Tag Archives: WordPress

Tools and services used for the WordPress for Noobs online course

WordPress for Noobs - forum

I launched my WordPress for Noobs online course this week.  Over 30 participants have registered and paid thus far, with a few more expected by week’s end.

All’s working well with the integration of two big WordPress plugins to make the course happen:

  • Wishlist Member which handles the registration, integration with PayPal, and membership management
  • Simple:Press which provides the discussion forum for the course (screenshot on the right)

I’m using GoToWebinar to host a live Q&A webinar for the class each week, and Camtasia Studio to produce two screencasts (how-to videos) each week, hosted at Screencast.com.

All of this is a result of my taking the Teaching Sells course a year ago, with ongoing support from Third Tribe Marketing.

I’ve got more online courses (AKA Integrated Learning Environments) in the works. Next up: Blogging for Leaders.

WordPress for Noobs begins January 10. Get it through Your Thick Skull

In late October, I hosted (with a little help from my friends, Tracy Davis and Sean Hayford O’Leary,) two WordPress Q&A webinars for Northfield area WordPress users. A few days later, I attended my first Minneapolis-St. Paul WordPress User Group meeting. And two weekends ago, I presented two sessions at WordCamp MSP in Richfield.

All of which served to convince me that A) the popularity of WordPress continues to grow; and B) the demand for help in using it continues to grow.

So I decided to create an online course called WordPress for Noobs, and have it be the first course delivered by my new interactive learning platform:

Your Thick Skull

Your Thick Skull; Griff Wigley, instructor

I’ve been coaching adults on the use of internet-related technology tools and services since 2002. Many adults feel intimidated by these technologies at times, and it bugs them when instructors talk over their heads. But just as often, it bugs them when instructors talk down to them, as if they’re little children.

Over time, I’ve learned that an approach which combines plain English with a little irreverent humor works well when teaching adults. Looking a frustrated adult in the eye and saying with faux exasperation, “Come on, get it through your thick skull!” invariably brings a smile and a sigh of relief. (For those who might not be familiar with the English language, to ‘get something through someone’s thick skull’ is an idiom which means ‘to manage to get someone, including oneself, to understand something.’)

The name Your Thick Skull is similar to the Complete Idiot’s and For Dummies reference guides in that it is not meant to be insulting and the instruction is designed to be non-intimidating.

Unlike those reference guides, however, Your Thick Skull will not offer books. Rather, I’ll use it to offer online courses that are best described as interactive learning environments or communities of learning. Big diff!

My initial online courses will be technology-related (WordPress for Noobs starting January 10; Blogging for Leaders in early 2011). In the near future, I’ll be branching out to offer a wide variety of online courses, partnering with others who have an expertise (teachers, authors, consultants, coaches, etc.) but who need help in sharing that expertise in an interactive learning environment. (Contact me if you’re interested in exploring that type of partnership.)

‘Nuff said for now.  I’m pleased to announce:

WordPress for Noobs

begins January 10.  Get it through Your Thick Skull.

WordPress for Noobs - screenshot

WordCamp MSP 2010: a home run

I left Northfield at 7:30 am yesterday as the snow storm was just cranking up, thinking that an extra hour would be sufficient for 35 mile trip to Best Buy HQ in Richfield for the 2010 WordCamp MSP. I was scheduled to present during the first round of sessions at 9:30. At about 8:30, I tweeted: "Traffic on I35 one mile south of Lakeville is at dead stop. #wordcampmsp hosed"

After sitting there for 20 minutes, I began preparing to send out another tweet to tell the WordCamp organizers that I wasn’t going to make it in time. But suddenly, traffic began to move so I held off and arrived at 9:15. When I found chief WordCamp organizer Lauren Freeland, she told me that they’d seen my tweet and bumped my session up to 10:30. I thought, "Jeesh, these people have their shit together."

Lauren Freeland and Toby Cryn on stage at WordCamp 2010 Lauren Freeland and Toby Cryn on stage at WordCamp 2010 Steve Borsch at WordCamp MSP
Left and center photos: On stage at Best Buy HQ: Lauren Freeland, WordCamp conference organizer; Toby Cryns, co-founder of the MSP WordPress User Group; Right photo: Steve Borsch, capturing some video of the scene.

