All posts by Nathalia Santos


What is Perusall?

Perusall is a website that allows for collaborative annotation of readings. You and your students can highlight passages, bookmark it, ask and answer questions, post comments, and upvote them. You can upload your own readings to Perusall or choose a textbook (which your students might have to pay for). Perusall is designed to motivate students primarily through the content of the readings and their social interactions. Perusall incentives students to participate by automatically giving students an engagement score. It gives students feedback on the depth and breadth of annotation and it will automatically nudge students to master the subject.

We have integrated it with Moodle so you can set up your entire course with a few clicks. Perusall is free for you and for your students. Every BMC community member with Moodle access has a Perusall account. Both you and your students can access Perusall via Perusall Activity on Moodle.

Creating a Perusall Activity

Note: You must create an activity before setting up your Perusall course

A Perusall Activity is how you and your students will be able to sign in to your Perusall course. You can link to your course homepage or to a specific assignment in Perusall.

  1. Select Perusall from the Add an activity or resource menu on the Moodle course page in the topic box where you wish the Readings for that week to appear.
  2. Choose a unique Activity Name (eg. Week X Readings, All readings)
  3. Save and return to course
  4. If you want to create an activity per class day, repeat the process above, and use the same Activity Name as your Assignment Name in Perusall.

Setting Up Perusall

  1. Click your Perusall activity in Moodle (if you don’t have one, see the instructions above)
  2. Another window will open and you will be guided through the Perusall setup process
  3. In Perusall, make changes to your course:

Screenshot of Perusall home screen

    • You can customize the text on the Get Started tab
    • Manage your roster and explore student performance in the Students tab. You can see which students enrolled in the Perusall course (clicked the Perusall Activity you set up in Moodle).
    • Add your readings to the Library tab. You can upload documents or choose a textbook (which your students might have to pay to access).
    • Set up your reading assignments in the Assignments tab. After you are done uploading your readings, you can assign page ranges, multiple readings, deadlines, and add instructions for your students. Once students begin work, this tab will show real-time analytics about your class’ engagement in the assignments.

Visit the Perusall Help Page for Instructors for more features.

What do I tell my students?

Your students will interact with the Perusall activity just like any other in Moodle. Once they click on the provided Perusall Activity, they will be taken to your Perusall course page.

  1. Click Assignments to view assigned readings
    a. Highlight, comment, compile a list of excerpts, ask and answer questions

Your students can find more features and instructions on how to use Perusall by visiting the Perusall Help Page for Students

Audience Participation in Zoom: Chat, Reactions, Polling

Audience participation in small meetings is relatively straightforward, as participants can unmute themselves to speak. However, even in small online meetings, some participants may find it hard to speak. Things that are challenging in person — such as determining when a sufficiently long pause has elapsed and it’s socially acceptable for the next person to start — become even more difficult with slight network lags, audio issues and small video windows in a Zoom call. It’s a good idea to facilitate Zoom discussions more proactively than you would an equivalent in-person meeting and solicit audience feedback in different ways, especially as meetings get bigger.

Host/Facilitator Tips

  • Provide structures for turn-taking: for example, use a roundtable discussion and have each speaker call on the next person or have host call on people in turn
  • Periodically pause to check in with those who haven’t spoken or provide invitation for quiet to speak.
  • Use multiple Zoom meeting tools to solicit feedback and participation, rather than only relying on verbal participation.
  • Be mindful of conditions that might make it difficult for participants to join in (verbally or in other ways). Consider inviting participants to inform you about challenges in advance or discussing participation challenges and preferences as a group at the start of a meeting.
  • Note that even with video on, it will be difficult for many people to gauge each other’s responses, especially when someone is sharing screens, there are many participants, or you’re joining from a device with a small screen. To make up for this, build in periodic breaks to deliberately solicit feedback on presentations and discussions.

Use In-Meeting Chat (Sanely)

In-meeting chat messages can be a life raft for participants dealing with background noise and trying not to disturb (or be overheard by) room- or office-mates and for those who find inserting themselves into conversations challenging. On the other hand, participants who telephone in can’t see chat messages and many people find it hard to follow verbal and a chat discussions simultaneously. To help everyone get the best use out of the chat:

  • Ask someone who is comfortable following chat to relay or periodically summarize comments and questions for those who aren’t.
  • For very large meetings, consider designating co-hosts to moderate the chat full-time, replying to questions in the chat and relaying or summarizing them for presenters.
  • Deliberately stop and check in for feedback at periodic intervals. You can ask the chat moderator to relay information and invite additional verbal comments and questions.
  • Call everyone’s attention to the chat at times — for example, do a quick, informal poll by posing a question and asking everyone to post responses in the chat. Bring these into the main discussion by summarizing patterns or inviting individuals to elaborate verbally.
  • Participants can increase the font size of the chat if they are having difficulty reading it.

Solicit Non-Verbal Reactions

Non-verbal reactions were designed to give make participants digital analogues for physical cues like raising a hand to signal the desire to speak. In recent updates, they have become more useful for meeting management since all are now visible in the participants list and the host sees a quick tally of icon types at the bottom of the screen.

Reactions menu
Participants can now choose all reactions from the Reactions menu.
All reactions now appear in the Participants window and hosts see a tally for easier scanning.

With a little direction, hosts and presenters can use reaction icons to gauge responses and manage a meeting:

  • Ask participants to click Raise Hand when they wish to speak; they will appear at the top of the Participants list in the order their “hands” were raised. Participants can call on the next person in the list as they finish speaking or a host can.
  • Conduct quick yes/no polls by asking a binary question (e.g., Should we move on to the next topic?), asking participants to choose the Yes or No reactions, and viewing the tally at the bottom of the Participants window.
  • Use reactions to quickly “take the temperature” of the room. Invite participants to use a reaction to indicate how they are feeling or to give a response to a prompt. Asks for volunteers to elaborate on any reaction types you found ambivalent or surprising.
  • If you’re using slides, add multiple choice questions to your slide and map specific reactions to the answer choices — for example, [font name=”surprise”] = A, [font name=”thumbs-up”] = B, etc. — for more elaborate polls.

