Setting Up Shop

Due Sunday, September 4nd

Once you have logged in to you Word Press site, and changed your password, your job is to become comfortable navigating Word Press by working on configuring and personalizing your blog.

When you log in you will have access to your WP dashboard. In the top navigation bar you can click on “My Blog” to go to your site and view the changes you make.

Here is what we would like you to do:

  • Change the title and tagline (subtitle): Go to Settings > General. Add your own title and tagline. Think about what you are doing or consult the Century America blogs for examples. Remember, you can change the title or tagline later;
  • Add a page or pages: On the dashboard go to Pages > Add New. Pages are one way to organize information on a blog. Create and compose a brief biographical statement (100 words) on an “About” page. Add an image of yourself, if available, by clicking the media icon. We will also use the bio and the image on the main course page as well. Remember, you can add additional pages or change the title of the page or pages later;
  • Add a couple of links to your blog: Go to links > add new. Add the COPLAC site: Add our Course Site. And consider adding additional links as the course unfolds;
  • Add a Widget: Go to Appearance > Widgets. Add “Recent Posts” and save the addition. The widgets you add will appear in the sidebar of the “Twenty Sixteen” theme. Recent Posts will in effect create a table of contents for readers of your blog. Note well the need to create brief and descriptive titles for your blog posts.

The following steps are optional

  • Go to appearance > customize and add a header image
  • Consider changing the WP Theme: This is optional. But some of you may want to play around with the visual elements and content configuration on your blog. Go to appearance > themes. While there is no need to change your blog theme from the default “Twenty-Sixteen” some of you may want to modify sidebars, where you can add or subtract “widgets” such as “recent posts” or “text” or “categories”). Add background image, if you would like; create a static front page, such as a description or a welcome note; or add a search or tag cloud “widget” to your sidebar.

The more you become comfortable navigating WP at the outset of the course the better off you will be as we use more advanced features of Word Press on your project sites.

In addition, we encourage you browse the Word Press Tutorials. The sixth page of the WP tutorial is about making posts. It will likely be the most useful to you at the beginning of this course. If you would like to add images to your site or to your post, read on to learn how simple this is. The eleventh tutorial, titled “Insider Tips,” is helpful as well. The “kitchen sink” icon in the post/page editor, to take one example, reveals formatting options, enabling you to create headings and indent text, or to use the “paste from word” button that will carry over formatting from a word document.

And don’t worry. If this is all new, as the course gets going, we will talk about the difference between pages (as opposed to posts) and widgets (such as a tag cloud or a list of links that you can use to customize your page and make it easier for a reader to navigate). We will tinker and try and try again as we play with the powerful digital tools. You will come away with a working knowledge of a widely-used and powerful digital platform that will be useful in your college coursework and in your life beyond school.

We will spend some time during our first class meetings responding to any questions, troubleshooting, finding solutions. We will also, of course, be offering support and tutorials on more advanced WP features and the use of WP plugins as the course develops.

For now, the goal is to have fun. Learn by doing what you need to get done.

Blogs and Blogging

As you set up your own Word Press shop we would like you to have a look at one earlier instance of a comparable digital project: Century America. This project site provides a link to the Century America course site where you will find student blogs.

A few selected student blogs from the Century America site offer examples of blogs that have been customized by the user:

Musings on Ink and Type
Heart of the Blue Ridge

While you are browsing these sites, you  might want to read a few of the blog posts by the students. Think about the voice of these reflections on intellectual work, the rhetorical challenge of writing engaging and professional prose–and remember here that your writing will be syndicated on our primary NAPLA course blog. Consider the post “Creating Meaning in a Sea of Information” by a student at UNC-Asheville in Western North Carolina in her sophomore-junior-ish year, Ashley McGhee, or a post by Britta, in Morris, Minnesota, “Weather Setbacks and Research Advances” and “Research Musings and Updates.” Note well that in the second two examples the author has created categories and tags to organize the posts on the blog. (Britta has also included an awesome tag cloud widget at the bottom that helps to organize the content on the blog.) We will talk more about the advantages of using these WP features when posting on your blog.

If you would like to look ahead, take a glimpse at the awesome Century America Student Project Sites

University of Maine Farmington
New College of Florida
Midwestern State University

Why a Blog? E-mail, web pages, wikis, blogs, Facebook, social networks, twitter—much of the writing we now do takes place in a digital format. And while all of us are still working out the conceptual implications of these new technologies, the advent of digital writing has created pedagogical opportunities to think about (and with) the digital tools that we use to represent and understand ourselves, and the world.

