WordPress I Class: Students Tell Students What They Need to Know

Clark College’s class isn’t a typical class. It is a class that evolves each quarter with each collection of students. Students contribute tutorial articles to the student-managed and produced online magazine, ClarkWP,  used in the class notes for future student’s education. We call it legacy content.

Among the legacies left behind each quarter is a collection of tips from students completing the course to help new students learn from their mistakes and successes on how to get the most out of the I course at Clark College with Lorelle VanFossen.

Spring Quarter 2013-14

Here are the tips for future students taking the course from the Spring Quarter of 2013-14.

From Stephanie Billmyre:

Getting the opportunity to take a class like Lorelle’s WordPress (CTEC 160) is one you may not get twice, and the advantage should be seized to it’s full potential. Not only is the entire class environment absolutely amazing but, if you truly thrive for knowledge in WordPress writing, web development, css, html, social media, and marketing via the web and want to explore how to start AND MAINTAIN your very own site, then you will enjoy this class. My recommendations come from my own experiences are intended to ultimately encourage you to stick with the class until the very end!

Here is my advise:

  • Do not be shy in this class, it is a collaborative subject [MAKE A BUDDY]. If you do not work well in groups or on team projects then this class may not be for you.
  • Take only this class if your schedule will accommodate for it or take light alternatives to fill your schedule – there is a lot of work and you are expected to complete it.
  • Remember to keep an open mind and think outside of the box – ask for help.
  • Don’t blink; don’t miss ANY classes.

When you are done with class each day give your neighbor a high five; the entire group will need it after racing through the material and trying to capture the thousands of ideas coming your way as you explore all the wonderful opportunities of WordPress.

From Adam Duthie:

Coming in to this class I had no idea what I was in for. I honestly had not even heard of WordPress before that day.

What I was able to take from this class is that it is a collaborative work experience with real life tests. I think I really touched on it best when it came time to editing and accepting feedback, good and bad. With this class it is a good idea to come in open minded and be a sponge, soak all the knowledge that Lorelle and your peer students offer you. Learn how to take criticism with a grain of salt or you are in for a long bumpy road.

Stay on track, do not procrastinate with the assignments in this class or as you will see in day one of Lorelle’s lecture on WordPress, Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away and don’t blink!

I want to give every single person in the Spring 2014 term of WordPress a huge high five! I am honored and grateful to meet each and everyone of you.

Thank you, Auntie Lorelle, for your unique and inspiring personality.

From Jake Elliott:

Congratulations on making the decision to learn about one of the greatest content management systems on the planet! It will change your outlook on how you view the processing of information on the Internet forever.

WordPress will change the life of anyone in the web-design community and provide an incredible set of tools for anyone looking to start their own blog or start an online business. Ive always known that any course worth investing time and energy in is one that is not only useful, but is also taught and learned with the utmost enthusiasm.

Lorelle has an immense amount of knowledge, not just in WordPress, but in many other aspects as well. Use her brain to your advantage, and get learning! Ask questions if you don’t know the answer. The best part is, if she cant answer your questions, someone in the WordPress community can.

WordPress isn’t just a tool to create websites, it is an art form. It follows endless, intertwining, cognitive, and intuitive patterns to create a masterpiece, whether you are building a Plugin for added functionality, or writing content that will impact someones life.

It is a remarkably powerful tool in the hands of anyone with a passion.

From Chris Erbeck:

I had no idea what to expect. I was very green going into this class. Over the past few years I’ve rekindled an interest in writing and have tried to find related courses that I could use towards my Computer Support degree. To date, the bulk of my work has been music and technology reviews. I had limited exposure to any type of CMS, and had only heard of WordPress in passing.

Upon enrolling in this class I felt that given Lorelle VanFossen’s history with WordPress, I was lucky that a class being taught by such an expert was available to me here at Clark College. Lorelle is outspoken, witty, and very helpful. Very smart too. I had a lot of questions, I’ve not used HTML much and felt intimidated. I suppose that would be my first tip, don’t be scared. There is a lot to cover initially just to get the ball rolling. Take notes, read the notes and pay attention. There’s a lot to learn. Things are not as hard as they appear.

The first week or two, get familiar with your WordPress blog’s Administration Panels. Click here and there, see what things do, hover around, seek help. You won’t break anything. have fun with it. Figure out how to customize things, add images, change backgrounds.

I procrastinate, and it just makes things harder if you put off an assignment until the last day. If you’re writing for the Clark WP magazine, it takes awhile for the final draft to be published so get your articles in early. Don’t be offended if asked to edit something you’ve written.