Use Zoom’s Polling Feature

For longer and more complex polls or to keep a record of participant responses, you will need to use Zoom’s polling features. See Zoom’s Polling for meetings documentation for instructions on how to set up polls, run them during a meeting, and accessing polling data after the meeting and for a video tutorial.

  • You can only create and manage polls in the Zoom desktop client (Mac or Windows). Android and iOS mobile app users can participate in polls, but not run them.
  • The person scheduling a meeting can set up poll questions in advance (in the Zoom web portal only). However, only that person will be able to edit and create polls during the meeting. Co-hosts and alternative hosts will only be able to launch the pre-created polls.
  • Polls can be anonymous or identified, but either way this applies to both the in-meeting results and downloadable poll reports — there is no way to record identified answers but only view results anonymously during a meeting.
  • Only the person who launches the poll can real-time results as people vote; however, they can share the results overview after it ends.
  • Poll reports only include data for the most recent iteration of a poll; if you relaunch a poll, the new results will overwrite the old ones. If you need to keep both sets, create a second poll with the same questions and use it instead of relaunching the original.
  • The only way to reliably attach poll results to identifiable individuals is to require registration for the meeting.  Registered participants will be identified by the name and email address they gave when registering. If registration is turned off, some participants may only be identified by their screen names.

Participate in a Zoom Meeting

You will need a laptop, desktop computer, or mobile device with Internet access. For the best experience, use headphones to cancel out ambient noise and avoid audio echos. If you want to share video and your device does not have a built-in camera, you will need a webcam. 

Zoom has video tutorials and live training webinars if you prefer learning that way.

Table of Contents:

Before Your First Zoom Meeting

  1. Install the free Zoom app on your device(s)
  2. Join a test meeting to test your connection and familiarize yourself with the interface.
    1. Test your device’s audio & video (video/camera isn’t working)
    2. Practice muting/unmuting your microphone and camera
    3. Practice showing and using Chat. If you have audio issues or find it hard to jump in verbally, you can post comments to the chat.
    4. Practice  Zoom’s built-in nonverbal feedback buttons.
    5. If you are on a computer, try out options for taking notes in a different app/window while viewing a Zoom meeting:
      1. Switch back and forth between Zoom and your notes by pressing Alt+Tab (Windows) or Cmd+Tab (MacOS).
      2. Quickly open them side-by-side with Windows snap (the keyboard option is fastest) or MacOS split view.

To practice sharing your screen, you’ll need to exit the test meeting (where screen sharing is disabled) and click the New Meeting button to start your own.

  • You will need to choose between your desktop or specific applications or windows. Use the desktop if other options aren’t working correctly.
  • For best results, have the application or window you want to show open before clicking Share.
  • If you’re sharing a PowerPower or similar slideshow program, share your screen first, then enter Presenter View.
  • You can give a meeting host control of your screen or they can request remote control of your screen to help you troubleshoot problems in an application.

Recording a Meeting

As the meeting host, your instructor may record the meeting. Zoom will always notify participants that a meeting is being recorded.

  • If you are joining via computer or mobile device: you will receive a notification pop-up
  • If you are joining via phone: you will hear an audio prompt if it’s already being recorded or, at the time the recording begins

Always remember that you can set your virtual background and/or mute your video camera or microphone.



Learn more about Zoom

Visit Zoom’s Help Center which contains an in-depth Getting Started Guide and a collection of one minute video introductions.

Additionally, Zoom hosts free and interactive live training webinars daily.

  • Zoom Meetings For Education (45 minutes)
  • Getting Started with Zoom Meetings (30 minutes)
  • Zoom Meetings (60 minutes)

Live training is great since you can ask questions, but you can also watch recorded training sessions from the same link.

LinkedIn Learning also has a great class on Zoom (45 minutes). Please login with your Bryn Mawr credentials.


Optional: Getting a Zoom Pro account

A Zoom Pro account is not required to use Zoom, but can be helpful if you host group meetings or act as a TA.



If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor

Get/Log Into a BMC Zoom Account

Zoom is a purpose-built web-conferencing tool. It has features that make it easier to run large collaborative meetings: a fully collaborative whiteboard, polling, and breakout rooms.

Personal vs. BMC Zoom Accounts

  • You can use a personal Zoom account to attend most meetings hosted by Bryn Mawr College faculty, students and staff.
  • However, you will need a BMC Zoom account to be an alternative host for a BMC-hosted meeting and to fully use the integrations with Moodle and Panopto.
  • All current Bryn Mawr College students and employees are also eligible for accounts on Bryn Mawr College’s institutional Zoom license.
  • A BMC Zoom account allows you to host meetings for up to 300 attendees with no time limits.

Not sure if you have a BMC account? See Am I Using a Bryn Mawr Zoom Account?

Set up your BMC Zoom Account

If you have a personal Zoom account, do one of the following BEFORE you set up your BMC Zoom account:

When you’re ready to create your BMC Zoom account, follow the Log in to Your BMC Zoom Account in a Web Browser instructions below. The first time you log into to Zoom using the Sign in with SSO option and your Bryn Mawr College credentials an account will automatically be created.

If you run into any difficulty, please contact

Log In to Your BMC Zoom Account in a Web Browser

  1. Open a private or incognito window in your web browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.)
  2. Go to
  3. Click Sign in with SSO. 
  4. If you are already logged into a college system such as Outlook or Moodle, you may be taken straight to your Zoom profile page. Otherwise, you will be redirected to a Bryn Mawr login page (see screen shot below) to log in and authenticate with Duo.

Log In to Your BMC Zoom Account through the Zoom Desktop or Mobile App

  1. Download the Zoom desktop client or mobile app to your device(s)
  2. Click the Sign in with SSO (desktop client) or SSO (mobile app) button.
  3. If you are already logged into a college system such as Outlook or Moodle, you may be taken straight to your Zoom profile page. Otherwise enter the company’s domain name, use brynmawr-edu (NOTE the hyphen, don’t use a dot!) when prompted.
  4. You will be redirected to a Bryn Mawr login page (see screen shot above) to log in and authenticate with Duo.

