User Guide

Introduction menu

This guide is intended as a basic instruction manual for the English Department administrative web site. This site controls all the faculty and staff information displayed on the public English Department web site. This includes the following:

In addition, the administrative site provides links to commonly-used resources around the university web infrastructure.

User Levels menu

There are three levels of access to the database: Administrator, Editor, and Author. When you login, your access level is indicated in the "Status" section on the lower left corner of the screen. The web site has only one Administrator, who has full access to all functions. Department administrative staff members have Editor status, which allows them to create new accounts, delete accounts, and modify information for all registered users. All instructional faculty have Author status, which allows them to update information on their own accounts only.

Logging In menu

To login to the administrative site, click Faculty Login in the top right corner of the English Department home page or go directly to

In order to login to the system, you must have an account. Your account will be created by a member of the administrative staff, at which time you will receive a temporary password by e-mail. Your username is your CSUN e-mail account and must end in Most CSUN e-mail accounts have multiple aliases, some based on your initials and a number (e.g., others based on your full name (e.g. The English Department system uses your full name e-mail alias. If you are not sure which e-mail address is correct for our system or you wish to have your e-mail address changed, contact one of the administrative staff members. Note that you cannot change your e-mail address to a non-CSUN account.

If you are logging in for the first time, and you have not been sent a password, please ask one of the administrative staff members if you have been set a temporary password.

If at any time you forget your password, click the Forgot Password link. At the bottom of the Login Form.

Logging Out menu

Make sure you logout of the system when you are finished using it by clicking the Logout button at the bottom of the navigation menu.

Changing Your Password menu

Once you have logged in, you may change your password at any time. The first time you login, you should immediately change your password from the temporary one to something more memorable.

To change your password, click Change Password in the navigation menu. Enter your new password, confirm it, and click the Change My Password button.

Faculty and Staff Profiles menu

Profiles contain all the personal information which will appear on the public English Department web site. As such, your individual profile is a publication. It therefore needs to be properly edited and proofread, and it is essential that you follow the Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site.

To edit your profile, click on My Profile in the navigation menu. The Profile Page contains six tabbed panes: Contact Info, Education, Biography, Publications, Links, and Profile Image. When making changes to your profile, you should save your information before clicking on a new pane; otherwise the information you have entered may be lost.

Contact Info

The Contact Info panel lists your office, telephone number, and e-mail. If you have your own web site, you may also enter the web address (URL). You may enter only CSUN e-mail addresses in this panel. This panel also lists your status (professorial or other rank). This should be pre-set for you when your account is created; however, tenure-track and tenured faculty may edit their status upon promotion.


The Education panel provides fields for you to enter your highest degree, the date it was granted, and the degree-granting institution.


The Biography panel provides a WYSWIG editor in which you can enter a short personal history. In order to ensure a consistent look throughout the web site, please type your biography directly into the editor rather than pasting it from a word processor. For further details on formatting, see the Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site. See also Using the WYSIWIG Editor.


The Publications panel provides a WYSWIG editor in which you can enter a list of your publications. In order to ensure a consistent look throughout the web site, please type your publications directly into the editor rather than pasting them from a word processor. It is recommended that you list your publications using the unordered (bullet) list or the ordered (numbered) list button. Publications should be listed in a recognized format such as MLA, Chicago, APA, etc. For further details on formatting, see the Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site. See also Using the WYSIWIG Editor.


The Links panel provides a WYSWIG editor in which you can enter a list of links which you would like the public to be able to access from your departmental profile page. Typical examples might be links to Moodle, to your individual course web sites, professional organizations, and so on. In order to ensure a consistent look throughout the web site, please type your links directly into the editor rather than pasting them from a word processor. It is recommended that you list your links using the unordered (bullet) list or the ordered (numbered) list button. For further details on formatting, see the Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site. See also Using the WYSIWIG Editor.

Profile Image

The Profile Image panel provides a form to upload an image file. The image must be smaller than 256,000 kb and may be in .jpg, .gif, or .png format. Images will be displayed as 90 pixel x 90 pixel thumbnails. If you do not upload a profile image, a blank silhouette will be displayed on your profile page on the public English Department web site.

To upload an image, click the Choose File button. In the dialog box that opens, select the image you wish to upload on your hard disk and click OK. Then click the Upload Image button. Your image should appear into the panel, replacing the silhouette. You may replace your image at any time by uploading another one. If you wish to remove an image without replacing it with another one, click Delete Image. Your image will be replaced by a blank silhouette.

Course Descriptions menu

Faculty may enter course descriptions for their courses at the 200 level and above. In the past, the entire schedule was uploaded to the database so that faculty entering their descriptions would simply select their courses and enter the appropriate descriptions. Uploading the entire course scheduled proved to be too time consuming for the web administrator, so this practice has been discontinued. Now each individual faculty member must add each course every semester, including all information (catalog and course numbers, days and times, titles, etc).

To add and edit course descriptions, click Course Descriptions from the navigation menu. This will bring up a list of your courses. You may sort it by session, catalogue number, or title by using the list menu on the top right. To add a course, click the Add Course link at the top left of the list. Click the Edit and Delete links to the right of each course in the list. Do not delete courses at the end of each semester. This will allow members of the public to examine your courses in previous semesters. In addition, you will be able to copy courses from previous semesters so that you can re-use old course descriptions. Typically, you should not need to use the Delete function unless you made a mistake and wish to start over or if you get re-assigned time and need to cancel the course.

