Posts tagged design

Although we have over 170 different themes for you to use in your sites, sometimes they don’t quite fit the bill: some are old, some lack functionality, and others are just plain ugly. We are planning to weed out some of the worse themes and remove them over the next few months to leave you with up-to-date, functional themes.

However, if you would like a little bit more flexibility, I would like to introduce a new series of themes based on the Upfront framework.

Upfront gives you a completely different way of building a site (more complex, but more flexible) as it works as a drag-n-drop page builder. Upfront allows you to:

  • Upfront enables you to create full posts and pages, as you see them.
  • As well as manage all of your posts, pages and media
  • Without ever having to enter the WordPress Dashboard
  • What you see is *really* what you get
Upfront themes currently available
Name Info
Scribe An artisan portfolio theme with elegant typography, full-screen front page and classy long-form pages.
Fixer A flat and vibrant business theme for selling your services and standing out from the crowd.
Spirit A professionally crafted, high-end portfolio theme with a fresh, natural design inspired by stunning photography and clean, bold typography.
Panino A friendly one-pager theme inspired by the delicious coffee, tasty food and familiar faces at your favorite cafe. Panino is the ideal theme to satisfy any craving.
Parrot Showcase your app with Parrot, a flexible and no-nonsense business theme that makes light work of selling your new product.
Luke + Sara Let your images speak for themselves with Luke + Sara, a contemporary photography theme for the discerning shutterbug.

You may notice that these themes are not education-specific, but they provide a starting point for developing the look and feel of your site.

To access the Upfront themes, please email Marcus Elliott ( to request access.

You will then find the Upfront-powered themes in the Appearance > Themes folder on the Dashboard. Once you have activated an Upfront theme, click the Upfront logo on the top toolbar to get started.

Support resources

Many of the methods you currently use to assess student work still apply to work published on the blogs, but here are a number of specific ways you can assess your students’ work using the Learning Lab blogs.

  1. Subscribe to the RSS news feeds for each blog. Every blog has an RSS news feed for both posts and comments. Subscribing to these will conveniently deliver the content to your news reader or web browser for you to read and evaluate. If you want advice on setting up a news reader, please contact us. It’s a fantastic way of keeping up with multiple blogs at once.
  2. Examine and compare the revisions for each post or page. If your students have created blogs to use in one of your courses, you can be made an administrator for the blog and then view the revision history for each post or page. In WordPress, as soon as a post or page is saved once, a record of each revision is then made. You and your students can look at the complete revision history, examining the time and date of each revision, as well as compare two different revisions. If the blog is being created by a group of students, you can see who is contributing most to the project and compare the quality of contributions. You can find the revision history at the bottom of each post or page. Alternatively, the revisions can be displayed at the bottom of each blog post by activating the ‘Post Revision Display’ plugin. This makes the revisions visible to anyone who reads the blog.
  3. Designing a good looking and fully featured blog is something to be rewarded. Are you aware of how a blog is designed and of the different ways that content can be presented to readers? Do you understand how themes are chosen and modified, how multimedia is embedded in a page, how widgets are used and how pages and categories can structure content? If you haven’t already, create a blog for yourself and learn about the different ways of presenting content on a blog. You can also contact CERD who will be happy to suggest how you might spot a particularly creative and thoughtful designer.
  4. Are the students contextualising their work by linking to external resources? Websites rarely stand alone and a blog is crying out to be linked to other websites. There are a number of ways this can be done. For example, simply linking words on the page to external sites where good quality resources can be found demonstrates your students’ research skills; using widgets to display external content via RSS feeds onto the blog; and displaying content published elsewhere such as their videos on YouTube, images on Flickr and bookmarks on Delicious, are all skills to be rewarded. Again, if you’re not sure yourself about this and want to learn more, contact us or search this site for more information.

There are no doubt other ways that you could use a Learning Lab blog to assess your students’ work. Let us know by leaving a comment below and we’ll add it to the list above. Thank you.