More Information


If you have any additional questions or problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440
Location: Canaday Library 1st Floor

Host Zoom Meetings

This article explains how to use the Zoom meeting as a host to admit participants, view non-verbal reactions and raised hands, and control what participants can do.

Prefer video? Watch Zoom’s Meeting Controls Overview.


Before You Begin …

This article assumes you:

*Note: Some hosting features are not available on mobile devices and reduced screen size can be challenging. We recommend using a computer to host meetings that are large or complex.

Hosts, Co-Hosts and Alternative Hosts

Zoom meetings and webinars can only have one host. You can share meeting management powers with other people by making them co-hosts or alternative hosts.

  • To enable others to start a meeting, add them as alternative hosts in the meeting settings. (Note: these people must also have a BMC Zoom account.)
  • The person (host or alternative host) who starts the meeting automatically becomes the host.
    • Alternative hosts who join after a meeting is started become co-hosts.
    • The host can also make other participants to be co-hosts during the meeting .
    • New for 2021: if the person who created the meeting joins after the meeting has started, they will automatically become the host and the alternative host will become a co-host (or participant if the co-host role is disabled).
  • Co-hosts can do everything that the host can do, EXCEPT start closed captioning, start live streaming, enable the waiting room, end the meeting for all, and promote others to co-host.

Start the Meeting

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Click on a Zoom meeting link. Zoom will launch the web portal or desktop or mobile app for you. Choose the Sign in with SSO option to log in if prompted.
    • Go to, open your Zoom desktop or mobile app, or open the Zoom activity in your Moodle course; find the meeting you want to start; and click the Start or Start this Meeting button.
  2. When prompted, click Join with Computer Audio
  3. Click on the Microphone icon to mute/unmute yourself and the Camera icon to turn your webcam on/off

Admit Participants

If the Waiting Room is enabled, a host and co-hosts will will see pop-up notifications whenever someone enters the waiting room and needs to be admitted.

  1. Click Manage Participants to open the Participants list. Individuals in the waiting room are at the top.
  2. Click Admit all to let everyone in.
  3. To selectively admit people, click the Remove and Admit buttons next to their names (hover the cursor over the names if you don’t see these buttons).
  4. Click Message to post a message to the waiting room screen — for example, to explain a delayed start or give people participation instructions.

Share Screens and Files

  1. Click Share Screen
  2. You may need to grant Zoom access for screen-sharing and recording. If so, follow the pop-up prompts provided by Zoom.
  3. Zoom covers the difference between the available options of screen and file sharing.

Zoom should NOT be used for any kind of permanent file storage, use OneDrive or Moodle instead.

Manage the Meeting

Group Activities and Class Interaction in Moodle

Asynchronous classes do not mean that students can’t engage with each other and actively participate in class! Moodle offers different solutions for asynchronous communications and collaboration, such as Forums, Messaging, and Groups. Instructors can use Groups for collaborative activities and break-out group discussions. Forums in Moodle allow faculty and students to communicate in a discussion-board format, including posting media so that conversations can continue online. Messaging lets individuals and groups message each other, both in real-time and through email.

Additionally, asynchronous tools allow all students to think about their answers and responses to each other, making interactions more meaningful. Asynchronous communication gives teachers the chance to look closely and devote time to each students’ participation, comments, and interactions, making it easier to provide feedback and assess learning.

Using Groups:

The Groups feature allows an instructor to assign students (and TAs or co-instructors) to one or more groups for the entire course or individual activities. Because students can be in multiple groups at once, instructors can set up different group memberships for different activities (e.g., using larger groups for forum discussions, and smaller groups for peer review activities).  In addition, groups of students can each be assigned separate activities. Groups can be used to set up lab sections, make project groups, or closely utilize features within Moodle activities (such as Campus Pack and OU tools).

Using Forums:

Need a space for you and your students to have discussions? Have response questions that your students need to reply and comment on? Need a Q & A to clarify lecture/reading/assignments? Forums are your best friend!

Using Messaging:

Need a space for students to collaborate privately? Everyone on Moodle can use Messaging to contact other Moodle users via real-time chat (if they are online) or message (if they are offline). Offline users are notified of Messages when they log in and can opt into receiving Messages via email. Students can contact their groups, other individuals, or you, privately through messaging:

Teaching Online with Teams

Installing and Setting Up Teams

  1. The first step is to obtain the Teams client. This is available to download for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android from Microsoft. If you are unable to download Teams, you can access the web version by logging in on the Microsoft Teams page. Microsoft Teams is part of Office 365. Because you are a Bryn Mawr community member, you are entitled to the licensed version of both the web and Desktop version of Teams.
    • Note: We recommend that if you access the web version of Teams, use Chrome since it does not work in Firefox or Safari.
  2. Open Teams on your computer and log in with your College username and password. Like other Office 365 platforms, Teams is protected by Duo Authentication. Make sure to have your authenticating device around.

Note: Upon entering the Teams desktop app for the first time, you may see a window on your screen that lists specific Teams you’re not a member of (e.g. Admissions); you can ignore this. You don’t need a Team to host classes or meetings.

Scheduling classes:

We recommend using Outlook to schedule a Teams meeting for your class. With Outlook you can find Tri-Co community members more easily than within the Teams app.

  1. Schedule a meeting.
    • If you use the Desktop version of Outlook, switch to the calendar, click Meeting, and then the Teams Meeting button.
    • If you use Outlook Web Access (Webmail), switch to the calendar, click New Event and then Add Online Meeting (to the right of the room/location field), then select Teams Meeting.
    • Set the date and time as you would normally.
  2. Make your meeting recurring to generate one unique link that will work for all of your class sessions.
  3. Invite yourself and any BMC colleagues who will be hosting the class or meeting, but not your students – this comes later*.
  4. Outlook will automatically generate a “Join this Meeting” link and a dial-in number. Hit send, and this info will be shared with your attendees in the description field of the event.
  5. Click on the event you just set up in your calendar to open the details
  6. Right-click (or control + click on a Mac) on the Join Teams Meeting in the description field of your event link to copy the URL.
  7. Share the copied link via Moodle by sending an announcement and/or posting it on your class page.

