Instructions for Using 280 Blog

How to join the blog.
1. You will receive an email, sent to your AU email account, inviting you to join the course blog. You will be invited to join as an author. If you already have a WordPress account that you have used for academic purposes, you can use your existing account, but be sure to change your display name to your full name (see directions below). If you have a WordPress account that you’ve used for personal purposes, use your best judgment on whether or not you want your personal life connected to your academic life.
2. When you receive the email please click “Accept Invitation” (For those with existing WordPress accounts: If you are already logged into WordPress when you receive the email, you will be added to the blog through that account once you accept the invitation. If you want to create a new account specifically for the blog, be sure to log out of your existing account before accepting the invitation). To create a new account, click “Register” at the bottom of the page after you’ve accepted the invitation.
3. When you reach the landing page, scroll to the far right side. Five paragraphs down (next to the large blue button that says “.wordpress.com $0”) you will see an option to “signup for just a username.” Click that link.
4. Follow the directions on the screen. When creating your username use your AU email address (WordPress will probably suggest your AU email as a username). Once you’ve created your username and password, click “Sign up” and follow the ensuing instructions to activate your account.
5. Once your account has been activated, return to the original email invitation and click “Accept” again. You will be redirected to the blog’s “Dashboard” and your registration is complete.

Create a Display Name.
On the blog, your display name, not username, will appear. All students must create a display name in addition to a username, otherwise we won’t be able to tell who is who. Even those of you with common names will be able to use your full name as your display name.

1. Log on to the blog. Go to the main blog page.
2. In the top-right corner of the blog. Your username is displayed, click on it.
3. You will be taken to your account page. Under “Settings” on the right side, click on public profile.
4. Three rows down you will see a box for “Public Display Name”. Enter your first and last name.
5. Click Save Changes.

WordPress Logistics

Signing into WordPress
Sign into wordpress.com. Click on “My Blogs” at the top of the page. Click “U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Latin America” and you will be taken to the blog. In the black menu bar at the top of the page you will see the name of the blog. Hover over it with your cursor and a drop down menu will appear. Click “Dashboard.”

How to Create Post
Once you are on the blog dashboard, click “Posts” on the left sidebar. Click on the “Add New” button at the top of the page.
Title and Author
Enter the title of your blog post at the top of the page. To make it easier to identify authors of individual blog posts, you must add your name at the end of each blog post title. Since this is a shared blog with many authors, we all want to know who wrote the blog post. Put your name at the title, for example: “Ukraine Crisis Highlights Crisis of Liberal International Order”
Writing your 400-600 words
You can write your blog post in the text box or copy and paste from a word processor.

Hyperlinking
In the blogosphere, hyperlinking is equivalent to citing sources in an academic paper. Whenever you borrow ideas from another author, include statistics, or reference an event, you need to hyperlink to the original source (for those who don’t know, hyperlinks allow users to embed a website in a word or phrase so that readers can easily access the site). Instead, you can try to find a pdf version of the article online (through Google or Google Scholar). If you can’t find a pdf version and you’re using direct quotes, put the title and the author in parentheses (If it’s not vital to include a citation, you can leave it off. I am mostly concerned with your writing and analysis). If you’re using a book as a source, you can hyperlink back to the Google books or Amazon page for that book. Be sure to always check if your hyperlinks work!
You will be hyperlinking a lot as you blog. If you need practice, please check out these tutorials:
How to hyperlink in Microsoft Word (start at 1:15): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNHGWQ6_Uoc
How to hyperlink in WordPress: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRdIC3O0tZg
Showing only the first paragraph of your blog post on the front page of blog
Once you’ve finished writing or pasting your post, you need to add a break in the post to ensure that only the first paragraph of your post will show up on the main page of the blog. To do so, place your cursor at the end of the first paragraph. To the left of the spell check icon, you will see an icon that has two bars with a dashed line in the middle, click on it. A dashed line with a “more” icon should appear after your first paragraph. Once your post is published, only the first paragraph will be visible on the main page with a link to continue reading the rest of the post. Use the “more” button, not the “pages” button.

Categorizing & Tagging

Once you are finished with the text of the blog post, you need to categorize and tag your post. Under the format section on the right side, you will see a set of categories listed. Check off the box that corresponds to the topic(s) you are blogging about.
Under the category section, you will see a tag section. Enter the appropriate tags in the text box and separate each with a comma. Appropriates tags include the country or countries you refer to in your post, a specific leader, a policy, or a historical event. Use your best judgment when tagging.
Publishing

Once you’ve finished writing and tagging the blog post, you can preview, publish, or save it as a draft. Most often you will publish the post. If you wish to save as a draft, make sure to remember to publish the post after you revise it. If you wish to publish, make sure that next to the calendar icon under “Status” and “Visibility” it says “Publish Immediately” and then hit the blue publish button. You will then be taken to the blog to see your published post. A help screen may appear on the left-hand side. You can ignore it and close it out.
Review and Edit

Check your post for formatting errors and typos. If you find any errors, there is an edit button at the end of the post (this only appears on posts that you have authored). Once you’ve checked it over, you’re finished.

Format

Be sure that you are posting in the standard format. Before you publish a blog post, check the “Format” box on the right side of the screen to ensure that “standard” is selected. Standard should be the default setting, so unless you change it, you shouldn’t have a problem.

How to leave a comment
Below each post there is a “leave a comment” button. Click on the button and begin typing your response or copy and paste it from your computer. Click “Post.” Unfortunately, you cannot create hyperlinks in comments. If you think you need to include a link, you can include the web address in parentheses.

Please remember that while it is fine to present a countering viewpoint or disagree with your classmates and bloggers, discussion should always remain respectful and should be based on substantive material and facts rather than just your personal opinion. You are encouraged to keep a running dialogue with your classmates who are posting on the same subject. You are not blogging in a vacuum, so please be sure to engage one another.

Revising Posts
You can revise or edit your posts at any point throughout the semester until the portfolio is due. You can revise your posts on the blog, or you can revise them in the Word document that you will submit to Professor Schroeder (the latter option may be ideal if you plan on making significant to revisions to your post after someone has commented on it, but it’s entirely up to you).

Final Portfolio
You are responsible for keeping track of each blog post or comment that you post throughout the semester in a separate Word document so that this document may be submitted electronically as a portfolio. Your final blog portfolio must include a compilation of all of your blog posts, and for each post a link to the page on which it was posted and the date published.

Your final blog portfolio is due December 1 by 10:00am. Email it to Professor Schroeder at schroede@american.edu as a Word attachment. The subject line must read Blog Portfolio and your name. Please put your name on the first page of your portfolio. You do not need a cover page. Please make sure all of your hyperlinks are working before you submit your portfolio.

Suggested format:
1. The title, date published, and link to the blog post are at the top of each entry — in bold so it’s easy to identify. The class topic should also be noted.
2. It is single spaced.
3. Your name is at the top of the first page and there is no cover page.
4. The posts are listed chronologically.
5. Comments are noted as comments to a specific blog post that is named (title and author) and the link to that post is provided.

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