Blogging offers significant opportunities for student writers:

  • Designing and managing a blog offers experience using one of the digital technologies used by readers and writers. Digital writing requires all of the knowledge and skill writers use in other formats in addition to the new ways digital writing blends modes of representation (visual and verbal) and creates opportunities for fresh conceptual and material connections;
  • A blog allows teachers to shift the motivation for writing from the assignment to the writer. In fact we might argue that one of the obstacles to becoming a more effective writer in school is the writing assignment itself: for more often than not, writing assignments motivate writing for a purpose other than one’s own. Your blog posts will therefore be more focused on questions and problems and less on assignments, on thoughtful (and creative) exploration of ideas as opposed to more mechanistic forms of response to proscribed questions, pre-assigned topics, or readings
  • The relatively short form of the blog entry encourages concise and purposive writing. Managing to say exactly what you need to say in fewer words will challenge you as a writer
  • The likelihood that the blog will actually be read will help you become more rhetorically aware—of the conceptual, linguistic, social, emotional and ethical concerns a writer must address to be effective with any audience
  • Writing in a digital format (a web log, or blog) enacts (and represents) the complex process of thinking and writing that takes place in a college-level course; and we will use your writing experiences, and the archive of writing that we create, to reflect on your learning process, and the role of writing in that process


UNC Asheville’s development as a liberal arts institution

In 1927, the University of North Carolina at Asheville established its roots as Buncombe County Junior College, with a total of 86 students in attendance. In 1929, the Great Depression forced the necessity of tuition to be charged; produce and other goods were accepted from the students to pay the cost. In the same year, the nearby College of the City of Asheville was closing. The two schools were consolidated to create Biltmore Junior College.

1936 brought another change of name to Asheville-Biltmore College. This same year, control was transferred to the Asheville City Schools. With the desire to have its “own” campus, the college relocated to the former County Home for Children – presently site of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church on Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville.

From 1949 to 1961, Asheville-Biltmore College was located in the Overlook Castle, also known as Seely’s Castle after its original owner, philanthropist Fred Loring Seely. After it outgrew the castle, Asheville-Biltmore College then moved to the current campus in north Asheville. It became a state-supported college in 1963, followed by the presentation of its first bachelor’s degrees in 1966. The following years the school saw the construction of its first residence halls in 1967, followed by more academic buildings.

The college would finally change to its current name, the University of North Carolina at Asheville, in 1969 when it officially became a part of the University of North Carolina System. At this time, the only other two campuses in the system were Chapel Hill and Wilmington. This same year, William Highsmith, who would go on to write a comprehensive history of the college in his 1991 book The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years, became chancellor. In 1975, Zageir Hall, a social sciences academic building, was completed and named after local  businessman and a longtime supporter of the university Colman Zageir (1894-1975).

UNC Asheville’s current mission statement prioritizes creating an inclusive and diverse community through a liberal arts education. The development of the school overtime, including its movement toward more pertinent locations and involvement in liberal arts, such as joining the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges in 2009.

UNC Asheville has always remained a small school. It reached its 1,000 student enrollment mark in 1970, with its current enrollment at 3,891 in 2016. In the university’s current mission statement, it is stated that, “At UNC Asheville, we respond to the conditions and concerns of the contemporary world both as individuals and as a university.” Maintaining a consistently small population on campus helps one on one interactivity between students and their professors, further aiding focus on studying liberal arts on an individual level.




“Fact Book.” Institutional Research, Effectiveness & Planning. The University of North Carolina at Asheville, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.


Highsmith, William Edward. The University of North Carolina at Asheville: The First Sixty Years. Asheville, NC: U of North Carolina at Asheville, 1991. Print.
“Timeline.” About. University of North Carolina at Asheville, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.

In Search of Prestige: the Geneseo Story


SUNY Geneseo was founded in a time of crisis. The formerly reputable “Geneseo Academy,” also known as the “Temple Hill Academy”—a high school specializing in the training of teachers—was failing due to its “strict denominational control and the narrow religious sectarianism of the period” (Mau 2). In 1866, the year of Geneseo’s inception, the village of Geneseo was “recovering from two disastrous fires that wiped out over 250 feet” of Main Street, and taxpayers faced the burden of constructing a twelve-mile water line from Conesus lake in an attempt to prevent similar fires (Bright 2). If these setbacks were not problematic enough, the Town of Geneseo owed a 40,000 dollar debt for a “foolish expenditure” on the construction of two iron bridges crossing the Genesee River (Bright 3). And the aftermath of the Civil War loomed over the nation. Nevertheless, advocates for the creation of a “normal school” (aka, a teacher’s college) in Geneseo took the risk, and procured 45,000 dollars for the construction of a normal school—only to have the state legislature fail “to approve the school, giving authorization, instead, to the village of Brockport.” Only after the Wadsworth family pledged 10,000 dollars to the founding of the school, did the state legislature approve of the “Geneseo Normal and Training School” (Bright 3, 4).