As this class comes to an end, I can say that I have had fun and really learned a lot, I know we’ve only dug down into the basics of WordPress, it’s Themes and Plugins. I have a much better understanding now of this platform’s potential. There is so much one can do with just fundamental WordPress skills.

From Kylan Johnson:

I don’t know what I was expecting when I signed up for the class, but for some reason, I felt like it wasn’t was I was looking for. The class does a great job teaching you the basics of WordPress, and basic web construction practices, but the majority of the class is focused on writing articles. The workload is aggressive, and you will be expected to communicate and submit work across numerous different platforms…

Lorelle is very knowledgeable and has a lot of WordPress specific experience. She is fun in class and likes to poke fun at students (thick skin required).

Overall, if you know you want to add WordPress to your skill set, and you do not have any prior experience with the platform, this is the perfect class for you.

From Cheyenne Knox:

WordPress is an interesting site in it’s own ball field. I entered into this class thinking, why is this even a class needed for the programming degree…but I enjoyed the class way more than I would have thought.

You need to be ready for a huge amount of writing, as if this class was an English 101 class. The class covers writing about what you love, writing about the current internet news, writing about other peoples hobbies, and over all writing about WordPress in general…

This class isn’t just a WordPress class it is an internet connection class. You create a blog website that you are able to reach others through. Lorelle teaches you the proper etiquette of doing such and you feel like you aren’t just a programmer or a writer or a dancer you are now a blogger that can put out your own opinion on a site that is dedicated to that opinion or subject.

This is why I liked the class.

ClarkWP is student run, everything is written by people who took the class. That is awesome, and puts a lot of strain on you when you have such high standards. DO NOT OVER THINK WHAT YOU WRITE. You will never be as good as you think the other person was. You can only be as good as you can be, and that’s all Lorelle wants. Working with the ticket system was fun, you got to pick what you wanted and just go with it. It a simple way to see what needs fixing when you need to fix it and if you are finished. Keep up on checking that page out, and your email.

So, the way to handle this work load is to enjoy what you are doing. It took me awhile to figure out why I loved the class in the beginning, and that was because i loved the topic. Then I had to find a way to enjoy the other topics Lorelle asked us to write about, and that took me even longer. Feel Lorelle’s passion, it should help a lot. She has a ton of it.

Also, write on your student site often. It’s fun, I swear.

From Valeriya Kutsenko:

The WordPress class can be a great learning experience for all. I’d have to say that the most important thing is time management. After the first week you will get different kinds of small and big tasks that need to be completed in a timely manner. If you look ahead and work on the tasks ahead of time keeping up wont be a hard task. Also, the easiest way to maintain your blog is to chose a topic that you like or know enough about to this way you will want to work on it everyday even. Other than that this class will teach you a lot of different skills in WordPress and give you a good head start on your blogging journey.

From Lelane Murray:

Lorelle is a wonderful instructor, and a dear friend, having the chance to learn from her is an experience I feel everyone in web development should have. She knows her stuff when it comes to WordPress, Coding, Web Design, and Graphic Art (just to name a few areas of expertise). She is overflowing with knowledge so pick her brain, ask those questions you want to ask, and learn what you can.

In this class you will be doing a lot of article writing for the site you create, and the Clark College WordPress Magazine site. This is technical writing, getting a hang on it as soon as possible is important for success in this class.

WordPress is a fun class, and you learn how to build your own WordPress website. There are a few things I feel students need to know before taking this class.

  1. Miss as little classes as you can, each class lecture is IMPORTANT.
  2. Don’t fall behind, the class is very fast paced and falling behind creates unneeded stress.
  3. If you don’t understand the guidelines (after reading the grading rubric for the assignment), utilize the tutoring center they are there to help and can work wonders.
  4. Procrastination in this class is your worst enemy so avoid it.
  5. The class is tons of fun, and a different take on web development, so embrace it with open arms.
  6. Lorelle loves to be called Professor WordPress!!!! =)

From Chloe Rienecker:

When I signed up for the WordPress class at the beginning of this quarter, I was not expecting to have a class with such a time crunch. Take a single breath, slack off a single second, and you are going to find yourself far behind.

However, that does not mean you should not take the class. There is so much information that you can learn from being in this class, that it is well worth taking. Lorelle is a fabulous (and fun) teacher, who has found a way to teach you as much as you could possibly know not only about WordPress, but simply about the Internet. I learned things in this class that I have not learned in all the years I have used the Internet, such as information on Web Accessibility and how to work with HTML and Code!

This class should be a required course, no matter what major you are trying to receive. Because the information you will take out of this class, you will use for the rest of your life.

