Volume 02 | March 2019
Your March News & Updates
In the March issue of the Digital Presence and Public Scholarship Initiative newsletter, view our impressive featured faculty website, read our "Dear Joey" column to learn how to use plugins to customize and enhance your WordPress website, and learn more about a blogging website aiming to increase your digital presence.
Dear Joey
Dear Joey,

I’m fairly new to using WordPress. My website is set up, and I already have a few pages and posts. However, I’ve heard about “plugins”, which I’m not using. I’ve looked briefly at them from my WordPress screen, but there’s so many different ones. What can I use plugins for? And how can I choose the right ones?

Signed,
Plugin Peril at the Planetarium
Hi Plugin Peril,

Plugins are ways for you to customize and enhance your WordPress website. They can add elements to your website that can change how your website looks to visitors, and can also change how you edit your website. You can view your current plugins in the WordPress editing mode by selecting “Plugins” on the left-side menu, and then selecting "Installed Plugins". A few come automatically with your website!

When you start looking for more, you may be overwhelmed by the choices. Popular faculty plugins include Google Analytics, Smush (see our plugin spotlight!), and TablePress. You can also check out pages of Featured, Popular, and Recommended plugins by selecting the “Add New” option underneath "Installed Plugins".

Another easy way to find helpful plugins is by searching for them based off of your profession. Googling “WordPress Plugins for Teachers” or “WordPress Plugins for Portfolio Sites” can get your more specific and helpful results!

Installing plugins can vary depending on the specific plugin, but they all start the process the same way. Once you find a plugin you want to install, select the “Install” button, and then click the “Activate” button. Typically, after activating, the plugin will add another category on the left-side menu, either as its own category, or a sub-category of an existing category.

For further help on installing plugins, we have a few tipsheets showcasing what installations can look like:

Good luck,
Joey Dearing

To submit your own questions, ask Joey at dearing1@msu.edu
Featured Faculty Website
By David Howe
The site of the month is the digital home of Alexandra Hidalgo: filmmaker, researcher, activist, editor, WordPress adventurer. What we like: the confluence of the personal and professional, the compelling imagery, and the richness of information. View her entire site at http://alexandrahidalgo.com/

Dr. Hidalgo's reflections:
"I think of my professional website as a way to have all my scholarship, which is mostly digital and open access, available in one place. Over the years I have collaborated with Professional Writing and Experience Architecture undergraduate students in designing the website’s look and layout, which are always in some state of flux. Because I am a filmmaker and a video essayist, we make images the main focus of the website, using stills from my work to represent each piece.

We use WordPress for the website. Our next project is to code a WordPress template from scratch so we’re not limited by what templates allow and don’t allow. Since this will, no doubt, be a project that will take months, we’ll wait till next year to embark on it and suffer through this templates limitations a little longer. Collaborating with students on this and on the various websites for my films, publications, and the journals I edit, has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my academic career. I always learn from them and vice versa. There’s nothing like the happy creative high a team gets after making something wonderful together. I can’t wait to see what the new iteration of this website will entail."
Upcoming WordPress Opportunities
WordPress Onboarding Workshop
March 25th, 2:30pm – 3:30pm

WordPress Help Open Hours
March 13th, 20th, 27th, 2:30pm – 3:30pm

For more information and locations, please visit  our calendar .
Fellows Letter
David Howe
Here we are at Spring Break; four lively Digital Presence workshops behind us and four lie ahead. Quite an adventure we have had thus far. Our first week was rudely disrupted by an unwelcomed visitor who closed the University and taught us that blogging about the weather can go far beyond casual conversation. When at last we did meet, we took a bit of in inward look to see who we are in terms of the spaces we visit and the spaces where we reside in the digital realm. We gave some thought as to who we identify as our digital mentors. In the following week, we worked on mapping our sites and we started digging in to our Domain of One’s Own spaces with WordPress.
 
The third week was time to work together and to learn from welcomed visitors Jim Groom and Lauren Brunfield from Reclaim Hosting. Reclaim Hosting is the company who provides our Domain of One’s Own services. It was a chance to peer behind the curtains, so to speak. At our fourth meeting we turned more outward, talking about issues of audience, scholarly profiles, and tools that link the various parts of our digital presences together. Enjoy Spring Break, and use it wisely, and don’t forget to blog, Tweet, or otherwise share it.
Plugin Spotlight: Smush Image
Smush is a plugin that helps you save disc space by compressing your images. It might sound like it makes your images show up smaller, that's not the case - compressing images minimizes the byte size of a picture so it can be stored using less space, and doesn't noticeably damage the photo quality. If you're short on disc space, search for it in the WordPress Plugin page!
Online Presence and Public Scholarship Fellows Program - Blogging Workshop
Burt Bargerstock
As Internet applications have removed many of the barriers that had historically limited faculty and others from the means of publishing and broadcasting, new opportunities have been created for scholars to engage with colleagues, policy-makers, and the public at large. A spin-off of the successful Online Presence and Public Scholarship Fellows Program, the Blogging Workshop was developed to support that goal. 
 
The Workshop was developed by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (College of Arts and Letters) and Burt Bargerstock (University Outreach and Engagement) and is comprised of discussion sessions, talks with guest bloggers (from MSU and elsewhere), and hands-on “blogging cafés” in which participants work on aspects of their blogs within the community of the Workshop. The seven-week program focuses on helping participants develop or expand a blogging practice, explore ways that public writing can help further scholarly goals, and find workflows and practices for establishing a regular writing and publishing schedule. Piloted in fall semester, the Blogging Workshop was refined and expanded for this spring, based on participant input. Faculty, staff, and graduate students from across the University have participated in the program during its first year.