How-to: Setting Up Your WordPress Blog

January 18, 2017

Here we go! Today in class, we’ll get our blogs up and running (don’t worry, you won’t be posting anything for real until Sunday). Follow the handy steps below to get started – feel free to stick with me or dash ahead.

  1. We’ll be using WordPress (http://wordpress.com).
  2. Click the “Sign up” link (at top)
  3. Enter the required information (username, password, email)
  4. Give your blog a name
    • The format is YOURNAME.wordpress.com
    • May take a couple tries to find one not taken
  5. Once you’ve got a blog …
    • Post!
      1. Log in & in the top infobar click “New Post”
      2. Enter a title in the top box, enter your text in the lower box (we’ll delete it later)
        • For more detail, go to your dashboard (link in top left of infobar > WP Admin) – in left menu, Posts > Add New
        • You may want to compose your posts in a word processing program then paste them into the blog box
    • Add value! (in dashboard view only)
      • Images: Make sure you know where the image is, then click Add Media > Upload Files > Select Files. Find your image, and decide where you want it in the text (left, right, or center)
      • Links: Select the text you want to make into a link. Click the little chain link icon above the text window and enter an address (or cut and paste) – it MUST begin with http://
      • Tags and Categories: Tags and categories (in the right menu) help index your posts. Just type a new one and click “add”.
    •  Publish!
      1. Click the big blue “Publish” button in the right menu
      2. If you want to save a post for later, click “Save Draft”
        • Log in later and publish manually
        • Set a specific time for it to publish automatically
      3. Don’t like what you have? Scroll to the bottom of your post and click “edit” and make the changes you want.
  1. Publicity (Publicize > Settings)
    1. You can link your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path accounts
    2. Linked blogs can publish automatically to these
  2. NOTE: Whenever you make an assigned blog post, be sure to check the assignment for where to post the link (typically as a comment to the assignment post but sometimes as an email or tweet)

 

For Week 3 (this isn’t an assignment, it’s what you’ll be doing every week):

  • Make your two posts (you’ve already written one)
  • Weekly posts must go up between Monday and Thursday during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to earn credit
  • Create a descriptive “About” page for your blog – due 11:59 p.m. Sun., Aug. 28
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Assignment #2: The About Page

January 17, 2017

Your new blog needs a place for readers to find out what it’s about. You could do this as a first post, but over time, this will get hard to find – nobody likes scrolling, after all. Instead, you’re going to create an About page. Have a look at this read from blogtyrant on what makes a terrific “About Us” page – they include examples, too! With those ideas in mind, get started. There are two parts:

For Wednesday, January 18:

You’ll be writing two things: 1) An About page, and 2) a first post (bring both, printed, to Wednesday’s class – these must be printed by the start of class or they will be marked late and will lose a letter grade). Some things you’ll need to include:

  • What’s the blog about? Well DUH. But this means you’ll need to know that yourself, and that means spelling out the specifics of what readers can expect. You might add some links to similar blogs (while explaining what will make yours different)
  • Who’s the author? Tell us your background. What are you studying? What are your interests and accomplishments? (note: Readers don’t want to hear about YOU until they’ve heard about your blog!)
  • Where can I find you? You’re cultivating an online presence, so let interested readers know where they can hear more from you. You needn’t use an email if you don’t want, but at the very least put up your Twitter handle.
  • First post: Make it a real, attention-grabbing post, not an introduction (“Here’s my blog!”). You’re only printing this out for now, so include links and multimedia (photos, video, etc.) in brackets [url=…] so we can see where they go. Don’t forget to write a headline!

For Sunday, January 22:

After revising in our Wednesday class, create an About page on your blog (we’ll create blogs in Wednesday’s class) and post the link in a comment to THIS post. Once it’s up, I’ll add your blog to the blogroll on our course blog.

In your dashboard:

  1. Pages > Add New
  2. Title: “About” or “About This Blog”
  3. Write some appropriate “about” content (you can update this as your blog grows)
  4. Publish!

Due: 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 (must post comment TO THIS POST by this time)


Read & Respond week 2: Getting Started

January 12, 2017

First, an overview of how these will typically work. Just about every week has an assigned reading from the Mark Briggs textbook, Journalism Next. In addition, I’ll put up a post here around noon on Thursdays with some links to online readings. You are required to post a response to these readings no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. You’ll post your response as a comment in reply to the Read & Respond blog post (like this one).

Your response MUST address the week’s Briggs chapter and should add some elements from the online readings. You don’t need to cite all the links, but you need to connect them (or other examples) to Briggs for full credit. Keep these short and to-the-point (they’re only worth 2.5 points), but do cover your bases.

