Ways to use U.OSU

Looking to start your own website? With Ohio State, it’s all about U! U.OSU is Ohio State’s free, easy-to-use online platform that allows Ohio State students and faculty to create, design and maintain their own website. Where do you even begin to make your own website and how can it help you in the future? Here are four reasons why you’ll want to use U.OSU:

1. U’re Hired

Have you started applying for post-graduation summer internships or full-time positions? U.OSU can act as an online portfolio displaying all your academic achievements as well as extracurricular projects and organizations that you’ve been involved with throughout your collegiate career. Bypass the heartache of condensing your cover letter and résumé to one page by inserting a link to your U.OSU site that has in-depth descriptions of all your accomplishments. Job hunters will be able to read firsthand accounts on how each collegiate project or experience has challenged and strengthened your skill sets, making you a qualified candidate for the job.

2. U Went Around the World in 80 Days

Are you spending your break outside of the United States through a study abroad trip? When you’re in a whirlwind of traveling and experiencing new cultures every day, it can be hard to remember when and where you visited historic places, ate unique foods or ran into abnormal situations. Often, monumental experiences stick out in your mind rather than the little everyday pleasantries that make studying abroad worthwhile. By turning your U.OSU site into a travel blog, you can preserve those memories for a lifetime. How cool will it be when you’re 85 and you can read what you did, felt and thought about when you were 20, roaming the streets of Italy? It’s like Time Hop, but better because it won’t be crowded with cringe-worthy junior high angst-filled Facebook statuses.

3. U’ve Got Class

The dreaded final class projects are coming up and your teacher not only wants you to showcase what you learned throughout the semester, but they want you to do so in a creative way. Don’t panic, U.OSU can be used for class projects too, especially writing-based projects. You can use your U.OSU site to display all the information needed in your class project in the form of a blog. By turning your class project into a blog, you will demonstrate your writing skills through a distinguished voice as well as an easy way to separate your ideas into individual blog posts, making a huge clump of information easier to digest. Check out how students in Media Editing and Writing used U.OSU for their final projects.

4. U Write

Are you trying to be the next writer for The Daily Show or a journalist for Variety, or do you have strong thoughts about events happening in your life and the world today? U.OSU can serve as a digital platform where you can try your hand at satirical news, post your poetry or short stories, or share your thoughts with your fellow Buckeye Community through a series of personal essays. The pen might have been mightier than the sword back in the day, but the keyboard may be the champion of both.

These are just four possibilities out of the many ways you can utilize U.OSU, because in the end you get to decide what you want your U.OSU to be. It all starts with U and it ends with U. Get started on building your own digital web platform with U.OSU, and if you need help along the way, check out these resources.

How to Use: Categories & Tags

Whether using U.OSU for a class site, personal blog or portfolio, utilizing categories and tags (and knowing the difference between them) is beneficial in more ways than one. Increased organization creates a better user experience and can also drive more traffic to your content.

What are they?

Categories allow you to group posts into broader topics.

They collect and organize content structurally and can be hierarchical. You can set your categories and their order in your WordPress dashboard ahead of time. For example, if you’re setting up a class blog, you might know you want your categories to be homework, class activities, readings and resources. Read More

Web Space for Student Orgs

Leading a student organization is much like running a business. Except most student leaders are doing it while also balancing classes, social lives and part-time jobs. Using U.OSU simplifies the process of managing a website and not to mention it is completely free.

There are a number of features we’ve set up to give student orgs a versatile and all-encompassing web hosting service while simultaneously helping their professional appearance.

screen shot of u.osu.edu/osuphigam

U.OSU sites are multi-functional and can be set up as static websites, blogs, or a group site (or all three!). Most student organizations will see value in a static website or incorporating a static front page to a group blog. Check out this fraternity’s awesome page. The static site option is ideal for groups such as this one because you can just add and hide new content when necessary.

“Our graduate philanthropy golf outing had a registration page but now that’s over so we get rid of that page and replace it with a recruitment tab,” said Jacob Menken, the recording secretary for Phi Gamma Delta and primary manager of their website.

Even if you want to have one page with blog-like updates, you can have multiple static pages, including a static homepage, like this postdoctoral association. U.OSU is a WordPress platform so many students feel a sense of familiarity with the Dashboard and find setting up a site is simple with a little background knowledge or quick glance of the Resource Center, like this tutorial on setting up static sites and pages.

