Project 2: Web Portal

Important Dates

  • February 16: Web Portal Peer Review
  • February 20: Web Portal Due Date
  • February 27: Web Portal Deadline (end of grace period, no work accepted after 11:55 PM)

The Project Assignment

For this project, you will design and create a web portal where you will publish the work that you do for this course. Your work on this project will require that you do all of the following:

  • write and design text for online presentation (write web content).
  • use digital images (and if desired, video and audio).
  • recognize and use basic HTML and CSS syntax.

You’ll create your web portal using WordPress, which will provide the basic tools you need so that you can focus on your multimodal design and learning the basics of HTML and CSS coding.

The Assignment Process

These steps will walk you through the assignment. We will work on the sites in and out of class during the next three weeks.

Step 1: Create a WordPress blog

Setup a blog (recommended), a self-hosted blog, or a Blogs@VT site for your course Web Portal. Name your site something that we’ll be able to connect to you. Realize that your blog will be a public site, so anyone on the Internet can read it. Make wise, professional choices about naming your site and the information you will display.

Decide on a backup plan for yourself. The easiest option is to copy and paste things out into files on your Google Drive, a flash drive, or your own computer. Dropbox works too. You can also go to Tools on the left and then Export to download your content as an XML file.

Step 2: Customize your blog

Use the various tools within WordPress to customize your site so that it represents you. You need to complete the following tasks: 

  1. Choose a Theme for your blog (under the Appearance tab on the left).
  2. Use the Widgets (also under the Appearance tab on the left) to customize your sidebar(s), header, and footer (as applicable). 
  3. Use Menus (again under the Appearance tab on the left) to set up the menus for your site.

If you need help, try the Support and Tutorials. Also remember that you can use the step-by-step tutorials at The Essential Training with Morten Rand-Hendriksen tutorial probably has a video for everything you need.

Step 3: Set-up your content

You will write Posts and Pages for your site:

  • Posts: You will write your daily class work in posts, generally one for each session. Most of your posts will include two headings: (1) What I’ve Done and (2) Why I’ve Done It.
  • Pages: You will write
    • an about page, where you tell visitors about yourself. You can revise your online identity statement for this page.
    • a site information page (like a colophon in a book), where you tell us about the tools you used and the design decisions you made. Be sure that you give credit for any resources (like an image) that you use.
    • pages for the remaining class projects. For now you can have placeholder pages for each of these assignments:
      • Interrogate an Interface
      • Remix a Story
      • Completion Report

Step 4: Write your project reflection

In Scholar, you will write a short message to me that tells me the URL to your website and then explains the decisions you made as you created your website. You can talk about content, organization, and design—telling me about what you chose and why you chose it.

This memo is your chance to tell me whatever you want me to know before I grade your project. Among other topics, you may want to answer the following questions:

  • Why did you choose to organize the information the way you did as opposed to some other possible organization?
  • Why did you choose the design that you did?
  • How did you decide about the visual elements that you have included?
  • How is this website personal and unique?

You can write this memo in class on the due date, February 20. You should be able to look back through your daily posts to recall the decisions you made while working on the project.

Random Examples for Inspiration

Assessment Details

  • Satisfactory Work includes all the elements described above, demonstrates good design decisions, and meets correctness expectations (for instance, the links all work, there are no spelling errors, and so forth).
  • Unsatisfactory Work is missing required elements, is poorly designed, and/or does not meet correctness expectations.
  • Exemplary Work meets all the goals of Satisfactory Work, but goes beyond those expectations by including additional, relevant resources, by including multiple modes of communication, and/or by demonstrating excellent design decisions.