Now on with this week’s assignment.

As the syllabus says, you’ll be reading Briggs’ introduction. As you work to develop your blog’s focus, Briggs offers some suggestions. Chief among them: “It’s not about you” (remember: “Nobody Cares”). What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and meaningfully adds to the ongoing conversation? See what examples you can draw from the links below to bolster your ideas.

Why blogs and journalism need each other (note: This is OLD – from 2003! – so consider how its argument has held up over time)

The Case Against News We Can Choose

Why you should blog

How NOT to blog

You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than 11:59 p.m. TUESDAY (later deadline due to MLK holiday), January 17. A few things to make sure of:

  • You’ll ordinarily be posting from your WordPress account, but most of you don’t have one yet, so however you choose to post, make sure it’s clear to me who you are (so you can get credit).
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t just summarize – build on them!

Assignment #1: Developing a Concept

January 9, 2017

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the winter semester of JRL 430: Blogging and Interactive Journalism. This blog serves as the mothership for your work in this class: It will link to your personal and group blogs, detail your assignments, provide your online readings (you still need to buy the Briggs textbook though!), and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

To set the stage, here’s a John Oliver piece on our current journalism situation. It should be noted that this piece came BEFORE the 2016 presidential election, so things are even more up-in-the-air now. As up-and-coming mass communicators, what do you think of the media world you’re inheriting?

For your first assignment, you’re going to think about how to cover some aspect of that strange new media world. We’ll start this one in Monday’s class, and you’ll bring the finished product on Wednesday (remember that we’ll have a guest speaker, Thomas McBee, editorial director for growth at Quartz). Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Come up with TEN blog concepts (write these as a bulleted list) that are interesting enough to cover for fifteen weeks (two posts a week)
    • Must have a mass media angle
    • Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
    • NO reviews, diaries, advice, tips, recipes or anything else I say is off-limits (trust me, I’ve taught this class many times, and the list is always getting longer)
  • Choose your TWO best concepts
    • Do they follow the rules?
    • Can they be linked to timely and newsworthy events?
    • Can you find an active online community to connect with?
  • Write FIVE one-sentence story pitches for each (that’s ten total) – Again, bulleted lists are fine, but they must be complete sentences explaining why the pitches are relevant and timely.
  • PRINT and bring to Wednesday’s (January 11) class
    • If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!

So that’s it – well, that and the read & respond (I post those on Thursday; they’re usually due Sunday night, but you have until Tuesday night this week due to MLK Day). Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started!


Read & Respond week 16 – Best of US!

December 4, 2016

Here it is: Your final read & respond! This one will be easy. You’ll be assessing your own work, based on the material you provided me. Based on the following examples, you’ll be voting (via this Google Forms ballot) on the following categories:

Group Blog Honors

Note: You can’t vote for your own group unless otherwise indicated

The Groups (group-selected posts are linked):

The Categories

1. Best Post on a Group Blog (can’t vote for your own post, but can vote for a post by your group)

2. Most Improved Group Blog

3. Best Group Blog Overall

 

Personal Blog Awards

Note: You can’t vote for yourself

The Personal Blogs (best posts provided by you)

Lydia Alexander Post 1 Post 2
Brittany Angus Post 1 Post 2
Jaz Brown Post 1 Post 2
Alexa Ciattarelli Post 1 Post 2
Clarissa Cottrill Post 1 Post 2
Ryan Decker Post 1 Post 2
Kameron Duncan Post 1 Post 2
Carolina Lewis Post 1 Post 2
Sarah Marino Post 1 Post 2
Michala McCullough Post 1 Post 2
Andrew Perez Post 1 Post 2
Carly Perez Post 1 Post 2
Jay Rudolph Post 1 Post 2 
Bobby Surella Post 1 Post 2
Sasha Tarabanova Post 1 Post 2

The Categories

1. Best Post on an Individual Blog

2. Most Improved Personal Blog

3. Best Personal Blog Overall

Superlatives

Nominate another blogger for a “Most/Best ____” category (e.g., Best use of GIFs, Most Likely to Proofread Everyone’s Work)

Nominate yourself for something at which you think you excel (e.g., Best Interviewer of Homeless Persons) or perhaps are notorious for (e.g., Most Likely to Get Caught Texting)

The usual deadline applies, but you don’t have to respond as a comment. Instead, complete the ballot on Google Forms by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.


Welcome to JRL 430 (now get to work)!