Another valuable feature for student organizations is the ability to add users and assign roles with varied permissions. The roles range from an administrator, who has full access and control of the site, down to subscribers. These permissions make it easier to give members on an executive board the power to edit certain posts while the head of the organization can still filter and review content.

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Reach Google Glory with SEO

hand on computer mouse close upIf you’re looking to increase traffic to your U.OSU site you’re probably wondering what this SEO business is all about.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of manipulating your website in order to increase the number of visitors you receive from search engines. Sounds great, right? But how does it work?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the primary force in driving Internet traffic.

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Increase Font Size and Zoom In

Our U.OSU themes are designed to behave well in all browsers and devices. That responsiveness includes using size 14 font to comply with web and accessibility standards. While you cannot alter the default font size, headings can help signify importance in your posts and also increase readability. If you still find yourself squinting at the screen, try out the options below to increase font size on your own browser or simply zoom in on a page.

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Tips & Tricks: Blogging Abroad

There are ample opportunities to spend time abroad while affiliated with Ohio State. The Office of International Affairs offers more than 100 study abroad programs on six continents as well as additional options to work or research in a foreign country. We’ve seen students study architecture in London or work toward a rabies cure in Ethiopia. Regardless of where your journey takes you, one thing is certain – you’ll want to document your experience.

  • Students on a study abroad trip form O-H-I-O for a picture.Share with friends and family
  • Preserve memories
  • Enhance your writing portfolio
  • Represent Ohio State

The thought of creating and maintaining a blog can seem daunting, especially when it’s one of many bullets on your pre-departure to-do list. That’s where U.OSU steps in.

The straightforward format allows you to present your content in a professional manner without fussing around with catalogs of templates (because we know time is of the essence). It may seem like more effort, but in the long run keeping a blog is a better way to update friends and family than bloated status updates, forgotten postcards, and international phone calls that cost more than your rent.

Review this list of writing tips and check out the Resource Center for U.OSU how-tos.

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Real Highlights: One Health

In 2013, Christine O’Malley, executive director of health sciences, created a WordPress blog to capture the experiences of the One Health Summer Institute in Ethiopia. For eight weeks, 15 faculty members and five students participated in outreach, teaching, and data gathering for research.

The blog served the group well, though something was missing. The chronological nature helped record the trip but lacked additional information surrounding One Health projects and resources for partners of the initiative.

“When I saw U.OSU come out, I thought, that is for us,” O’Malley said. “It solved both my problems, it gave me a platform where information could live as a static website but also included the blog.”

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How To: Add Users and Assign Roles

Maintaining a blog or managing a website can seem daunting; luckily there is safety in numbers. U.OSU allows for multiple users to increase collaboration and participation on your site.

You can invite anyone with an active OSU username (lastname.#) to contribute to your site, they can easily sign up for a U.OSU site to get started. An instructor might add students to spark group discussion, a student organization could add an advisor to moderate content, or a group studying abroad could all blog while traveling.

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Tips for Grads: Moving U.OSU

GraduatingDog

So you’re graduating, congratulations!

Countless emails about Commencement, looming alumni status, and your last round of finals are (un)welcome reminders that college is coming to a close. To make this process a bit less painful, here are a few quick tips for retaining your U.OSU site content.

When you graduate your name.# access will cease along with  your U.OSU access. Whether you’ve utilized the U.OSU platform to create a personal portfolio, manage the page for an extracurricular, or blog your study abroad adventures, you might want to preserve your content.

It’s quite simple to save your content by exporting it to another WordPress site. Check out the Resource Center  for a rundown of the WordPress export process. Follow the instructions to export your content in to a .xml file. Once you’ve set up a new blog, import your file and you’re on your way.

If you used your U.OSU account to manage an extracurricular page, transfer your blog to a new user or change admins. When you lose your U.OSU access, you will no longer be able to sign on to the site, even to delete it. Transferring the blog or removing yourself as the admin will ensure that your organization’s site does not fall static after you depart. Avoid a bittersweet goodbye by taking care of your content now.

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Stats 101: Analytics for U.OSU

The new stats widget is up and running! Whether you’re an analytics novice or an SEO master, here’s a quick breakdown of the WordPress statistics functions for your reference.

Where is it?

You can locate the stats widget in two locations: look near the bottom of your Dashboard (you can drag it to more prominent real estate on your page if you so choose) or find the Statistics tab in the sidebar below Home and My Sites.

U.OSU_statistics

select the image for a larger view

What can it tell me?

The stats widget allows you to see analytics on your site visitors for the past month, three months, or year. A bit of metrics-related jargon ensues, so here are some key terms:

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