ECS installation instructions

set up your own site for collaboration


After you install the Theme and Plugins, importing the MIT ECS Template to your site will create content similar to ECS Demo; i.e., the Welcome, Good Practices, Discussions, Course Pages, and Site Help pages and subpages, the sample discussions, and the “tags” that link pages and discussions. (If you are familiar with WordPress, feel free to create your content from scratch instead of using our template.) This page will guide you how to import the MIT ECS Template and set it up on your site. When you are done, proceed to Widgets to complete your ECS site.

Importing the MIT ECS Template

Follow these steps to download the MIT ECS Template from here and install it on your new site. (Click on the maroon “STEP” headings to reveal and hide additional information, as needed.)

STEP 1 – Download the MIT ECS Template from here

In the sidebar of this page, under Related File Groups, there is a link to the MIT ECS Template Files. The MIT ECS Template is stored in that file group in an archive file that looks like this:

The date portion indicates when the template was created, so it may look different when you download it. We shall be posting the latest template on this instruction site.

Download the zip file and save it; you will need it to import the template to your site. The rest of the files in this file group are illustrations that provide more information about customizing your site using the template. You can download them or view them online when you need them.

To prepare the MIT ECS Template for import, first, uncompress the file you downloaded. (Use the relevant method on your computer.) The template file will now look like this:


Then follow the steps below to import the MIT ECS Template to your site.

STEP 2 – Import the MIT ECS Template to your site

Image 1 in the MIT ECS Template Files illustrates the “Import” interface on your “Dashboard”. Images 2 & 3 show how to import the MIT ECS Template via the WordPress Importer; namely:

(i) Open your site’s Dashboard. (You can do that by selecting “Dashboard” from the drop-down menu under your name in the grey admin bar on top of your site.)
(ii) Click on “Tools” to see options and select “Import” to open the Import interface.
(iii) In the “Import” interface, click on “WordPress” to start the WordPress Importer.

The WordPress Importer is a plugin. If it is not active on your site, install and activate it like any other WordPress plugin. If you need a reminder how to do that, refer to Plugins. After you have activated the WordPress Importer, repeat steps (ii) and (iii) above to start it.

(iv) In the “Import WordPress” interface, find and select the .xml archive file of the MIT ECS Template on your computer, and click on “Upload file and import” to import it.
(v) When prompted, assign the content about to be imported either to the existing “admin” or to a new user account, e.g., “template” (to remind you later what came with the template).
(vi) Click on “Submit” to import the MIT ECS Template content to your site.

The MIT ECS Template is now on your website! Follow the steps below to complete the setup.

Setting up your site a la ECS Demo

STEP 3 – Explore the imported template content

Images 4, 5, and 6 in the MIT ECS Template Files (see link under Related File Groups on the sidebar to the right) illustrate the types of content you imported with the MIT ECS Template, including “pages”, “posts”, and “tags”, respectively.  Pages can include text and media; the MIT ECS Template includes several hierarchies of pages and their subpages. Posts are WordPress elements that allow someone to post something and others to comment on it, thus forming a conversation thread; we call posts Discussions, since that is their main purpose on the MIT ECS site. Tags are metadata that allow searching and browsing through content. On WordPress only posts can be tagged; on the MIT ECS site, we can tag posts, pages, and file attachments.

STEP 4 – Set the front page of your ECS site

The front page is displayed at the main URL of your site. Image 7 in the MIT ECS Template Files (see under Related File Groups) illustrates how to set the front page of your ECS site; namely:

(i) In the Dashboard, click on the “Settings” tab to see all options.
(ii) Click on “Reading” to open the “Reading Settings” interface.
(iii) Under “Front page displays”, activate the “Static Page” radio button.
(iv) Select Welcome (or another page you prefer) as the front page.
(v) Click on the “Save changes” button to activate the new settings.

Image 8 in the MIT ECS Template Files illustrates how your site looks now.

After importing the MIT ECS Template and setting the front page, your site is starting to look a lot like ECS Demo. To complete your ECS site, you need to add widgets. So, let’s go to Widgets!

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