The other tip I would suggest is to look ahead. Most times there are assignments that require you to submit assignments to be looked over or edited before the final due date. These assignments are impossible to finish the day of because of this, so keep an eye out, and look over what work you have due the weekend before your next week of class so you can plan accordingly.

From Marcus Velez Jr:

Some advice I would suggest for future students taking this course are to come to this class ready to learn something new, to have fun, to read ahead on the course work in the module, do the work way early before the due date, take a bunch of notes, and listen to what Lorelle is talking about when it comes to WordPress.

I never heard of WordPress before taking this class and I never thought that this was something I would enjoy, but it was a really fun class and I had fun doing that course work because I learned some things about web design that I never would of thought about. HTML coding was one of my favorites to do growing up and I wanted to learn more about it. After this WordPress class, I’m going to use it to do more blogging and make a couple sites.

Good luck future students and I assure you, you will have fun in this class.

Winter Quarter 2013-14

Here are the tips for future students taking the course from the Winter Quarter of 2013-14.

From Karen Desemple:

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.” This is no different. Come to class and pay attention while you’re there! Seriously, miss a class or spend the class time not really paying attention because you “know all this already”, and you’re going to miss stuff. Lots of stuff.

Presentation of a WordPress business site during the WorPress Class.

Take your own notes! This means you have to be paying attention. Don’t rely on Lorelle’s notes to get you by. While they’re excellent and you’ll refer back to them regularly, YOU are the best judge of what you think you need to write down to remember. Help you help yourself. Take notes.

Be open to the process of working with other people.

Ask questions.

Be brave enough to spew out an answer even if you’re not sure if it’s right. Just be prepared to defend it, and, if it’s wrong, be open to learning why.

Help your neighbor if you can. The best way to reinforce what you know is to “teach” someone else. Plus, your neighbor will appreciate it.

Unless you’re supposed to be working on your computer during class, don’t. As the former teacher of a computer class, take it from me, it feels rather disrespectful. If you’re so smart that you don’t have to pay attention in class and would rather surf the net, then don’t come to class. You’re there for a reason. Respect Lorelle; respect the person that sits next to you. No one wants to listen to you type while she’s lecturing.

Treat what you’re doing like a real world simulation of working for/with a client. Don’t just phone it in for the grade. Do quality work; create something that you will be proud of.

From Veronica Roske:

My advice to future students at Clark College who take the course is that you can get through this class without HTML or other code classes. However, I would say that I wish I had the experience prior to taking this class. I feel I could have been more creative with designs.

I enjoyed the class and the instructor and plan to take WordPress II, however not before taking HTML, PHP, MySQL, CSS, and Java. This is a way for you to show your creativity and is a sure fire way to get familiar with blogs and what goes in to site design.

Have a great time, keep up with your assignments, and use your creativity.

The world's first full-credit college course dedicated solely to WordPress at Clark College, Winter Quarter 2012, led by Lorelle VanFossen.
The world’s first full-credit college course dedicated solely to WordPress at Clark College, Winter Quarter 2012, led by Lorelle VanFossen.

From David Lowry:

[The WordPress Class] takes a lot of passion and time. If you are getting into this class and have never taken any web development class then this could be a fun class, but if you love code and the different capabilities that come with it then you might fail at the most simple assignments in this class. Take the class with a grain of sand and if you aren’t feeling it then leave it before the end of the first week. If you do like everything about then more power to you and have fun with it.

Good luck future students.

Clark College WordPress Students Clark College WordPress Students  20130612_180842From Jolene Wright:

There is a lot to learn about during a short amount of time, my biggest advice is to be prepared to set a good chunk of time aside each week to do your reading and assignments. You will need it and you will get a lot more out of the class if you do this. Have fun and play around with what you are learning you will retain more that way.

From Lori Reed:

Dear future Clark WordPress student:

If I had one piece of advise to hand you it is this: approach this course with enthusiasm. If you are only taking this course because you ‘have to’, if all you do is the minimum needed to ‘get a grade’, then you are missing out on a wonderful experience.

Embrace. Take it into your heart, wrap your own creativity with its themes, make say what you want it to say, and you will find yourself enjoying this course instead of just ‘getting through it’.

Remember that first big box of crayons, or that first big bucket of Legos? Remember expressing your creativity and being happy in the work of creation? Let be your bucket of Legos or box of crayons. The course is nothing if you don’t put in part of yourself.

Use the whole box. Make yours.

Example of copyright notice on published post in WordPress.From Andrew Reyes:

For anyone coming into this class that has already taken a HTML class prior, I would advise them to brush up on their HTML basics. It will go a long way in helping your with your ability to customize your page. The visual editor it a wonderful, magical thing, but being able to use the text editor when appropriate is also a very valuable skill set to have.

