We love WordPress at ProfHacker, and many of us use WordPress to manage course websites. I’ve written about using ScholarPress Courseware to manage classes (and avoid LMSes like Blackboard). In my classes, the course website—built in WordPress—is the syllabus, and I ask students to refer there for course policies, the schedule, and assignments. However, I always have a few students who want an easily printable syllabus. When a syallbus was built in and for WordPress, however, that can be a challenge. At the very least cutting and pasting into a word processor would require significant reformatting of the website’s text; alternatively, I could remove the HTML tags I used when writing the syllabus by hand.
Enter Anthologize, “a free, open-source, WordPress-based platform for publishing” developed during the NEH-sponsored “One Week, One Tool” workshop at the Center for History and New Media. Anthologize was developed as a way for scholars to easily publish blog content—from a personal research blog, a course blog, or scholarly group blog, or the like—in a number of formats:
Anthologize is a free, open-source, plugin that transforms WordPress 3.0 into a platform for publishing electronic texts. Grab posts from your WordPress blog, import feeds from external sites, or create new content directly within Anthologize. Then outline, order, and edit your work, crafting it into a single volume for export in several formats, including—in this release—PDF, ePUB, TEI.
For teachers who build their syllabi on WordPress, however, Anthologize also offers a way to easily collect the syllabus pages—for me that’s the “Course Description,” “Course Policies,” “Assignments,” and “Schedule” pages on the course site—and create a PDF. Just follow their guide to “compiling a project”, using the syllabus as the “project” and its sections as the “parts.” Drag the pages or posts from your website that you want included in the print syllabus into the correct order and then export the project to whatever formats you want. It’s very simple.
Students can download the PDF (or ePub) you create and, if they wish, print it out. With Anthologize installed, compiling a print syllabus from a course website takes seconds, saving significant “reprep” time I was spending creating syllabi in multiple formats.
Do you create course materials primarily on a course website? If so, do you provide a print-ready version for students? Tell us about how you balance digital and analog syllabi in the comments.