Author: David

David's Posts

Houston, We Have a Narrative

I believe that I’ve fixed the problem with our course reserve links so you should be able to access the readings now. Let me know if you still have any trouble with them.

In class on 9/14 we’ll spend the bulk of our time thinking about this ABT structure that Olson proposes and how to implement it. I’ll bring a sample deductive essay to class and if there’s time we’ll workshop revisions to its structure to make it fit Olson’s inductive structure. If there’s not time, then we’ll do that on 9/21.

David's Posts

Welcome to ENGRD219 Gateway: Portfolio

I look forward to working with you this semester.

Your homework to complete before Thursday, January 20:

  • Read over this website very carefully as it constitutes the syllabus for this course. Note that the Syllabus page includes a number of subpages, covering such topics as: the materials you’ll need; attendance, participation, and other policies; and how you will be graded. There is also a calendar of readings and assignments; and posts describing the sketch assignments this semester.
  • Add this site to your bookmarks. Make certain that you can find your way back here, because you’ll be spending a lot of time visiting these pages over the course of this semester.
  • Join the class Slack Workspace. Slack is a collaboration and communication tool that our class uses to work together to share ideas, discuss readings, collaborate on projects, and engage with learning.
  • Register your domain and install WordPress. This post has more instructions on how to complete this step.
  • Leave a comment on this post. Put the URL for the WordPress site you created in the “website” line on the comment form. If you want to receive an email every time a new post goes up on this site, check the “Subscribe to site” box before you submit your comment. The first time you comment, it will not show up publicly until I’ve approved it.
David's Posts

Registering a Domain and Installing WordPress

If you don’t already have server space and a domain name for yourself, then go to Reclaim Hosting, select “sign up” on the front page, and then sign up for a personal account. You’ll need to provide a domain name that’s not already owned (it can be .com, .net, .org, or one of the other top-level domains available now) — see below for more on choosing a name. Once you’ve got a name, provide the necessary information and the coupon code (which I’m posting to Slack)

Naming your domain

Please do note that your domain name should not be tied to this particular class. (In other words, don’t register a name like “”) You are not purchasing a web site! You are registering a domain name and server space, upon which you can build many web sites, and host other sorts of applications or files if you’d like to do so.

You can choose a URL based on some version of your name if you’d like (i.e., or Using a version of your name has the advantage that you will be building a digital identity on the web based on your name, which can be really helpful. On the other hand, it also means that this site that you’re building will likely come up near the top of web searches for your name, so consider whether that is something you would like.

If you don’t want to publish your coursework on a site with a version of your name, you can also use some sort of pseudonym for your domain name.

It is also perfectly acceptable for your domain name to be a short word or phrase that is easy to remember and spell, and which speaks to some interest of yours or an aspect of your character (for example: my friend Audrey Watters, a noted educational technology scholar and researcher publishes a site called or one of my favorite art and design blogs is called If you’re going to choose a title or phrase as your domain name, make sure you think about it very carefully so you don’t show up on one of those lists of the most unfortunate domain names ever, like the design firm called Speed of Art that ended up with a domain name that sounds like it’s about flatulence in a swimsuit. Note that in the case of your site, you’ll be publishing a page that’s a subdomain of, so if Audrey Watters were in this class her site might be called

Installing WordPress

Once you’ve purchased your domain, you’ll be redirected either to the Client Area or to the cPanel (which is a shortened name for “control panel”). If you are at the Client Area, go to the cPanel.

The cPanel has all the various tools you can use to control your domain. For a start, you’ll install WordPress, which is a free, open-source software for building websites. Find the “Applications” section (which should be at the top of the page) and click on the WordPress icon to install the software.

The Installer page shows information about the WordPress software. Click on “Install this Application”:

The next page provides the opportunity to select a number of options for the installation. You can choose to change any of these if you want, but most of the you should leave at their default setting, except for the section labeled “Settings.” In that section, you need to create a username (I suggest something like your first initial and last name or your Emory NetID. The only thing you should definitely not use for this purpose is “admin.”) Provide a strong, unique password. And give your site a title and subtitle (these can be changed later but it helps to start with something here).

Then choose the “Install” button at the bottom of the page. It will take a few minutes for the software to fully install — you’ll be taken to a page where you will see a progress bar (it seems to always go from 0-99% in a second or two, but then take a minute to finish that last 1%). Once it’s installed, you’ll see a screenshot of the front page of your site along with 3 links: one to the public site itself, another to the dashboard where you’ll control your site, and a link to WordPress support pages.