For ClarkWP, stay on top of deadlines! Get your articles done early, and help keep the editors happy by not making them chase you down for last-minute articles.

For you student site, make sure you pick something you love to blog about. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to create content for my site if I had picked a topic that was only of mild interest to me.

And above all else, listen to Lorelle! She knows what she’s talking about! 🙂

From Amy Herrington:

When it comes to your student sites, choose a topic that you can expand upon. It’s possible to choose one that you think would work really well, but when it comes to doing the assignments, it may be difficult to write articles related to it. Make sure that it’s a topic that you love too!

ClarkWP really is an amazing thing. Before taking this class, I had never considered being a part of a multi-contributor blog, but the experience has made be reconsider that. It’s rewarding to be a part of something like this that is going to not only continue to grow, but be seen by people around the world. Take your work on this website seriously and put your best effort into it. When your editors leave feedback for you to change something, don’t take it personally. Accept it for what it is, just them trying to make your article the best that it can be.

If you need help, ask! And last but not least, have fun with this class!

Clark College WordPress Students 20130501_184538From Cassie Wangerin:

First and foremost, do not let yourself fall behind early!

While Lorelle is forgiving, falling behind early makes it harder for you to stay on top of other work and the farther your get into the quarter the more consistently you have work being due. While the class work in general is not overly complicated falling behind tends to make the work seem a lot harder.

If you need help be sure to ask for it! Both Lorelle and other students in the class can be amazing resources for help in completing assignments.

Other than that try to just have fun and enjoy the class!

From Larhea Phillips:

Prepare for a lot of information, I suggest taking notes in class because it will definitely help you when you are creating your final project. Not only are you learning how to use but you are also figuring out web standards to follow for creating a blog or website.

This class is a lot of work but just remember that every article and assignment you do is a learning experience. Lorelle challenges you to learn as much as you can in the time you have in her class, so pay attention and take the time to understand how and why you are doing these assignments!

From Stephen Miller:

I would like to say you should pray that you don’t get behind because this class is fast paced and you need to stay on top of it. I absolutely learned a lot of what can do, things I had no idea about before this class!

Clark College WordPress Students 2013-05-07 19.04.54From Rosemary Perkins:

I think is important is keeping your attitude right. As a degree requirement for a couple programs, this class is always going to have people who have zero interest in the subject. If you’re one of those people, keep yourself focused on discovering something useful to you and don’t let any negativity and/or apathy affect other people in the class. I’m more interested in coding, but I’ve learned things from this class that will be useful in the future.

Make sure that your student site is something you’re interested in and knowledgeable about, but also make sure it is something that the average person would be able to contribute to without extensive research. Even if it’s something obscure, make sure there is some aspect of it that your poor guest author can likely talk about.

Communicate, especially for your final project.

Finally, don’t over think things. A lot of this course, while still requiring effort, is a lot simpler than you might think at first.

From Larry Hikalea:

Future students, my best tips for your success would include:

  • Listen carefully as there is a lot of information coming at you and it can be easy to get behind if you don’t follow along.
  • Be curious. You can do a ton of stuff and exploring is a good thing.
  • Ask questions. Lorelle is a Goddess and will be able to set you in the right direction toward enlightenment.

Good luck!

Clark College WordPress students 2013-04-18 18.53.56From Richard Kille:

Pay close attention to every detail. Read all the given information. Be nice to your classmates, if they aren’t picking it up as fast as you because they are still learning this as well. And most importantly, show up for every class!

From Richard Lough:

Attention new WordPress students: To be brief there are a lot of comments above that offer tips to you for success in the WordPress class. I want to just highlight very quickly in five easy tips how to succeed in this class:

  1. Show up to class!!! I missed a few classes and got behind,
  2. Be attentive and take notes, and don’t be afraid to ask for
    clarification. Only stupid people don’t ask stupid questions
  3. Do not take things to seriously, have fun and expand your bubble.
  4. Make sure to have your SVN and Canvas checked daily to stay up to date
    on assignments
  5. Brag, Bribe, and Extort your teacher if necessary (Just kidding of course)
    but participate and have a voice

When I started this class I was uptight and didn’t think it would apply to me. I knew HTML and didn’t want to learn to blog, why should I was my attitude. In all reality whether I needed it or not I learned a lot, if nothing else i learned I did not know as much as I thought i did.

WordPress is not the enemy and by the end of the class I have enjoyed it and actually started teaching my not so savvy family how to publish their own stuff. All I can say to you WordPress perspectives is your in good hands let them mold you and you will succeed.

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