*Note: We strongly recommend this workflow as opposed to adding students to your calendar meeting. It will be easier for you, especially if you have a large class. Besides, by posting the link in Moodle you ensure that all your Tri-Co students have exactly the same experience when trying to access your online class.

Hosting your Meeting:

  1. Joining a meeting
  2. Sharing a desktop or a file in a meeting:
    • To share your screen, a specific app, or a file in a meeting, click Share desktopShare screen button  in your meeting controls.
    • You may need to grant Teams access for screen sharing and recording. If so, Teams will guide you through the process via its pop-up prompts.
    • Microsoft covers the difference between the available options of screen and file sharing
      • Note: Teams should not be used for any kind of archiving or permanent storage for files. If you need a file permanently, we suggest keeping it on another platform (OneDrive, Moodle).
  3. Managing your meeting:

Letting your students in

Your students do not need a Teams account to join. They should be able to join through their browser (EXCEPT for Firefox and Safari) or by downloading the Teams app once they click your meeting link.

Microsoft provides documentation you can send to your students as a resource

Since your students will be joining the meeting as guests, they will by default enter the lobby before getting admitted by you. Teams will alert you when someone is waiting in the lobby.

Click Admit to let them into the meeting, or View lobby to admit or deny them, as well as see a list of everyone who’s waiting.


Breaking up your class into smaller groups:

Teams does not natively support group break-out voice or chat (i.e., on-the-fly dividing your students into smaller groups for class discussion, collaboration).

If your class is made up only of Bryn Mawr Students, they will need to sign-in to Teams and search for each other in the chatbox. This will not work with Haverford students because they do not have a login in Teams. Faculty have successfully work around this limitation by pairing Bi-Co students and/or having them use another platform (phone calls, Google Hangouts, Moodle, etc)

Note: We can only offer support with Moodle and Teams.


More general information about using Teams is available at

If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact the Help Desk at 610-526-7440 or

Domain of One’s Own: WordPress Website

WordPress is an open-source publishing platform that can be used for setting up a blog or basic website. It is one of the most popular publishing platforms on the web.

This guide will help you with:

Installing WordPress

Installing WordPress on your own domain can be done by following these simple steps:

Once logged in at with your Bryn Mawr credentials you’ll be at the homepage of your cPanel (control panel). Navigate to the Applications section in the left-hand toolbar or under the Software section, select Installatron Applications Installer. This will take you to the My Applications section where your already installed applications will be located. In the right hand corner of the screen you will see Applications Browser.

Click on it, and you will be brought to a page with all the available web applications to download through Domain of One’s Own. Scroll down to Apps for Content Management and you will see the WordPress icon in the top row.

This page gives you more information about the WordPress software. To begin the install click Install this Application in the upper right-hand corner.

Screenshot of Install this application button

On the next page the installer will ask for some information about this install. The first thing you’ll want to decide is where to install it. For example, you could install it in a subdomain you have created by selecting it from the dropdown menu. You also have the option of installing WordPress in a subfolder by typing in the folder name in the Directory field. Click here for more information about subdomains and subdirectories.

Screenshot of directory field

By default the installer will automatically backup your website and update it anytime a new version comes out. While we recommend you keep this option, it is possible to complete only minor updates, or turn them off completely. The installer will also create a database for you automatically, but if you’ve already created one for this website you can choose Let me manage the database settings and enter the details. Finally, you’ll need to create an initial username and password for the WordPress install. Enter that information in the final section and click Install.

screenshot of the Install button

The installer will take just a few moments to install WordPress and a progress bar will keep you updated. When it is complete you will see a link to your new WordPress site (the first one without the /wp-admin end) as well as a link to the back-end administrative section for your WordPress site (the one ending with /wp-admin) leads you to the admin login page. This is where you login in to edit your website.

Screenshot of WordPress in MyApps

The last link ( takes you to WordPress support page for additional help.

If you would prefer to use a video tutorial, please see this one created by the University of Oklahoma. Be aware that the layout of their cPanel may not match the one available at

Congratulations, you’ve now installed WordPress! Now you can start customizing it with themes, plugins, and more.

General Settings: Title and Tagline

Now that you have your WordPress installed and running, it’s time to look at some basic settings for your site. The place that you will access the settings for your site is called the Dashboard, and it provides the starting point for accessing all of WordPress’s settings and options. You can access your Dashboard by adding “/wp-admin” to your WordPress site’s URL, or through the link available in your main Installatron dashboard.

To change your blog “title” and “tagline,” go to Settings > General. Once you’re on the General Settings page, you can give your blog any title you want. You can also give your blog a tagline, which can be a short description of the blog.

Depending on what theme you use, the title and tagline will show up in various places. In the case of some themes, they might not show up at all depending on whether they allow custom configurations. We won’t worry about that for now. If you use the default theme (currently “Twenty Nineteen”), the blog title and tagline will display at the bottom center of the site.

There are more settings on the General Settings page, such as setting the administrative email account, time zone, date format, etc. Change those to whatever is appropriate for your site and geographical location.

WordPress Themes

When it comes to WordPress, customizing the look of your site is simple and straightforward. When you install WordPress, the default (or pre-set) theme is called Twenty Nineteen (as of WordPress version 5.2.2). It is a very customizable theme. You can also easily modify the colors of the different fonts and backgrounds used in the theme.

You can find out more about customizing the homepage layout here. You can also read more general information about Twenty Nineteen.

In addition to Twenty Nineteen, you’ll have other themes available to you. If Twenty Nineteen doesn’t meet your needs, you can activate another theme on your site or install a completely new one.

Activating Themes

  • Start at your WordPress site’s Dashboard.
  • Navigate to Appearance > Themes in the left-hand menu navigation. You will see “Themes” after mousing over “Appearance.” Click on “Themes.”
  • You will see thumbnail images representing each of the themes currently installed. Simply mouse over any one of them, and click the Activate link.