August 18, 2016

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the fall semester of JRL 430: Blogging and Interactive Journalism. This blog serves as the mothership for your work in this class: It will link to your personal and group blogs, detail your assignments, provide your online readings (you still need to buy the Briggs textbook though!), and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

To set the stage, here’s the promised link to that John Oliver piece on our current journalism situation, which we started watching in class. As up-and-coming mass communicators, what do you think of the media world you’re inheriting?

I’m also including here your first assignment, which we went over in class. It’s an easy one: I want you to come up with ideas for the personal, media-focused blog you’ll be maintaining for the duration of this class. Here’s the details:

Assignment #1: Getting Started

  • Come up with TEN blog concepts
    • Must have a mass media angle
    • Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
    • NO reviews, advice, tips, or recipes
  • Choose your two best
  • Write FIVE one-sentence story pitches for each (that’s ten total)
  • PRINT and bring to Monday’s (Aug. 22) class
    • If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!

So that’s it – well, that and the read & respond due by Sunday night. Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started.


Temperatures in workout rooms rise during the most rigorous group exercise

April 28, 2016

By Samantha Clarkson, Ashley Gonzalez, Kalea Gunderson and Madalyn LaMastro

image1

Spinning class 5:30 p.m. featuring the Arduino

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With the increase in heart rate that comes with exercise, there is also an increase in temperature in many West Virginia University Student Recreation Center group exercise rooms.

During group exercise classes at the WVU Rec, temperatures during high-intensity workouts increased by at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas low-intensity classes seemed to remain consistent or even drop.

This data was collected with temperature sensing technology through the use of an Arduino microcontroller. An Arduino is an open-source platform used to prototype coded inputs. It can read data input from sensors, in this case the temperature in the room, and output that data to the user via a personal computer.  

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The arduino and breadboard connected to temperature sensing code

The data showed that group exercise classes where temperature increased were the high-intensity classes Body Pump, Spinning and Zumba. Both Body Pump and Spinning increased by 2 degrees, but Zumba increased by 3 degrees from beginning to end making it the class with the greatest temperature increase.

Yoga had the highest recorded average temperature of all. The class, which began at 6:40 p.m., was 75.45 degrees, making it the hottest class recorded. However, that temperature dropped throughout the class to 73.7, possibly due to factors such as the outside temperature drop in the evening.

rec temps graph

Group exercise class instructors try to keep their classes at consistent temperatures to ensure a comfortable experience for students.

“I want to keep everyone as cool as possible during the workout,” said Body Pump instructor Jaclyn Stamile. “I keep the fans on blast and remind my class to take constant water breaks.”

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Body Pump 5:30 p.m.

According to Spinning instructor Melissa Henry, her class also keeps the fans running, but turns the lights off to attempt to keep the workout room at a cool temperature.

Regardless of attempts to control the temperature, these high-intensity classes rise in degrees throughout the workout. However, low-intensity classes don’t typically feel a change.

“I’ve only taught January, February and March in that room so I don’t really notice too much of a difference, maybe a couple degrees at the most because of the windows,” Yoga instructor Jayne Harris explained.

Each of the three workout class rooms at the Rec Center have big windows, allowing for nice views during group exercise, but also for sunlight to heat up the space.

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Yoga 6:40 p.m.

“It gets really hot in here when the sun is streaming in,” Stamile said. “I wish the Rec would install shades for the windows so my class could stay cooler while they’re working out.”

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Yoga 6:40 p.m.

Zumba instructor, Leah Skrypek says the room where she teaches class might have something to do with the increase in temperature.

“It definitely gets hot, especially in the upstairs room. In the winter, the heat’s on overdrive,” Skrypek explains. “I don’t think we get the heart rate levels that body pump or spinning would, but I think it’s a good beginner’s class.”

IMG_4152

Zumba 7:50 p.m.

In addition to room structure, the time of day and year also affects the temperature in the exercise rooms.

“It’s definitely hotter in this room in the summer and when there are more people in the class or back-to-back classes throughout the day,” Henry said.

Data was retrieved from the Spinning class when it was 61.84 degrees outside in the middle of March. It was 5:30 p.m. with little sunlight and only 3 people in class, likely due to the timing before spring break. It was also the only class in that room that day.

Body Pump was also recorded in the evening, which could have affected the data.

“Although we try to keep the temperature as cool as possible, people tend to feel their exercise is most successful the sweatier they get,” Stamile said. “So, maybe the temperature increase isn’t too bad – it all just depends on what people want from their workout.”

 

To learn how to use the Arduino to sense temperature, watch this video.