Labor Day weekend, I muddled through various instructions and got it done.  Or rather, tried and entirely FUBAR’d my site.  You have to add a few snippets of code to the actual WordPress install, something I know nothing about, but I could (I thought) follow directions.  Somehow, when I added the code, it disabled my ability to log into my blog.  Take the code out, no problem.  Put it back in, no log in.  That’s the extent of my ability to troubleshoot code.  However, WordPress DOES offer an extensive and timely forum set-up for support.  I posted my question Friday night and by Saturday afternoon (on a holiday weekend!), a response was posted that gave me the answer I needed.  (Try a different browser.  Why didn’t I think of that?)

So now I am the proud administrator of a network of WordPress blogs, based in subdirectories of my main site.  What this means is that as well as my main site, www.ychumanities.net, I also have a (relatively) unlimited number of subsidiary blogs with the same URL followed by a slash and an identifier.  Like www.ychumanities.net/hum101, for my HUM 101 pop culture class.  I can post blog essays there for my students, add links, blog rolls, course information, whatever I’d like my HUM 101 students to have access to.  I envision having a separate subdirectory for each class…someday.  For now, I’m working on building an e-portfolio at my main site, and playing around with a couple subdirectories to see what I can create (and likely destroy.)  But hey, I’m the network administrator and I can always delete a subdirectory blog and make a new one, if I mess up too bad.  I’d like to have one or two class blogs up to try in the spring semester, but we’ll see about that.

If anyone else has aspirations to host more than one blog on their WordPress.org installation, there is a lot of good info to be found.  The actual WordPress Codex instructions are rather alarming, warning that you should have UNIX experience as well as a working knowledge of PHP, HTML and CSS.  Don’t listen to them.  I did it and I don’t even know what those letters mean.  I like eduChalk.org, a blog of free tech tutorial videos made by a tech consultant, and he made a video walking you through the steps of establishing a network.   

And finally, AFTER I wrestled my blog network into shape, I found a short ebook created by a WordPress team pirate.  (I don’t know what that means either.)   CreateAWordPressNetwork  Said team pirate actually has a whole site devoted to documentation and plugins for WordPress Networks.

So anyway, that’s my WordPress Network saga.  Hope it helps someone else!



9 responses to “WordPress Network

  1. Nice work! I am jealous, and I admire the effort and thought put into the creation of this. I really believe it is a step in a better direction.

    Awesome blog post and a great resource for all of us! Thank you!

  2. Great! This is something I’ve thought about doing as well. I’ll take a look at the links you’ve provided to try to figure it out!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I really like the way sub blogs can organize multiple classes.

    And here I am still taking baby steps with requiring my first blog assignment!
    Would anyone have a minute to suggest guidelines, language, cautions, encouragement, etc.(or alternatives) to help students (and me too) feel comfortable about them posting to a public site?

  4. Todd, can we set up a library or something like that, where we could post assignment documents to share with each other? I have a “General Blogging Guidelines” doc that I put together after trolling the Web for advice on student blogging that I’d be happy to share. And I always love to see what other instructors are doing to steal, I mean learn from them.

  5. Hey Joanne,
    I have had students not take my class because they were uncomfortable, but they are few and far between. Mostly, students don’t have any problems posting to a public site. I think most people realize that most people have, or will soon have, an online presence. I allow them to remain “anonymous” in that they don’t have to use their full names as their username. I think posting to a public site, however, is a great opportunity for students to gain a sense of audience. This is really important in writing, but I’m sure in any subject the public forum helps students to have a sense of pride in and take ownership of their work. That’s how I try to sell it to those that are hesitant.

    -Laura Cline

  6. OK. Now I can go ahead with a good plan. Big thanks to you and Suzanne for your words of wisdom.

  7. This is awesome. Never ever before at YC have so many instructors commented on a single blog post!

    Susanne, I sent out a link to a Diigo group ( http://groups.diigo.com/group/yc-wor_press-users-group )that we can use to share web resources. I am also going to add a page here to this blog called “Library” and I think all of you can upload documents when you make a post. One of you can try and see , but I think you all have the privileges to do that. If not I’ll make you all administrators. Great idea.

    In the dashboard you should all see “Media” and under that “Library.” Any of those can be linked to and downloaded from the “Library” page. I think…..

  8. Thank you, Todd. This will be very useful.

  9. Pingback: The Trials and Tribulations of Wordpress » Dr. Suzanne Waldenberger

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