If you click on the dashboard link from the cPanel here, you won’t need to enter your username and password (since you’ve already had to log into your cPanel to get here) but will take you straight to the WordPress dashboard. If you just type the address there into a browser tab (it’ll be “yourdomainname/wp-admin”) then you’ll need to enter your username and password to login.

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you’ve got server space and a domain and you’ve created a website at that address. Congratulations!

I’ll put instructions for configuring your new site in a separate post.




Sketch 1: Avatar

Due: 8/29

Tag: sk1


  • Very basic photo editing
  • Introduction to the concept of Creative Commons
  • Uploading and publishing to your new WordPress site
  • Visual images as representations of complex conceptual topics


Once you’ve created your web site, you need an image to represent yourself and/or your site for the class: an avatar. Your avatar can be whatever you want it be but try to create something that both reflects your personality and speaks to the topic for this class in some way.

Start by choosing one or more of your own photos as the basis of the avatar, drawing something yourself and scanning it, or finding one or more Creative Commons-licensed images on Flickr that you can modify. (Make certain to keep a note for yourself of the URL for the photos you use if they are not your own.)

CC-licensed images

Creative Commons licenses work with copyright law so that creators can share their work in a way that allows others to use it with attribution. The video on the left gives a good overview of the concept of Creative Commons licensing. The one on the right gives more explanation of how they work. They are short and worth watching.

You can find CC-licensed images by choosing licensed images on Flickr or with an advanced Google image search.

Edit Photo

Crop and otherwise edit the photo(s) in a photo editing application (like Photoshop or Pixlr). You can create a layered or collage effect, if you’d like. Add your name on your badge in such a way that it’s legible — it can be your full name, just your first name, or the nickname you want to be called this semester.

Your final badge should be square and at least 512 pixels wide and high. Please make certain your badge is square so that it will fit into the design on the student sites page.


When you’re done, you’ll need to put the image two places, with an optional third:


Load the badge into your Media Library and publish it to your site in a blog post. (If adding it as a feature image means that the entire square image won’t display, then also insert the image into the post itself.)

Include information and links in the post about the source(s) for images included in your badge.

Write a paragraph or two about why you chose those images, what aspects of yourself and your interests are represented in your badge, and/or what difficulties you faced in creating the badge.

Please tag your post with the tag “sk1,” plus any additional tags that you think are appropriate.


Go into your dashboard to Design > Customize > Site Identity. Load the image as your site icon (not as the logo).


If you do not already have a gravatar, create a gravatar account and load your avatar there. From then on, your avatar will show up as your picture when you leave comments here and on other students’ sites.


Sketch 2: What’s in your bag?

Due: 2/20

Tag: sk2

Find a relatively large empty space. Take your backpack, messenger bag, or whatever sort of bag you carry around with you regularly, empty all the contents out, and arrange them carefully so that they represent a visual snapshot of the stuff you tote around with you on a normal day. Then take a clear photo showing your bag and the stuff and upload it to your site.

Note that like the avatar or the literacy narrative, this too is a type of autobiographical composition. If you have something in your bag that is private, embarrassing, or for some other reason you don’t want it in the picture then make the editorial decision not to include it. Or vice versa: if you would like to assume a certain kind of persona then you might consider including items in your catalog that might be less than fully true.

Add some text to your post listing the items represented in your photo, preferably adding in a bit of explanatory and/or funny commentary along the way. This can be a paragraph of text or a list or whatever format seems most appropriate for you. When these sorts of posts are done by publications, like say The Verge or Timbuk2, they are often not so subtle efforts at product placement but for our purposes there is no reason for you to engage in such advertising games.

Along with the photo and your description of the items, include a paragraph reflecting on what it was like to craft a self-portrait through this photograph. How actually representative is this image of you as a person? What sorts of choices did you make in order to create the image? What was challenging about this assignment? Is representing yourself in a catalog of the stuff in your bag a type of writing? Why or why not?

David's Posts

Header Credits

Detail from “Think Twice” by explorenation # on Unsplash

Detail from “Black and White Abstract” by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash

Detail from “Together” by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Detail from “Multicolored abstract” by Robert Keane on Unsplash

Detail from “Multicolored graffiti” by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Colored pencils” by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash