WordPress Training at USC

I am reminiscing one of my fun and super informative WordPress training at the University of Southern California in LA. Here is the email I received from Apryl who works for the Advancement Office.

Hi Elle,

Wondering if you do any custom WP training classes and could teach onsite in our office? We are a Communications team at USC working in advancement (fundraising). The main USC site runs on WP and our dept sites also run on WP. A few of us know some basic WP stuff — like how to edit and add content, but we’d like some more in-depth training. Our team consists of a programmer, a few graphic designers, social media and video people, and writers with varying degree of WP knowledge.

My response


Thanks for asking about my WP workshops. Sounds like you need a 2 day Bootcamp like the one I did
for the graphic designers and web managers of Loyola University. The class was structured like this format. It can be a Sat and Sun or two different weekends. I live in OC so you guys are close by. I try to limit the class to 6 people or 8 tops as each person comes from different learning levels.

Hi Elle,

Hope you’re doing good. Wondering if you might have time to come into my office and meet with me and our creative director to tell you our needs. We’re thinking maybe we’d have three different sessions: one to focus on content/editorial posting, one to focus on design, and another that would focus more on template/back-end issues. But would like to speak with you
in person to figure it out.

Do you have time maybe next week to come to USC to meet with me and John Morawiec?

Thanks so much!

My response to Apryl

Yes a three session workshop spread out over a week to 9 days will work…You have to give time for your brains to absorb all the WP technical & creative stuff that I would cover. So the three session WP bootcamps would be broken into 3 phases.

WordPress Basics – Anatomy of a WordPress website.
Content creation using pages, and posts.
Navigation method using the menu system. Importance of tags and
slugs for SEO and navigation.
What the heck are Widgets ?
Top ten plugins to make your WordPress site dynamic.
Content Management Strategy- Build a site map and an outline.
Planning is everything.
Working with domains and hosting companies. First steps.

2) WordPress for Designers & non-Designers – Front end WP techniques
Transitioning from Graphic Design to Web Design . ( from print to web)
Dreamweaver versus WordPress CMS. old school versus new school
HTML & CSS Basics. Its relevance to designing a Web Page.
Manipulating Widgets to change the look of a page or a post. Template selection based on content.
Creating a simple blog for writers versus a CMS site that looks
like a business or academic site.

3) WordPress Advanced Concepts – Back end WP techniques
Advance CSS techniques. PHP Basic. Saving & exporting the
Wordpress Database ( XML & SQL Files ).
Control Panel techniques using FTP in your hosting account. Using
the Live Manager.
Reworking a basic template to a premium template using HTML, CSS, and PHP.
How to select the right template for your site. Using Theme
Forest to shop for a design
Using WP frameworks and Child Themes.
Design methods . Buying a premium theme versus buying a WP
framework. Pros & Cons.
Tools for WP website building. Using Firebug,
http://gtmetrix.com/, and W3C Markup Validation Service.
Photoshop and Firefox is your best friend.

Goals of this WordPress Bootcamp

Each WP student will create a live and Googable WordPress Site from scratch. At the end of the 3 day WP class, each student will be able to create WP sites on their own. Each session I will be giving a small WP test at the end of the day. The last hour will be dedicated to a Q & A of the day’s session. We will have open constructive critiques of each student’s website project.

Here is how I organized each full-day session.. First hour is intros and orientation. Then a series of demos on WordPress website building methods. I will be doing a 10-15 minute demo each time and I will ask each participant to repeat the method. I will repeat the demo twice after which I will go around to each student to see their progress. I will require a projector for this class and a giant whiteboard.

I received this email from Apryl a week after the third WordPress training with USC Advancement Staff.

Hi Elle,

Thanks so much for all your hard work herding us cats! Everyone really learned a lot …and had a lot more fun than we ever expected. So thank you so much for an enjoyable class and learning experience. I’ll be in touch soon about that final third day.

And OMG — the baklava!! Wow! The best ever!

Thanks again! We look forward to working with you again! Have good travels!!


What I learned from my WordPress Students :

Each person has different skill levels when learning new technology. So I have to adjust my teaching method to match the learning ability of each person.

Teaching WordPress or programming to non-techies is not that easy.  I have learned through the years to adopt a variety of teaching methods using simple analogies. If my WP student is an architect, I would talk to him in that language. I have used illustration and drawings on the white board to explain how WordPress works. Can you imaging explaining what widgets are in relation to plugins ?

I teach WordPress and other technical jargon in the simplest terms that even a 12-grader would understand.  Database, XM, SQL..What are those terms ?

The best way to Learn WordPress and website design/programming is to actually do it yourself. Learn from your mistakes and keep practicing your new acquired programming skills.

Thanks for supporting WordPress.

Elle Gamboa
WordPress Instructor/ WP Developer