Before you start with WordPress, you need to make some decisions. Please review all 5 steps below to decide on your approach.
1) Decide if you are comfortable being online. If not, you can document your learning offline (with technology). For example, Word documents and offline video. We would ask learners to consider using an online blogging tool with no identification/using a pseudonym, so as to develop network literacy, which is important in supporting learners, who are growing up in networked environments, but the preferences of learners will be respected and supported.
If yes to being online, then proceed to step 2.
2) Would you like to use your name or use a pseudonym? You can claim your name online and own your presence by using your full name. With increasing catfishing and identity theft online, it can be helpful to have a presence that may compete with any fake profiles of you that are out there or to have a more dominant presence so posts or pictures of you by others may get drowned out. That said, you may wish to create an identity without your personal information (e.g., West coast teacher). The choice is yours.
With that decision made, proceed to step 3.
3) Decide if you would like your blog to be hosted outside of Canada or inside of Canada. Two options are provided. You can create a blog on the UVic installation of WordPress at http://oac.uvic.ca, which is hosted within Canada. Alternatively, you can create a blog on the commercial entity of WordPress at http://wordpress.com, which is hosted outside of Canada. There is also a third option, where you purchase space with a web hosting company that installs WordPress for you. Some of these companies host outside of Canada (e.g., Dreamhost), while others host within Canada (e.g., Canadian Web Hosting). The benefit of this route is that you can purchase your own domain (e.g., http://yourname.ca or http://westcoastteacher.ca).
Be sure you review the resources under the Privacy section of this site and attend the class on privacy or talk to your instructor about the implication of both. You should also review the resources at the BC Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner along with the Cloud Computing Guidelines, which outline how to get consent. As a public school teacher, you will need to adhere to this law and not post personal information of others, especially your learners, outside of Canada without consent. It does not mean that you cannot use resources outside of Canada, but you must follow some simple steps for getting consent prior to doing so. For example, many school districts use Google Apps For Education (GAFE), which is hosted outside of Canada. Before you do anything, always talk to your school principal or school district educational technology resource person. Each district differs in their approach and some may have a more indepth understanding than others. You may find yourself better informed after this class than some in the field.
With that decision made, proceed to step 4.
4) You also have to decide if you want to make your blog public or private. You can set an entire blog to be private or simply selected posts can be set to private. You can set a password or invite people to gain access.
and last, but not least…
5) Finally, you have to think about where you and your content will end up. If you create a blog on oac.uvic.ca, your access will expire after you leave UVic. You will be able to export the blog by contacting the Help Desk. They can send you an exported compressed file. If you think you will end up at wordpress.com, then you might wish to start there and just post carefully with a full awareness of FIPPA.
The wonderful thing about WordPress is that you can import that exported file into another WordPress instance (it sounds hard, but it isn’t and we’ll show you) – e.g., if you move to a school district that runs WordPress (e.g., Delta, Victoria, etc.) or if you want to later set up your own domain and with your own WordPress installation. You may also import it into WordPress.com, but be aware that if you made posts with personal information knowing your site was hosted in Canada at the time and simply contained regular consent, without the specific consent for hosting outside of Canada, which requires you to name each tool, etc., you might not have consent to switch to WordPress.com. We often advise EDCI 336 learners to post as if they will be on the cloud outside of Canada. To be honest, if you have a public blog, your friends and colleagues may be using U.S. cloud-hosted tools like Feedly to curate and read your blog posts or they may repost/quote your content on their U.S. blog. There are many educators U.S. software in their teaching and to support their learners. Just be sure to review how to get consent as per page four of the BC OIPC Cloud Computing Guidelines linked here.
CREATING A BLOG:
Once you have done all the reflections on these 5 steps, you can move forward with creating a blog. Your options:
WordPress.com hosted outside of Canada (select free plan)
Buy a domain and use WordPress installed on a Web Hosting Service you purchase, like Canadian Web Hosting (advanced)
When you’re ready to start customizing your blog and putting content in, check out some tutorials available to you:
WordPress Handout by the UVic Libraries Digital Scholarship Commons
* TIP: You can access a better “dashboard” (an admin panel) by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of your WordPress URL. For example, if your blog address is: http://myname.wordpress.com then type in http://myname.wordpress.com/wp-admin to access the improved black dashboard.
How to use blog post categories to make a menu (Youtube video)