Feedback from Pittsburgh’s Tier 1 Lesson Plan Testing

I’m going to attempt to organize this as best as I can. If anyone has any questions or needs more information, just comment and I’ll do my best to elaborate. This is a combination of feedback from several people and I included all relevant comments.

These notes are a result of a two-part workshop that we ran at our local library with about 6 people who were all mostly new to WordPress. The plan was to cover all of the modules in the Tier 1 package, but due to time and questions and technical issues we were NOT able to cover: Password Recovery, Managing Comments, Changing Themes, Theme CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings., Menu and Widgets.

Our feedback includes LP specific ones as well as some overall thoughts on how the training went. Some of the overall thoughts are well outside the scope of our team, but I thought it was worthwhile to share.

Printing Lesson Plans
I think we need to explore the options of a printer stylesheet or some other easy to print application for lesson plans. I know we do not want to maintain slides or PDFs or anything like that, but simply hitting “print” on a LP doesn’t provide the most useable document. Given that we encourage teachers to do live demos, it would be much easier to have paper next to the computer as you go.

LP Specific Feedback and Comments

Overview (High Level Overview and Basic WordPress Concepts)

  • We went quickly over this and just touched on the highlights
  • Spent about 20 mins on those two plans together, knowing that we’d go more in-depth when we got to the hands on portion
  • I felt the overview time took too much time, and then when we went to hands on it seemed a bit repetitive – repetition tends to be good for learning, but just felt it was redundant

One-Click Install

  • This didn’t work at all because BlueHost codes didn’t work as anticipated for most students. When we were up and running (had a few people using BH) the LP didn’t match the install process.
  • Bluehost’s one-click install process & cpanel layout is far different than most web hosts softaculous for example allows you to specify a database name and stronger username – also you cannot give someone something “FREE” and then expect them to input credit card information over an open network such as a library.
  • I would recommend everyone get a temporary subdomain on some sort of An online implementation of WordPress code that lets you immediately access a new WordPress environment to publish your content. is a private company owned by Automattic that hosts the largest multisite in the world. This is arguably the best place to start blogging if you have never touched WordPress before. hosted network that allows lesson plans & teachers to use and site self-destructs after 3 weeks. It should however allow for manual installs, adding themes, plugins, etc. from the directory {so a bit more advanced than default sites}


  • Spent about 15 mins on this
  • Didn’t like the quiz questions
  • I agree with quiz questions, not very interactive and confusing, would take out completely


  • Felt like we needed more examples for reading (static page vs blog) and it was almost too early in the LP to address this
  • Spent about a half hour on this
  • Had some questions about SEO/Tagline usage that we addressed outside of the LP


  • LP felt overwhelming

Content Editor Overview

  • ended up covering this as part of the pages/post LP which was at the end of day one so that students could add content before the second class

Managing Media

  • Spent a little over a half hour
  • Issues with the quiz questions
  • As we commented in SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at, need a little more for this LP


  • Spent about 45 mins on this but extended into a discussion on backups
  • Wrong quiz quiz questions on this LP

Overall Feedback provided by one of our TAs (an experienced WordPress User/Developer who doesn’t have experience with the training team)

  • Need to stress more time on backups & updating – this is CRITICAL for new WordPress users to understand
  • I think a PDF or print-out would be useful, or maybe a place for them to view specific videos (with readable transcripts and screenshots) that cover the less plan in more detail for them to watch after the class
  • Also – definitely not enough time for themes & theme customization – I think people generally just care “how do I make it look nice and like my own website?” – spending time on general wordpress settings, how to add posts, pages, etc. could be way more efficient and less time spent on that.
  • Also – did not spend very much time on widgets. Widgets are a good way to add content to your site without nec. Needing code.
  • New WP version came out just a few days before the class, so there were a couple of new features I wasn’t quite familiar with using {ie: the new hover bar/pop-up window for inserting links and media} – easy to adjust to, but was like, whoa! What happened to the link box?
  • I think it would be good that if students all worked towards building the same website…so yeah, everyone would have the same site, but it would be easier to keep the class on track and still teach them all the various features they would need to then make their own site.
  • The class would probably be better done in 1 entire day as opposed to two – so maybe would suggest the training takes place 1 full 8 hour day with 1 hour break for lunch {student’s responsibility} and 20 minute scheduled breaks in morning and afternoon (note – we did two sessions based on the availability of the free meeting room at the library)

This goes against how we organized things (but again, this was written without background of the team’s objectives) but there’s still some valid information from someone who just picked up the plans to each.

  • This could just be me, but I think I’d like to see the class broken up in these sections:
    • Intro to WP – easy to use, add new content, update, extend features, customize look and feel, etc., Self hosted vs. hosted, etc.
    • How to Install – I would probably either recommend Softaculous or manual. It’s important to understand I think that there is a database in addition to files and they all work together, and you can access through FTPFTP FTP is an acronym for File Transfer Protocol which is a way of moving computer files from one computer to another via the Internet. You can use software, known as a FTP client, to upload files to a server for a WordPress website. if you ever need to.
    • General vocab overview – define content (posts vs pages, categories vs. tags, media files, define theme, define pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, define “parts” of a wordpress website – headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes., menu/nav bar, sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme., content area, footer, the “loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post.” – how wordpress will by default loop posts unless you change this in your theme.
    • Step 1: Plan Your Content (this is where you’d get into posts and pages/tags & categories – I think an XML import file would be nice here, but may confuse some, but having content there already makes it easier to figure out when you go to create your own site and also demonstrates the loop}
    • Step 2: General Settings {Would cover not in so much detail – most is self explanatory – would probably focus the most on the date/time, permalinks, and reading/discussion}
    • Step 3: Choose a Theme
      • Since themes vary so widely…this can be difficult to explain to a class. Default 2016 theme is okay start, but people want to figure out typically right from the start what the site is going to look like, and if they want features like a slider or portfolio, etc how to add it. “Refer to theme documentation” might be good – show them how to find the developer name and the read-me file?
      • Understanding Theme Marketplaces & Theme best practices {ie: don’t download from non-trusted site, as it may have malware}
    • Step 4: Theme Customizer, Menus
    • Step 5: Adding Functionality Through Plugins – ie: maybe a contact form plugin {simple contact form seems to be less confusing than the new contact form 7?} – maybe a couple of nice widget related plugins – image widget is a fave that has a lot of uses:
    • Step 6: WidgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. Areas & Sidebars
    • Step 7: How to Make Automatic Backups {WordPress should probably recommend 2-3 choices for free solutions – VaultPress/Backup Buddy are expensive/out of budget for some. I like UpdraftPlus…haven’t found many others which are well supported that are free} – maybe also share how to do cPanel backups?
    • Step 8: Fear not the update button! Make a backup, click update. 🙂
    • Step 9: Need to provide big resource of trusted places to learn/review items we covered – & others for example