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Website Tips and Tricks

Markdown uses a variety of technologies to make putting your language classes online easier. If you’re comfortable with HTML, you can use pure HTML in your pages. You should also be able to copy and paste most information directly from your word processor directly into the site.

One additional, and recommended, method for creating your posts and pages is to use the Markdown Extra language. The advantage to Markdown is that your text stays quite clean and easy to read without a lot of computer-looking code cluttering it up.

I’ve created a cheat sheet for some of the most simple aspects of the Markdown language you can see here.

Include a navigation menu

To include a navigation menu on one of your pages (for example, to make it easy for students to switch among units in a particular class), you just need to build an html unsorted list inside of an html div. The div must contain the ‘id=”navmenu”‘ code for it to be recognized and then converted to a horizontal navigation menu:

<div id="navmenu">
<li><a href="your URL here">Unit 1</a></li>
<li><a href="second URL here">Unit 2</a></li>
<li><a href="third URL here">Unit 3</a></li>

The above code will generate the following navigation tab menu: (the links in this won’t work because I didn’t use real URLs. You should put complete URLs to the pages you want to connect to. The navigation tabs at the top of the page include real URLs to navigate this page.)

To embed a YouTube video:

  1. Navigate to the YouTube video that you want to display
  2. Underneath the video, click on “Share”
  3. A new section will appear, In that section, click on “Embed”
  4. Copy the code presented. It should begin with “iFrame” and some additional html
  5. Paste that code into the page where you want the video to appear.

Here’s an example of the code for a video:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

And here is the video as it would appear in your page:

You can get the video to align to the center or the right by inserting one small bit of code just after the word “iFrame” that YouTube generates:

  • To align the video in the center, insert: class='aligncenter'
  • To align the video to the right, insert: class='alignright'

Here’s what the above example would look like:

<iframe class='aligncenter' width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

To include a table in markdown

To include a table in your page, basically you type the table much as you would on an old typewriter. The web server will convert that to an actual HTML table. For example, if you want a table with a verb paradigm, you would type the following:

Column 1    |   Column 2    |   Column 3
cell 1      |   cell 2      |   more stuff
another cell |  more        |   and still more
3rd row     |   even more   |   last cell of my table

Whatever you want for your column headings should be separated by white space and a vertical bar (|). The next line must be simple dashes (-) that is divided with the same number of vertical bars. Finally, type the table content, separated by vertical bars.

The bars don’t have to line up—the table will be created correctly—but it might be easier for you to read what you’re typing!

The above should produce this table:

Column 1 Column 2 Column 3
cell 1 cell 2 more stuff
another cell more and still more
3rd row even more last cell of my table

Stream Audio From Your Web Pages

You can stream audio from the web server to your students quite easily, though it does require you to include HTML code in your pages. Nonetheless, it’s really quite easy. Here is an example of the code you would include:

<audio src="" controls="controls" preload="metadata">Your browser and/or OS doesn't support the html5 audio tag.</audio>

And as long as your browser supports the audio tag, here is what would be presented to your students:

To explain the above:

  • “src” is the URL which points to the audio file itself. This can be on the site, or any audio file on the Internet you can point to.
  • “controls” tells the browser to present the controls so the user can start and stop the audio
  • “preload” tells the browser to load some data as the page loads.

The text between the audio tags is the message that a user on an incompatible browser will see.

To get your audio online or for information on how to record your own audio for you students, contact