Tag Archives: Wordpress

Digital Fluencies / Web Design / SEO workshops at Weigle this month!

This month is packed full of workshop goodness at Weigle!  To help you build your web presence and take control of your digital footprint, graduate interns Chava Spivak-Birndorf and Jaime Marie Estrada are teaching a series of complementary workshops on social media, digital fluencies, and web design.

Here’s are some quick tips to give you a small preview of the topics we’ll discuss:

1. Use consistent branding.
Name and image recognition is very important online when you’re competing with so many millions of other people and brands for milliseconds of attention.  For personal branding, pick a variation of your name and stick with it across your social media accounts and/or personal website.  If you’re building a web presence for a professional brand, create a recognizable logo and choose one name to use across platforms.  Learn more about how to do this in Jaime’s series of Digital Literacy workshops, which starts on April 8th with personal websites and LinkedIn.

2. Keep things up-to-date.
Nothing gives away that you’re not committed to your brand or that you don’t have time to maintain it like an old copyright date or an “updated date” that’s months or years old.

3. If you have a blog, keep it active.
If you’re going to have your blog showing up on your personal website, it will immediately alienate your visitors if they see your blog is not regularly updated.  It’s better to have a more static personal website with no blog than a static personal website and a static, old blog that’s not kept up.

4. Watch out for broken links.
Broken links kill your credibility and drive your visitors to set out in search of better resources, which can hurt your ranking in Google and other search engines.  Search engines want to deliver relevant results to their users, and when people don’t stick around on your site, it looks like your site isn’t one of them.  Chava will teach you how to keep your “bounce rate” low in her web design and search engine optimization (SEO) workshops.

5. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
You don’t need to establish active profiles across every platform immediately.  Pick the platform you feel most comfortable with (e.g. Instagram, LinkedIn, WordPress, etc.) and develop your skills and quality content there.  You can always broaden your reach after you get going.

Ready to get started?  Register at the links below!


Feature image: “The Art of Social Media” (CC BY 2.0) by  mkhmarketing

WordPress for Japanese Prints

This past spring, WIC staff members had the opportunity to work with Julie Nelson Davis‘s Art History 515: Utamaro and His Contemporaries seminar class. Students were first tasked with researching and cataloging a new collection of Japanese prints donated by Dr. Cecilia Segawa Seigle to the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts in Van Pelt Library. Thereafter, students worked together to build a collaborative WordPress site that would serve as an online catalog for the selected prints.

This image shows Julie's class interacting with the prints.

Julie developed this course with two main objectives in mind: the first was to provide students with a hands-on experience of the original materials, the second was to enable them to strengthen their web-design skills. She writes,

“This course was designed to bring together object-based learning with digital innovations.”

In this way, students interacted with and interpreted real objects, and the website showcases and preserves their research. WordPress, the platform of choice, makes it easy for multiple users to collaborate on a single site together. Each student set up a profile to create posts for individual prints for the catalog. Students were then able to upload images and add their text and links to related works.

Image of one of the posts on the website.
Post for Chōbunsai Eishi, “Beauties on a Pleasure Boat on the Sumida River,” ca. 1792-93

Together, the class also decided on an overall theme, which controls the look and feel of the site. WIC provided an initial overview of WordPress and met with students as they refined the project. In developing the online catalog, students were able to connect with their audience and directly shape how their research is experienced. Julie states,

“It gave them a sense that their research is real and that it really mattered.”

Check out her class’s fantastic website here. She also discussed her class’s experience during our spring Lightning Round held on April 26th and hopes to expand upon the project with future classes.

WIC staff have provided training and support to a number of courses throughout the years, and we look forward to collaborating with new classes in the upcoming semesters. If you have an idea for a project for your class, be sure to check out our Request Custom Training page. You are also always welcome to shoot us an email if you have questions.

If you are interested in learning more about WordPress, we provide workshops on the basics regularly. Our next WordPress Basics class will take place on Wednesday, July 13th from 11 to 12:30 p.m.  We can also provide a one-on-one consultation if you have more specific questions.

Congrats to Taylor McLendon

DTOC_20150422_0098Congratulations to the Vitale Digital Media Lab‘s own Taylor McLendon for being in the inaugural class of the DP’s PennTen.  Taylor was nominated by the Penn community as one of the most impressive ungraduates at the University–someone who makes an impact to the local or global community and will continue to do so after graduation.

Read the full article about Taylor (aka Ivy Sole) at http://dpwebadmin.github.io/taylormclendon/index.html

Taylor is graduating in May, so be sure to drop by the lab soon to wish her congratulations in person!

Summer in Weigle

linkedin photoThis guest post by Amanda Gisonni, a junior in the College studying Psychology, describes her experiences over the summer using various resources in the Weigle Information Commons to improve her technology skills.

If you have ever been in the Weigle Information Commons before, you know it is a great place to work with a group. There are booths, study rooms and free-standing tables, plus talking is always welcome. But did you know it is a technology hub, too? It’s a place where you can get access to the latest gadgets, use top-notch software programs, and take hands-on workshops. Ultimately, you can learn how to use a new program like Excel, Photoshop, iMovie and more, which is exactly what I did this summer.

At the start of the summer I barely knew how to use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or WordPress. Now I can navigate my way through all three Adobe programs, and I even created my own WordPress website. How did I accomplish this? I spent time in Weigle. I took some WICshops, watched Lynda.com tutorials, and experimented with my own projects in some of the software programs.

This is the front and back of a business card I created with Adobe InDesign in the
This is the front and back of a business card I created with Adobe InDesign in the “Making Business Cards with Adobe InDesign” WICshop in July.

Weigle is a great resource for students, but it’s disappointing that not everyone takes advantage of it. Students often get bogged down with school work and claim they simply do not have time. I disagree. I think if students knew how to use the resources available at Penn, they would.

Here is a simple guide to get you started:

  • Sign up for a WICshop (aka a Weigle Information Commons workshop). Check them out this September! Try WordPress Basics, Photoshop Layers, Making mini iMovies, and Crafting a better resume with InDesign and more!
  • Spend some time in a booth or group study room using the software programs on all of the computers. Experiment with InDesign, Photoshop, Excel and more. Reserve a spot here!
  • Don’t have the time to take a WICshop? Reserve a time slot on Lynda.com and learn at your own pace and on your own time! Check out all the videos that Lynda has to offer on the Lynda.com website.
  • Lastly, if you have any questions, just walk in! The Weigle Information Commons staff are friendly and eager to help you out! For those who do not know, Weigle is located in Van Pelt Library on the first floor. Enter through the turnstiles and take a left after the elevators, and then continue straight and you are there!

Check out Amanda’s website at www.amandagisonni.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @amandagisonni

Happy Third Birthday, PennWIC!

We are celebrating PennWIC’s third birthday and WIC’s eighth birthday with a new look!

In April 2006, WIC opened. In April 2011, at Peter Decherney’s suggestion, we started PennWIC. I can’t believe the growth we have seen, with over 71,900 views to date. In April 2011, we had 300 views, and this April we had 3,490 views. We are up to 900 posts now with lots of voices in the mix.

Continue reading Happy Third Birthday, PennWIC!

Pinterest for design ideas

This guest post is by Richard Berman. Rick teaches courses in Urban Studies, and shared his use of Pinterest at the Lightning Round at our October symposium. Pinterest provides a simple way to collect, organize, annotate and share images from a variety of sources. Rick guides his students to document their creative process visually by compiling a Pinterest board of examples they can build upon. He has shared details of his class assignment below:

Richard W. BermanI used WordPress rather than Blackboard, for my new summer class called Exploring Creativity (URBS-421).  My assignments were posted to the site.  The majority of projects the students did during this course were uploaded to the site, as well. Besides allowing me to review their work, it allowed students to see what others were doing, and (hopefully) share their ideas with each other.  During our class sessions, we pulled the site onto our projection screen for class discussions.

I also had each student create a Pinterest account to use during the course.  Links to students Pinterest boards were added to our WordPress homepage, as well.  This short project is an example of how it was integrated into the process:


  1. CHOOSE an urban design problem within Philly. a simple element needing improvement…
  2. DEFINE THE PROBLEM.  Look for the root cause of the problem, not symptoms of a particular design solution.
  3. SKETCH IT (3 sketches).
  4. GATHER IDEAS about how other places solve similar problems. Use Pinterest.com to scrapbook these ideas.  You’ll need to open a free account for this.
  5. DESIGN OWN SOLUTION for Philly. The object isn’t to steal an idea from elsewhere.  Rather it’s to use those ideas to inspire your own.


One example of how works is the Umbrellas board created by Rick’s student Min-ji Kim – this collection of images for umbrella designs from different cultures and contexts has helped her create a new umbrella design.