That’s all you need to do to change the look of your site with a new theme. Themes can be further customized after activation by going to Appearance > Customize. Customization options will vary with the installed theme.

Installing Themes

If none of the themes that were provided when you installed WordPress are what you’re looking for, you can always search for and install other themes from the WordPress Theme Repository.

  • Navigate to Appearance > Themes in the left-hand menu navigation. You will see “Themes” after mousing over “Appearance.” Click on “Themes.”
  • Installing new themes is quite simple. You start by going to the Add New Button.
  • When you mouse over the thumbnail picture of a theme three choices should appear:  InstallPreview, and Details & PreviewPreview lets you see what your content would look like without committing you to installing the theme. Details & Preview does the same, but allows you to see the description of the theme while previewing.  Click Install to add a new theme to your theme menu options.
  • Once the theme is installed, an Activate button will appear in place of the Install button. Click Activate to make the theme live.

Once activated, your site will be using the new theme. Visit your site’s homepage to view your new theme.

Publishing Content

The primary activity that you’re likely to be doing on your WordPress site is publishing content. The content could be text you write, pictures you take, video or audio files (which may be hosted on another site), or other media that you’ve found elsewhere on the web. WordPress makes it very easy to publish media content of all types, whether hosted on your actual web server or elsewhere.

Posts vs Pages

Out of the box, WordPress provides two primary content types for you two work with: posts and pages. If you read blogs or have ever written for a blog before, the concept of a post is probably a bit familiar. Posts often are content that appear on your blog in some kind of scheduled way. They usually are presented on your site in reverse-chronological order. To add a new post, visit your site’s dashboard, hover over “Posts” in the left sidebar, and select Add New.

Pages usually correspond to our more traditional concept of what makes up a website. Pages might be content that is less frequently updated or changed, and they are usually organized by menus rather than by dates. To add a new page, visit your site’s dashboard, hover over “Pages” in the left sidebar, and select Add New.

If you were using WordPress to build a business website with a lot of information content, you would probably use Pages. If you added a feature to that site where you started to advertise special events or news, you would probably use Posts.

A few other things to know about Pages vs Posts:

  • If you want your content to be accessible to your users via a feed (RSS/syndication), you’ll need to use Posts. By default, Pages do not appear in a site’s RSS feed.
  • Categories and Tags (which are used in WordPress to help you organize your content) are ONLY available on Posts by default. Page organization is done through customizing your site’s menus.
  • WordPress, by default, also creates “Category Pages” and “Tag Pages” that display all the Posts in a category or tag. These are NOT related to the regular Page type.

Post Blocks

Recent versions of WordPress have a new “blocks” feature that will style the appearance of your posts according to the block you select. Basically, if you plan to post an image, you will probably prefer a layout that best accommodates your image. Ditto for video, quotes, links, etc. Specific format options are optimized for displaying different types of content. Changing the block will not change the content of a post; it will only affect how users see it. You must be using a theme that has this feature enabled to use “block.” If you have a relevant theme activated, some of the blocks you may see on the right sidebar when editing a post include:

  • cover:  A cover image for your post, over which you can write text.
  • gallery:  A gallery of images.
  • list:  A bulleted list of items.
  • image:  A single image.
  • quote:  A quotation.
  • paragraph:  A block of text.
  • video:   A single video.
  • audio:  An audio file.
  • file:   A file you can upload from your computer.

Blocks now include options to add more sophisticated content, such as calendar and RSS widgets, and embedding Twitter posts, TED Talks, Hulu videos, Slideshare presentations, and much more. You can rearrange blocks on your post by simply hovering over the left-hand side, clicking the dots, and dragging around the block.

Many older themes do not recognize blocks. You can view the details of your activated theme in the Appearance Themes menu to determine whether or not your current theme has this functionality.


Upon occasion, you may want to include media (images, audio, video) in your site’s posts and pages. How your users will access your files is something to keep in mind when adding media to your site. There are generally two approaches to handling media in WordPress, each with different advantages:

Uploading: You can upload the files into your site’s Media Gallery and then link to them in your posts/pages. This works very well for images, and when you take this approach for images, you have the added benefit of being able to make use of WordPress’s built-in (albeit rudimentary) editing tools. Also, when you upload images to WordPress, it automatically creates different sizes that you can use, as needed.

To upload an image to your WordPress site, visit your site’s dashboard, hover over “Media” in the left sidebar, and select Add New.

Always make sure to add alternative text when uploading any media. Alternative text makes your site accessible to people with visual impairments and anyone accessing the content through a reader rather than visually. Alternative text is usually just a short explanation of what’s happening in an image.

Uploading files may not be the best approach to displaying audio and video content. In order to have your media files actually show up in a “player” (with controls for stopping, pausing, etc.) you’ll need to install a plugin (add-on software that increases the versatility of your theme). Otherwise, you’ll only be able to include links to the files. Without a plugin, the ways people view/listen to these files will depend on the setup on their own computer and browser. They may, for example, have to download the media file and then open it in another program on their computer.

Embedding: You can embed video and audio from many external services (YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc.) by simply placing the full URL of the audio/video location on its own line in your post or page. Embedding an image just means providing a URL to its location elsewhere on the web. Instead of uploading it to the server, WordPress grabs that image from the external source and displays it on your post or page. However, with this approach you lose your editing capabilities as well as the resizing feature.

There is a complete list of supported external services, and you can learn more about embedding at the WordPress site. Our general advice is to use externally hosted media whenever it makes sense and works. For example, you may want to use externally hosted media for audio or video because, without installing plugins, well-presented audio and video in WordPress is tricky to manage. For images, if you need to do basic editing and/or require different sizes of images, upload them to your site. Otherwise, consider referencing them from another location (your Flickr account, for example).

Building Your Custom Menu

Start at your site’s Dashboard and choose Appearance > Menus.

In the Custom Menus interface that appears, type a name for your menu. This can be anything you want. It doesn’t get displayed anywhere; it’s used by WordPress to identify and place your menu. Once you’ve typed the name, click Create Menu.

Creating and naming a menu.

You’ll now be presented with a screen that includes a section titled Menu Settings. This is where you’ll indicate where you want your menu to appear in your theme. The number of locations available depends on the theme you choose. In the example shown below, there are two areas available; we’ve chosen to place the menu in the Primary area which we know corresponds to the header menu. You may need to experiment a bit in order to find out where your menu will appear in your theme.

Setting the primary menu option

You can always change this location later by coming back here and clicking the Manage Locations tab.

Selecting location of WordPress menu.

Now that you’ve set up your menu and assigned it to a location, you can begin to add links to it. On the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see what content is available to add. On the right-hand side of the screen, in the Menu Structure area, you can arrange and organize your links.

Rearranging menu items

By default, you may not see everything that is available to you to add to your menu. For example, posts can be added to menus, but they’re not usually displayed by default. To make more content available, click the Screen Options tab at the top of your WordPress screen, and then click off the check boxes that correspond to additional content.

To add content to your menu, simply check it off on the left, and click the Add to Menu button.

Your new content will appear on the right, and you can drag items in the order you want them to appear. Drag items to the right to indent them under other items. This will usually make them appear as drop-down items in your menu.

You can add custom links to your menu by clicking the Custom Links section on the left. In the short form that appears, enter your link’s URL, and text for the link. Click Add to Menu to move it to the left.

Note that you can change the link text of any item you add to your menu. This can be helpful if you have a page with a long title, and you’d like the link to not take up so much space. You can abbreviate the title in the Navigation Label section (found by selecting the arrow to the right of the menu item), and that shorter text will become the actual menu link.

When you are done, make sure you click Save Menu.

Other Notes about Menus

When you add a Category or Tag to a menu, the link will take your readers to an archive of all the posts on your site that use that category or tag. This can be a very useful feature for organizing your content when you’re using posts to share your work.

In addition to assigning Custom Menus to theme areas, there is a default Custom Menu widget that you can put in the sidebar of your site. This is useful for creating smaller, customized navigation for your site.

Reading Settings – Front Page

By default, the front page of your site is a blog, but you can also change that to a static page and move your blog, if you wish to have one, to another location on your site.

Start at the Dashboard.
Navigate to Settings > Reading.

The front page displays your latest blog posts by default. You may also select a Page from the website to serve as your front page. This page has to exist before you can select it. Select the “A static page” radio button and choose the Sample Page from the Front page drop-down menu (a Sample Page was created for you when you installed WordPress). Click the Save Changes button and now you will have the Sample Page as your Front page.

To place your blog posts elsewhere, first, create a new Page and title it Blog (you can title it whatever you want but Blog is common and descriptive). Leave the page blank (don’t type any text in the edit box) and Publish it. Now go back to Settings > Reading. Under the static page area choose Blog from the Posts page drop-down. Click the Save Changes button.

If you click on the Blog menu item when on the public side of your website, you will see your blog posts. Notice the /blog added to the web address.

Part of the popularity of WordPress is how easily it makes a website functional and yet attractive. One of the smaller details that you might want to adjust is how the addresses to your blog posts are structured. Permalink is the name given to the address of an individual blog post because they are “permanent links.” To change the permalink structure, start by going to the Dashboard.

Next, go to Settings > Permalinks.

As you can see, there are several choices under Common Settings. A popular choice is to use the Post name choice, which is a bit more informative. So our post titled “Installing WordPress” would have an address of “”

If you want to have the date as part of the address, you can choose Day and name or Month and name. You can also change the structure of category and tag names under the Optional section.

Finally, when you write a blog post, you have the option of editing the permalink for an individual post. Just click to edit the title of your post, and a Permalink box with the option to edit should appear above your title in editing mode. Then, type in your preferred permalink (remembering that URLs must be unique). Generally you want to make it as simple and short as possible.

WordPress Widgets

Widgets are a more advanced feature of WordPress that allow you even more control over the content on your site. In essence, widgets are small containers of content that can be placed in various areas of your site. Where you can place widgets depends entirely on the theme you are using. Most themes include at least one “sidebar” into which you can place widgets. Some themes include additional “widgetized” areas. The best way to find out what areas are available to you is to go to Appearance > Widgets and take a look at the areas listed on the right. Each widgetized area will appear as a box on the right. In the example shown below, the theme contains three widgetized areas: Blog Sidebar, Footer 1, and Footer 2.

Widget menu in WordPress.

To the left of this area, you will see a number of widgets available to you. WordPress comes with default widgets installed. Other widgets may become available when you have a particular theme activated. Additionally, some plugins (see section on plugins below) may expand the number of widgets you have access to.

Widgets can present all different kinds of information. The simplest widgets allow you to add text to your site. But you’ll also find widgets with many options that you can set to display dynamic content or to interact with other services. Below is a list of the default widgets available in WordPress.

When you’re ready to start using widgets, all you need to do is drag them from the left-hand side of the Widgets interface into the boxes on the right. WordPress will immediately save them, but you may need to set some options.

Default Widgets

  • Archives: Shows a monthly listing of your posts.
  • Audio: Displays an audio player.
  • Calendar: Shows a calendar view of your posts.
  • Categories: Shows a list of all of the categories on your site.
  • Custom HTML: Arbitrary HTML code.
  • Gallery: Displays an image gallery.
  • Image: Displays an image.
  • Meta: Shows links to your RSS feed and your login.
  • Navigation Menu: Add a navigation menu to your sidebar.
  • Pages: Shows a menu of all of your pages.
  • Recent Comments: Shows the most recent comments on your posts.
  • Recent Posts: Shows your most recent posts.
  • RSS: Allows you to show content from an RSS feed.
  • Search: Provides your users with a search box.
  • Tag Cloud: Shows a “cloud” of the tags/categories on your site.
  • Text: Shows whatever text you enter.
  • Video: Displays a video from the media library or external host.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress has a lot of functionality built in, but occasionally you may want to do something with WordPress that the default software can’t handle. There are ways to augment and extend what WordPress can do by using software plugins. Whether you require photo galleries, site statistics, automatic Twitter and Facebook sharing of posts, or something else entirely — you will find that there is likely an available plugin that can do what you need. As of now, there are over 51,000 plugins available to WordPress users! To start using and installing plugins just follow these simple instructions:

  • Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  • From the left side menu locate and click Plugins. You will be given a list of all your currently installed plugins.
  • This menu allows you to activate and disable specified plugins on an individual basis via the options located under each plugin name. If you wish to handle multiple plugins at once, you may use the bulk action drop down menu to simultaneously activate/disable multiple plugins by checking desired plugins. Additionally, you use this menu to sort installed plugins using the sorting options above the bulk action menu.
  • To install a new plugin, click “add new” either from the plugin sidebar or the main plugin menu. You will then be redirected to a search engine where you can search using general or specific terms to find plugins.  Try searching for “photo gallery” — the search should return plugins that suit displaying image files in a gallery format.
  • Once you locate a plugin you wish to install, hit the “install now” option. This will automatically install the plugin. You will have to activate the plugin to use it; you should also see a prompt asking if you would like to activate the plugin at this time.

After installing your plugin be sure to visit the developers’ website if you have any additional questions about how the plugin works, as some plugins may require certain codes or other actions to be used properly.

Some plugins will have their own settings page located under Settings, while other plugins will install their own menu on the left-hand side of the Dashboard. The best way to understand how to use a plugin is to make sure you’ve read the documentation available on the plugin’s website as every plugin behaves differently and sometimes it won’t be explicit how the plugin interacts with your website.

Basic Privacy

WordPress is a platform intended to allow you to share your thoughts and ideas freely and easily with the world. However, there are options to publish to a more limited audience.

The first way is to limit who can find your website. That is done by keeping search engines, like Google, from seeing (known as indexing) your site.

To do this, we’ll start at the Dashboard.

Navigate to Settings > Reading.

Normally the box next to Search Engine Visibility is unchecked. If you decide to check the box, it will “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” It will depend on the search engine to honor your “request.” Some search engines will simply ignore it. Obviously, this is not a sure-fire way of keeping your blog private.

You also have options on individual posts to keep them private, so that only people who are logged in to your site can view a given post. You can also password protect posts with a password you supply. When you are ready to publish your post, click the Publish button in the top right-hand side of the page, and then choose the Private radio button to keep a post hidden behind the login, or choose the Password protected button and then type in the password you wish to use. It will then ask you if you are ready to publish your post in whichever way you just chose.

There is a plugin called More Privacy Options that allows you to fine-tune privacy settings on your site.

Discussion Settings

What makes WordPress a powerful platform is that not only can you create a dynamic website, but you can also allow for dynamic discussions about the content with your visitors. However, comments, the bread and butter of discussions, can add to the overhead of your website management. You have to keep up with responses to your commenters or they will think you aren’t paying attention. Comments also can come, unfortunately, in the form of Spam. We will give you some additional information about dealing with Spam in another section. For now, here’s how to manage your Discussion Settings.

Start at the Dashboard.

Navigate to Settings > Discussion

The two main forms of discussion on a website are: “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles” and “Allow people to post comments on new articles.”

Comments are self-explanatory. People come to your website, read an article, and as long as you allow comments, people can write whatever is on their mind. Commenters must leave their name and email address (if you leave that setting checked). You can also require users to be registered to your site to comment. They would then need to be logged in to submit any comments. By default you will get an email sent to the admin account of the WordPress site when someone posts a comment, or when a comment is held in moderation. You can uncheck those boxes if you do not wish to receive those emails.

A comment will appear on the article (post or page) only after you approve it. If you have approved a comment author once, they will be automatically approved the next time they leave a comment on your site. If you uncheck the box labeled “Comment author must have a previously approved comment”, then all comments will appear automatically. We don’t recommend this setting.

You also have some control over comment moderation regarding how many links a comment contains (spammers like to put links in their “comments”). You also can filter out words, URLs, email addresses, to hold them in moderation. You can then approve them, spam them, or trash them.

There are also forms of discussion called link notifications. Spammers like these too. Here’s an article on the What, Why, and How-To’s of Trackbacks and Pingbacks in WordPress.

Sometimes it’s nice to have visual representations of the people who are commenting on your blog. These are called Avatars and can be found under Settings > Discussion.

WordPress uses a common universal system of avatars called Gravatars (Globally Recognized Avatars). The system requires you to sign up with your email address. You can upload a graphical representation of yourself (a picture or other graphic). From then on you are identified with your Gravatar on any blog that you use that email address with.

In the WordPress Discussion Settings, you have a few options. Whether to show Avatars at all, the “rating” allowed to be shown, and what the default Avatar will be if a user does not have a Gravatar.

Managing Comment Spam with Akismet

Spam is common on WordPress blogs. Many users will prefer to turn off comments altogether (see “Enable and Disable Comments on Future Posts”), but if you want to use comments on your blog, you’ll want to activate the Akismet plug to manage spam.

To get started we need to activate a plugin. To do this, we’ll start at the Dashboard.

Navigate to Plugins > Installed Plugins.

At or near the top of the list of plugins that are automatically installed in a new WordPress installation, is Akismet. It is not activated, so part of the process of getting Akismet is Activating the plugin. Before you activate it, however, you need to get an API key. API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it’s a way for programs and services to “talk” to each other. The Akismet plugin requires you to get an Akismet API Key, which is simply a “code” that you supply when activating the plugin. The key is free if you use it on a personal WordPress installation, and it’s available on the Akismet website.

Once you arrive on the Akismet for WordPress site, click the Get an Akismet API key button.

If you have an account at you can sign in with that login and get your key. Otherwise, fill in an email address, a username, and a password to use for a new account. Click the Sign up button to proceed.

Type in the URL of the site you’ll use Akismet on and click on the Sign Up button under the Personal plan (that is if you want it to be the free version). When you get to the next page, the recommended contribution is $36. You can adjust the slider down to $0.

Also fill in your name and click Continue.

