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Using the Site

Written by Christina Cantrill
December 08, 2010

Welcome to the NWP Digital Is Using the Site Guide.

Navigation describes how the work of the website is organized and what you’ll find in each section of the site.

Guidelines for Participation describes the ways you may participate and provides general guidelines for the community.

Setting up My Profile describes how to manage your profile and account information.

How Discussions Work gives an overview of how to join or start a discussion of a resource or collection.

Becoming a Resource Creator gives you an overview of this role and guidelines for the types of resources we hope to collect within Digital Is.

Notification and Conversations provides an overview of how to keep track of information within the site.

Who Curates? describes how “curated” collections within this site are created.

We also encourage you to learn more about NWP and the Digital Is Website.

This guide was put together by the administrators of the site, including screencasts and photos by Bill Fitzgerald (aka James O’Patton) of site developer Funny Monkey.

Guidelines for Discussions, Resource Creation and Feedback were derived from guidelines originally developed for the NWP E-Anthology and Youth Voices.

We encourage conversation about how to make this guide and related guidelines more useful and clear. Please contribute to the discussion if you have suggestions, comments or questions. Thank you!


The primary navigation links are located in the top right corner of the page. They are also pictured in the screenshot, below.

The Home icon brings you to the home page.

Each of the Art/Craft, Teach/Learn, and Provocations tabs bring you to a page of collections with that theme.

The Community tab brings you to an overview of recent comments in discussions, new resources, new members, and keyword tags from resources and collections.

You can also search Digital Is by using the search box at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Within resources longer than a single page, you’ll see two more options for navigating through the resource: black arrows at the bottom of the page, or the Browse This Resource menu in the left sidebar.

This page you are reading has both of these navigational elements; you can see them in the screenshot below, or on the page itself.

Guidelines for Participation

As a teaching-focused knowledge base exploring the field of digital writing and learning, the aim of the Digital Is website is to ensure a friendly and collegial writing, publishing, and discussion/response space.

You may participate by joining the Digital Is website community. This will give you the ability to join a discussion or start your own discussion. You will also be able to set up a user profile.

In addition to the terms of use agreed to by community members upon joining the Digital Is website, the following guidelines for participation are meant to support the collegial participation and engagement of website members. We encourage the use of these guidelines as we work together to establish shared practices and collegial dialogue within Digital Is.

General guidelines for participation include:

  • Assume good intent.
  • Practice and encourage active listening, reading, and viewing.
  • Be as explicit as possible in your communication.
  • Don’t assume—ask for clarification as needed.
  • Build trust by doing what you say you will do.
  • Use irony and humor with care, as it does not always come across online the way you might have intended. You can always use emoticons to clarify! 😉
  • Review your response carefully before you post.
  • Approach every contribution with curiosity, expecting surprise and wonder.
  • Voicing differences of opinion and providing countervailing information or analysis within the context of the intent of the Digital Is website is welcomed—however, hate speech and attacks of a personal nature will not be tolerated.

Once you have joined and become familiar with the content and discussions within the site, you may also request to be a Resource Creator. This role will allow you to draft and post new resources in Digital Is. It will also give you the ability to ask for and provide feedback on draft resources within the community of Resources Creators.

Who Curates?

Teacher-leaders from the National Writing Project network provide leadership by acting as curators for the Digital Is website.

Curators have been asked to consider some key questions, ideas, and practices in the field of digital writing and literacy learning; to share writing and reflections related to those key questions, ideas, and practices; and to draw together resources into collections that help illustrate these considerations.

Collections are organized into three main themes:

Art/Craft: What are we learning about the art and craft of digital writing?

Teach/Learn: What are we learning about the teaching and learning of digital writing?

Provocations: What ideas provoke us to think in new ways about education and culture in the digital age?

Setting Up My Profile

All site members can create a user profile. These instructions cover:

  1. Joining the site
  2. Managing your account information
  3. Creating and managing your profile
  4. Understanding the role of your profile in the site

1. Joining the Site

To join the site, click the “Join” link. This link brings you to the account creation page.

On the account creation page, you need to:

  • Enter your username and email.
  • Enter your first name, last name, and a brief bio.
  • Read and accept the Terms of Service.

Once you have completed the required information, you can create your account by clicking the “Create new account” button. You will receive a confirmation email containing your password.

2. Managing Your Account Information

Once you have created your account, you can manage your account information. To access and edit your account information, click the “Edit my account” link in the Welcome block.

Your account information includes:

  • your username, password, and email address
  • your avatar, or user photo
  • your comment notification settings.

3. Creating and Managing Your Profile

To edit and update the information in your user profile, click the “Edit my profile” link in the Welcome block.

Your profile information includes:

  • interests
  • name, Writing Project site, and any other professional affiliation you want to highlight
  • contact information, which is private and will only be seen by NWP admins
  • links to any external web sites, like a blog or a twitter account
  • a brief “bio” or description of your work.

Your name and bio are required; all other fields are optional.

4. The Role of Your Profile in the Site

Once your profile is completed, it provides an overview about you and what you have been doing on the site. People visiting your profile will be able to see your recent posts on the site, as well as any personal information you have chosen to share.

How Discussions Work

As a community member, you may respond to discussions that have been started or you may start your own discussion in relation to a collection or an individual resource.

Keep in mind the general guidelines for participation when participating in discussions.

Notifications and Conversations

On this site, members can choose to receive email notifications on Discussions and, if you are a Resource Creator, on Feedback Requests.

The defaults can be set on a user’s account page, and people can choose different settings when they are adding a comment into an ongoing discussion thread.

You can also track relevant conversations when you are logged in to the site by using the Read my posts link, as shown above. The screencast embedded below gives additional details on tracking reponses to your resources, discussions, and feedback requests.

Becoming a Resource Creator

Once you have joined and become familiar with the content and discussions within the site, you may request to be a Resource Creator. This role will allow you to draft and post new resources in Digital Is. It will also give you the ability to ask for and provide feedback on draft resources within the community of Resources Creators.

Before requesting to be a Resource Creator, please read the Guidelines for Resource Creation as well as review the Terms of Use for this website. Once you have reviewed these guidelines and terms, send us a request. Within your request, please include a little description of your interest in digital literacy, teaching and learning along with any ideas you have about the resource you would like to create and contribute to Digital Is.

Guidelines for Resource Creators

The NWP Digital Is website provides a collection of teaching-focused resources that explore what we as educators are learning about writing and the teaching of writing in the digital age. Resources may address elements of the art and craft of writing in digital environments or may explore new issues in the teaching and learning of writing. Resources may also raise provocative questions and name issues we ought to be wrestling with as educators. All Digital Is resources aim to contribute to a growing knowledge-base about digital writing, teaching, and learning.

Toward the development of this knowledge-base, we welcome resources that:

  • attend to our key areas of interest: the art and craft of digital writing and/or the teaching of writing
  • take an inquiry stance toward teaching, share the theory of action behind the work and invite reflection and response
  • include reflection on examples of student work as appropriate (with permissions and protection of privacy as outlined in the Terms of Use)
  • use the tools of digital writing as appropriate to the resource and as supported by the technical capacities of the Digital Is platform.

The audience for the NWP Digital Is website are educators, both in school and out, and those interested in digital writing, teaching, and learning. Public resources may be viewed by anyone; however, audience members are encouraged to join the site and become ‘authenticated users’— or members. Members of the Digital Is website are welcome to contribute ideas and content as participants in discussions on this site.

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