Class Logistics and Tools

This is the post for the August 27, 2014 class meeting.

Today we’ll focus on getting familiar with the different online tools that we will all use for the course. Go ahead and login on a computer so that you can follow along on your screen if you’d like.

Contacting Me When Something Goes Wrong

Eventually, something is bound to go wrong, so I want to take a moment to outline what to do when it happens. Whether it is something wrong with one of the tools we are using or something that has gone wrong for you personally, my advice is to keep calm. Consult the FAQ on what to do when something goes wrong for more specific advice.

Tools We’ll Use

Scholar: Our Scholar URL is is a tutorial site that is free to all VT students, faculty, and staff.

Forums: Our online discussion forum is If you need help figuring out how the forum site works, use the Forum FAQ. You will create your web portal for the course and post blog updates on a WordPress site. You can use a blog (recommended), a self-hosted blog, or a Blogs@VT site. If you want to begin learning how works, you can begin exploring the videos for Essential Training with Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

Registering and Posting on the Forums

Complete the following in the Forums:

  1. Register on the forums.
  2. Please choose a professional, classroom-appropriate username. This is a public site, so realize that the name you choose will be publicly available. If you need to protect your privacy (say you are in the witness protection program), feel free to use a pseudonym, but please email me to tell me that pseudonym and your real name.
  3. Be sure to choose the discussion area for Writing and Digital Media when you post and read (and not the other course I am teaching).
  4. If you have any questions about the syllabus, course policies, or anything related to the class now (or ever), add a reply and ask your question on the Syllabus board.
  5. Also in the Syllabus board go to the “Class Introductions” and add a reply, following the instructions on the forum.
  6. After you post your intro, read through the other posts to begin getting to know your classmates.


Go to one of the tutorials linked above and watch a minimum of three videos of your choice (not all three courses). Look for general advice on what makes a webpage work, and be ready to discuss what you found in class on Friday. Focus on general principles rather than any specific details on how to code something.


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