As it turned out, I was able to do my WordPress Basics for Noobs session at 9:30; I also did a session at the end of the day: Blog-Based Conversations: Tools and strategies for managing comments and the people who make them. Both were well-attended, I got lots of great questions, and was pleased with the informal feedback I got from people afterwards.

WordCamp MSP was a well-run conference, starting with the venue, the food, and the range of sessions offered.  As a speaker, I was impressed with the whole process, including their terrific blog site and all the helpful email communications with Lauren Freeland and Brian Goeppner leading up to the event. A special tip-of-the-blogger hat goes out to the tech support volunteers who rescued me at my first session when hook-up to the screen projector failed.  Twice I overheard people talking about how helpful the WordPress troubleshooters were at The Tech Shop onsite. What a great idea that was.

WordCamp MSP 2011?  I hope so. In the meantime, I’ll be a regular at the MSP WordPress User Group.

2:30 PM Update:  A WordCamp album of 43 photos by Lauren Melcher posted to the TECHDotMN’s Flickr account, including one of me not paying attention.

WordCamp photo album

Hey WordPress fans: WordCamp comes to Minnesota next week

WordCamp MSP
WordCamp Minneapolis-St. Paul
is next Saturday, Nov. 13.

WordCamp is finally coming to Minnesota and will be hosted in the Twin Cities, Fall 2010! This interactive conference is your opportunity to share ideas and learn from the Pro’s. At WordCamp MSP, there is literally something for everyone: from first time bloggers to web developers, spend a few hours connecting with people who share your passion.

I signed up as an attendee ($30 for all day, including lunch). But since it’s an Unconference, I volunteered to be a WordCamp MSP speaker. I’m now presenting early in the morning and late in the day on:

Minneapolis-St. Paul WordPress User Group meeting

Lauren Freeland Josh Leuze Toby Cryns Mitchell Hislop

I attended a Minneapolis-St. Paul WordPress User Group meeting this week (their 9th meeting) and came away impressed.  Co-founder Toby Cryns (@mightymo) greeted me warmly,  the food (pizza, fruit, beverages) was ample, the facilities (offices of The Nerdery / Sierra Bravo) were perfect for instruction, and the teaching sessions I attended were well done. 

A new blogsite for First Congregational Church of Cannon Falls

first cccf sshot I’ve been working with First Congregational Church of Cannon Falls Pastor Barbara Martin and her technology team to convert their web site to a blog site.

The site is build on WordPress using the Atahualpa Theme by BytesForAll.

We created three custom banners from parishioner photos. The banners randomly display as one clicks on different pages of the site.

 Alternate banner: First Congregational Church of Cannon Falls  Alternate banner: First Congregational Church of Cannon Falls

Rev. Martin began blogging on March 15.

Optimizing WordPress for mobile devices

T-Mobile G1 (Google Android phone) displaying www.locallygrownnorthfield.org I’ve been installing the WordPress plugin WPTouch on all my blogs and many client blogs lately. It “deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to your iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini mobile, Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm visitors without modifying a single bit of code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.”

The photo on the right shows my T-Mobile G1 (Google Android phone) displaying the home page of my community blog, Locally Grown.

Comments are visible after clicking on any post. You can add a comment as well. The best way to keep track of comments, however, is to use an RSS reader app on your mobile device and subscribe to the blog’s comments RSS feed. Then if you see a comment that you’d like to comment on, click the link to the comment. It will activate the mobile-optimized view of the web page and position you for typing in your comment.

WordPress under attack; sites hosted by Tiger Technologies have been protected for 3 weeks

wordpress.org logoMost of the blog sites I’ve set up for my clients run on WordPress. Late last night, I spent a couple of hours checking and upgrading sites to Version 2.8.4 ASAP because there’s a nasty worm making the rounds this weekend:

I wrote to my favorite web host, Tiger Technologies in California, asking them if they knew about it the worm and whether they could tell if any sites had been compromised. The owner, Robert Mathews, wrote me back within a few minutes:

Continue reading WordPress under attack; sites hosted by Tiger Technologies have been protected for 3 weeks