In case you missed it, U.OSU released two new themes in 2016 (Oxley and Orton) to fit a variety of needs, giving you a total of five unique layouts to choose from.
If you’re unfamiliar with U.OSU, just think of it as a free website platform that utilizes features from WordPress, making it easy for you to update and manage your own university- and college-branded web space. U.OSU lets faculty, staff and students share independent work, host course assignments, enhance project visibility, communicate within groups and represent their organizations. And it’s entirely free!
- The Ohio State Dark theme is great for a high-contrast blog site, letting the most recent posts really pop on the page.
- The Ohio State Light theme is popular for hosting academic materials, thanks to the side navigation running along the page.
- The Oval theme includes space for a photo header so you can customize the look and feel of the landing page for your site.
- One of the latest themes, Oxley, gives you the option to include feature images, or photo headers, to your posts. This layout is ideal when visuals are a prominent portion of your stories.
- Another new theme, Orton, is designed as an online portfolio space. Use this theme to showcase your projects in the office or the classroom.
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
U.OSU will update to WordPress 4.1 on Friday, January 23. User interface changes are minor with a few noted improvements, including features to help you focus, share media simply, and save time editing images.
Read the complete update rundown, get familiar with WordPress by viewing a Lynda tutorial, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
We updated the U.OSU Terms of Service to accommodate departmental sites in an official Ohio State capacity. This change stems from university departments recognizing the value of the free, university-supported web platform.
On Thursday, December 18, you’ll notice a new footer option in the Customize menu on your Dashboard. It will allow people managing official sites to replace the default language with a departmental footer.
Default footer text will remain the same; it states that the content is owned by the person who developed the site. The new option only applies to sites that contain content or ideas owned by an entity within Ohio State. For example, a site that officially represents the staff, offerings, and events of a department, is a candidate for the departmental footer.
Next time you log in, please accept the updated terms before continuing to your site. If you are managing a departmental site, visit the Resource Center for instructions on how to change your footer.
In our last newsletter we asked users a couple of questions, like “How do you use U.OSU?” and “What do you like about the service?” Your responses were tallied and we’re taking your comments and suggestions into consideration as we move forward to improve the university’s web platform service.
View the entire infographic on ODEE News.
We noticed some common requests have a few existing solutions or workarounds.
Request: I want to include a form.
Solution: Check out all the features Formidable brings to the table.
Request: I would like my U.OSU to look like a website, not a blog.
Solution: While U.OSU inherently lists your Posts in chronological order, a few changes in Settings can help customize the look and feel of your site. Use Pages to achieve a static website aesthetic.
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.
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.
If 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.
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.
We were happy to see a great example of how to make U.OSU work for you on the Office of Distance Education and eLearning News this week.
“When the College of Arts and Sciences and ODEE teamed up to launch the U.OSU pilot in September 2013, Denise Ellsworth, Program Director for Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education, the transformative platform could enhance how The Bee Lab functions online.
The Bee Lab, a research and education facility on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center campus in Wooster, is a great example of how Ohio State branding and U.OSU customization can create a comprehensive yet navigable site.”
Whether your site serves as a resource, a blog (or both like The Bee Lab!), a forum or a student org homepage, U.OSU is all about what YOU do at the university. Read more from Denise’s interview and browse our Featured Sites to get inspired.
U.OSU continues to gain momentum as the university’s supported web platform. Whether you need a site to house resources for your student group or want to start a class blog, the easy-to-use WordPress platform has features to meet many needs.
We compiled recent articles and posts that highlight site benefits, tips for creating forms, text widget superpowers, and a collection of great examples from across Ohio State.