The Geneseo Normal and Training School opened in 1871, with a mission to “furnish competent teachers for the public schools of the state” (Mau 6). In an attempt to reassert the prestige of Geneseo education formerly garnered by the Geneseo Academy, the new normal school assessed applicants based on age, the “[possession] of good health,” moral character, and aptitude in topics such as “reading, spelling, geography, and arithmetic (Mau 6). The Geneseo Normal and Training School at first consisted of one building, “Old Main,” which principal William Milne lamented could hold no more than 120 students. When William Milne’s brother, John, took over as principal, he oversaw the creation of four new buildings: a gymnasium, library, science hall, and swimming pool jold-main(Mau 6, Bright 6). During this time, the college offered three courses of study: “the two year Elementary English Course, the three year Advanced English Course, and the four year Classical Course.” In addition, students enrolled at the college had to take ”29 semester hours of methodology and 20 of observation and practice teaching” (Mau 8). Notably, from the opening of the school in 1871, the institution reimbursed students for travel expenses accompanying their attendance at Geneseo; however, this practice ended in 1889 due to an increase in enrollment that made the practice financially impractical.

In 1905, The Geneseo Normal and Training School metamorphosed significantly; not least of these changes were the welcoming of Principal James Sturges, and the institution’s new identity: the Geneseo Normal School. This branch of Geneseo’s evolution reflected a new educational aesthetic that focused on a “growing professional consciousness, a concern for promoting upward mobility among normal school students, [and] the growth and influence of the social sciences, particularly educational psychology” (Bright 7). Accordingly, the new Geneseo Normal School saw curricular changes and new tracks of study: the Professional, or Normal, in 1905, Kindergarten in 1906, Primary-Kindergarten in 1908, Teacher-Librarian in 1910, and the “Special Class” in 1921; the special class trained for the education of “mentally handicapped children” (Mau 12-13). Notably, during this time, Geneseo increased the rigor of admissions by requiring students to have a four-year high school degree or an “equivalent approved by the Commissioner of Education” (Mau 12).

The institution received yet another name in 1921: the “State Normal School, Geneseo, New York.” Between 1921 and 1941, enrollment at the school doubled—only to lose almost all men at the start of the war— and three-year programs became the popular mode of earning a diploma (Bright 9). Additionally, this period saw the beginning of the standardized student-teaching program and the department of special education.
Apparently unhappy with their nomenclature work in the 20’s, the New York State Legislature renamed the college “Geneseo State Teacher’s College” in 1942 (Mahood 104). Immediately, administrators at the college became concerned with how they would accommodate the influx of students returning from the war—especially now that the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 guaranteed that fifteen and a half million veterans could now receive up to “four years’ tuition, fees, books, and living expenses (Mahood 132). The administrators began planning “major capital construction outlays” which included what is now Wadsworth Auditorium, Frasier Library (now the only building open 24/7), and Erwin Hall (Mahood 133).

The GI Bill not only presented a logistic and spatial conflict with how the college would accommodate so many students, but it also forced the newly named Geneseo State Teacher’s College into a position of competition: in order to maintain the dwindling prestige and increase allure for a Geneseo education, Geneseo needed to stand out amongst other colleges in Western New York—especially state schools like Brockport and SUNY Buffalo. As Wayne Mahood notes, “should Brockport [have received] dorms first, it would have a draw that Geneseo wouldn’t” (134). In turn, Geneseo petitioned the state to receive funds to finance a new 150-student residence hall. By the end of the petition, Geneseo had worked out funding for four new residence halls; with the resources to house students, administrators turned their concerns not only to the influx of veterans, but to the recruitment of standout high school students by sending out pamphlets to 4,500 high school students (Mahood 135). Additionally, administrators added a “Speech Correction” degree and “its first graduate program, the Master of Science in Education for elementary school teachers” in an attempt to oblige the growing body of students at the institution (Bright 12).

Partially in response to the GI Bill—and in an attempt to ensure veterans a quality education—New York Governor Thomas Dewey suggested the creation of a state university: the State University of New York, or SUNY (Bright 13). For Geneseo, this meant many changes: new buildings—academic, dining, and residence halls, the addition of foreign languages to the curriculum, a school physician, more athletic programs, and the expansion of physical education courses. Additionally, the university created the secondary education programs that it is so well known for today. In this time, the college opened the department of physics and started its own radio station—WGSU FM (Bright 16).


Argentieri, Lisa. “Exhibit on College History Continues through September.”OldVersion Milne Library News and Events. N.p., 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.

Bright, Frederick, and Wayne Mahood. SUNY Geneseo: 125 Years of Excellence. Geneseo: Clarion Publications, 1996. Print.

Mahood, Wayne, and Frederick Bright. SUNY Geneseo: From Normal School to Public Ivy, 1871-2007. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning, 2008. Print.

Mau, Clayton C. Brief History of the State University Teachers College: Geneseo, New York. 1956.