Setting up Categories

The creation of categories provides a means of organizing student work around research, projects, artworks, and other areas of investigation. The power of the WordPress database is put into use in order to track and display student work.

By: Randall Packer |

Before students begin creating posts in WordPress, it is necessary to first create common categories. This lesson provides suggestions for categories that relate to various kinds of student work that was created in my class, although each instructor can decide for themselves how they want to best use categorization.

First, it is important that all classes use a category that corresponds to the module number. In this case I am using DA9005 as an example. The module number is used as the “Parent Category,” so that all other relevant categories will be related directly to this module. This scheme was devised because in many cases, students will have one site for more than one class. This way, their work can be filtered accordingly on each class site.

  • Category Hierarchy: to demonstrate a hierarchical system of parent and child categories, first enter the Dashboard and select Posts/Categories (see figure below). Before we begin creating categories, note in the example below that when this process is completed, the parent category appears at the top, while the child categories appear underneath with dashes.
category-page_Screenshot 2014-05-09 12.41.50
  • Category Titles: For my class, I used the following categories: “Research” (critical assignments), “Micro-Projects” (for small projects), “Project Hyperessay,” (for a semester long writing assignment), and “Project Updates,” (for weekly documentation of projects). The instructor however should decide on the categories that all students will use in their class for organizing research, critical writing, and project related assignments. Besides these common categories for assignments, students can also create their own categories, which can be used for posts that are not assignment oriented, or they can be used in combination with the assigned categories.
  • Creating a New Category: Now let’s begin. In the example below I am creating a new parent category for the module DM3003. Be sure and enter both the title and the slug, which should be exactly the same. For now, ignore the Parent designation. Also, the description is not necessary. When done, click on “Add New Category.”
new-parent-category_Screenshot 2014-05-09 12.47.44
  • Now we’ll create a child category. Once again, choose new category, then create a name, such as “Artwork,” the slug, and then assign this new category to its parent “DM3003.” For each of the categories that are used, assign it to the parent category that pertains to the specific class module. If a student is in more than one class using OSS, be sure and assign the right categories to the appropriate module. Again, there is no need to provide a category description.
child-category_Screenshot 2014-05-09 12.53.59

For the remainder of the semester, these categories will be used consistently, provide archives for projects, critical writing, research, etc. It is important to note that additional categories can always be added later in the semester.