You’re finished with the sign up process for your key, and it will be displayed on the page for you (we’ve blurred ours out). Now follow the steps that they show you for using your new key. You will enter the key in either the Akismet area under Plugins or JetPack (if you have that installed).

Domain of One’s Own: Omeka

Omeka is an open-source web application that can be used to create and display online digital collections. Developed by programmers at George Mason University, Omeka was designed to be user-friendly, both during installation and during daily usage.

This guide will help you with:

Installing Omeka

Omeka is an open-source web application that can be used to create and display online digital collections. Developed by programmers at George Mason University, Omeka was designed to be user-friendly, both during installation and during daily usage. To install Omeka, use these simple steps:

To get started you’ll need to login to your control panel ( using your Bryn Mawr username and password.

Screenshot of Digital Bryn Mawr login page

Once logged in you’ll be at the homepage of your control panel. Navigate to the Applications section of the cPanel, and from there you’ll head over to the Application Browser tab. When you scroll down the applications listed, go to the Apps for Content Management section. From these, select Omeka.

This page gives you more information about the Omeka software. To begin the install click install this application in the upper-right hand corner.

Picture of the install this application button

On the next page, the installer will ask for some information about this install. The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where to install it. If you’d like to install Omeka on your main domain, you can leave the directory area empty. If you created a subdomain, you can select it from the drop-down menu. You also have the option of installing Omeka in a subfolder by typing in the folder name in the Directory field. Click here for more information about subdomains and subfolders.

By default the installer will automatically backup your website and update it anytime a new version comes out. While we recommend you keep these options, it is possible to only do minor updates, or turn them off completely.

In Settings, you’ll need to enter your name, email, and password. This is the username and password you’ll use to login to Omeka.

Screenshot of Settings for your website. You need to enter your email address, full name and administrator password

The installer will create a database for you automatically, but if you’ve already created one for this website you can choose “Let me manage the database settings” and enter the details.

Screenshot of Advanced Setting Management menu. It gives to options Automatically manage advanced settings for me and Let me manage these settings

Finally, click Install.

Picture of the Install Button

The installer will take just a few moments to install Omeka, and a progress bar will keep you updated. When it is complete you will see a link to your new Omeka site as well as a link to the backend administrative section for your Omeka site. Click the link that ends in “/admin” to log in to your Omeka site. Enter your username and password to login to the site.

Screenshot of login page of backend adminstrative section for your Omeka

Installing Omeka Plugins

There are a variety of plugins that enable additional functionality in Omeka. All the plugins available for Omeka and their descriptions can be found on this page.

To install an Omeka plugin you have downloaded as a zip file, open up your cPanel Dashboard and click on the File Manager. You can find the File Manager under ‘Files’ or by typing “File Manager” in the upper right search bar.

Screenshot of File manager under files

Go to the public_html > omeka > plugins folder by clicking on the folder icons in the file menu, or by typing “public_html/omeka/plugins” into the navigation bar at the top and clicking ‘Go’.

Next you will need to upload the plugin zip file into the plugins folder. Select the Upload option in the top menu to open up a new tab where you can upload the file. When the upload is complete, click the ‘Go back to home/yourdomain/public_html/omeka/plugins’ link at the bottom of the page to return to the File Manager. You will see that the zip file has appeared in the plugins folder.

Make sure the zip file is selected (it should be highlighted in blue), then click Extract from the menu at the top of the page. A small window will open up to confirm where the file will be extracted to. If you were in the plugins folder, it should say public_html/omeka/plugins, if not, type that into the box before you hit Extract File(s).

screenshot of extract button

Another window will open that outlines the contents of the file. Just hit the Close button and the installation will be complete.

 The plugin should now be available in the plugins tab in your Omeka.

screenshot plugins tab

To install the plugin on your Omeka site, select “Plugins” then the green “Install” button. You may be asked to configure additional settings for the plugin.

Screenshot of the Exhibit Builder plugin installation settings

Using Omeka

You can learn how to use this application in the official Omeka Support Documentation. This support guide will help you get started and begin creating your Omeka site.

Domain of One’s Own: MediaWiki

MediaWiki is an open-source publishing platform that can be used for creating a collaborative document repository. It’s the software that drives the Wikipedia website.

This guide will help you with:

Installing MediaWiki

Setting up a MediaWiki install on your own domain can be done by following these steps:

Screenshot of Digital Bryn Mawr login page


  • Once logged in you’ll be at the Dashboard, where all of your tools options are open and in front of you. Navigate to the left side of your dashboard and fine the Applications section of the cPanel. Click on the link. This will bring up a menu with various options. There you will click on the Applications Browser.

  • Then find and select MediaWiki. You will find it under “Apps for Community Building.”

Screenshot of apps for community building menu

  • The next page gives you more information about the MediaWiki software. To begin the install, click install this application in the upper right-hand corner.

Screenshot of Install this application button

  • On the next page the installer will ask for some information about this install. The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where to install the application. If you want to install MediaWiki on your main domain (the root), you can leave the directory area empty. If you created a subdomain, you can select it from the dropdown menu. You also have the option of installing MediaWiki in a subfolder by typing in the folder name in the Directory field.
  • Configure your backup options. By default the installer will automatically backup your MediaWiki website and update it anytime a new version comes out. While we recommend you keep this option, it is possible to only do minor updates, or turn them off completely. The installer will also create a database for you automatically, but if you’ve already created one for this website you can choose “Let me manage the database settings” and enter the details.
  • Finally, you’ll need to create an initial username and password for the MediaWiki install. A random username and password are generated for you, but we strongly encourage you to pick something you will remember and that is secure. Once you have entered this information, click Install.

screenshot of the Install button

  • The installer will take just a few moments to install MediaWiki, and a progress bar will keep you updated. When it is complete you will see a link to your new MediaWiki site as well as a link to the back end administrative section for your MediaWiki site.

Congratulations, you have now completed your installation of MediaWiki! You can now create collaborative documents on your own domain.

Using MediaWiki

Additional documentation about how to use this application can be found at the official MediaWiki Help Pages. Here you will find information pertaining to all aspects of your wiki, including customizing its appearance, editing content, and changing user settings.