Adding a Course

Click Add Course at the top left of the course list. Enter the appropriate information in the form. The following notes may be helpful:

  1. The Catalog Number is the three-digit number in the University Catalogue. It may be accompanied by a two-letter suffix (such as "OL").
  2. Many courses are offered in multiple sections in a given semester. To find out what the Section Number is for a class, consult your class rosters in SOLAR.
  3. The Course Number (formerly called the Ticket Number) is a six-digit code which changes every semester. To find out what the Course Number is for a class, consult your class rosters in SOLAR.
  4. Your course title should be written out in full using standard capitalization conventions--not all capitals. To add a special character (such as à), click the Greek omega icon in the toolbar. The only acceptable formatting for a course title is italics, which should be used for titles of books, and so on--not the whole course title.
  5. You course descriptions should be short, generally no more than 1-2 paragraphs. The formatting should be kept simple and consistent with the rest of the descriptions on the course description page. For further details on formatting, see the Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site.

When you are finished, click Submit. You will be returned to your list of courses.

Copying a Course

Click Edit next to the course you wish to copy. Click the Copy button at the top right of the Edit Form. You will be prompted to copy the course. Select the semester for which you wish to create a new copy and click the Copy Course button. The screen will display a link saying, "Edit the course days, times, etc...". Click the link. You will be returned to the Edit Form where you can change any details you wish.

Editing a Course

Click Edit next to the course you wish to edit. Make any changes you wish and click the Update button.

Office Hours menu

In the past, office hours were erased each semester by the web administrator. In the present system, faculty members attach their office hours to a semester, and the web site displays only the office hours attached to the current semester. To enter your office hours, click Office Hours in the main navigation menu. Make sure that the current session is selected in the dropdown menu and then enter your office hours in the form. Your office hours can be a maximum of 200 characters. Your office hours will be displayed automatically on your individual profile page on the public English Department web site.

The WYSIWYG Editor (TinyMCE) menu

The WYSIWYG Editor used in many of the forms on this site is a web-based Javaccript editor called TinyMCE. It will only work if you have Javascript enabled on your computer. If you cannot use Javascript, please contact one of the administrative staff about making alternative arrangements. TinyMCE is compatible with a broad range of browsers, but, if you are having trouble with it, your first course of action should be to try a different browser, especially if you are using an older one.

The TinyMCE editor consists of an area for entering text and a toolbar, making it look very much like a word processor, such as Microsoft Word. In fact, it can be configured to have most of the major functionality of a word processor. However, because there is a need to restrict the formatting of materials published on the English Department web site, most of the forms on this site which contain the TinyMCE editor have smaller toolbars which contain only formatting options appropriate to the type of information acceptable. In order to see which formatting options are available, run your mouse cursor over the various icons in the toolbar, and a popup will appear with the icon's function. Please restrict your input to the formatting options available in toolbar of the form you are submitting.

A complete list of icons and their functions appears at the end of this section. However, a number of functions are worthy of special note:

  1. Please make sure that you have removed any spaces from the beginning or end of the text you enter in the TinyMCE editor. Any extra spaces or line feeds you leave will appear on the public web site and may affect its appearance.
  2. When text is pasted into a TinyMCE editor, the text formatting is converted to HTML (which you can see if you click the HTML icon). Although, TinyMCE is getting good at stripping formatting codes which don't belong, Microsoft Word (and some other applications) are notorious for generating codes that are are unwanted in a text on a web site (see Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site for further details). There are three paste options: Paste, Paste as Plain Text, and Paste from Word. Paste will paste your text exactly as it is copied, with all proprietary codes. In most browsers it has been disabled and replaced by a keyboard shortcut: Control+V (Windows) or Command+V (Mac). Using the keyboard shortcut to paste your text automatically applies the Paste from Word function. Paste as Plain Text will strip all formatting codes (you can then re-format your text appropriately in the editor). Paste from Word allows you to paste your text into a dialog box and then insert it in the main text area. This process strips out all proprietary Word formatting codes and converts them to acceptable HTML. This process has the same result as pasting directly into the editor window using the keyboard shortcut, but it has been left as an option because it can be configured to do more than just this default behavior, if necessary.
  3. The HTML icon can used to view the HTML markup of your text. If you know HTML, you may edit the code directly, but please do not use formatting that is not available on the toolbar. The paintbrush icon can be used to clean up messy code, making it more readable.
  4. If the editing area is not big enough for you, you click the screen icon (labelled Toggle Fullscreen Mode) to enlarge the editing area to the full screen size. Click the same icon to return to normal size. Note that the size of the editing area does not determine the size of the text as it will appear on the English Department web site, where your text will be adjusted to fit the web site's template.
  5. The Preview icon (a page with a magnifying lens) will open a separate page which will show what your text will look like. If the formatting looks wrong, use the Eraser (Remove formatting) icon to remove the formatting codes and then try to re-format your text from scratch in the editor. The Paragraph (Visual control characters on/off) icon allows you to see unnecessary formatting. This is especially useful for identifying extra spaces. See further Guidelines for Publication on the English Department web site on the use of spaces.
  6. Links can be added to your text by selecting the text you wish to make into a link and clicking the Chain (Insert/Edit link) icon. This will open a dialog box where you can type or paste the address of the web page you wish to link to. Note that all web addresses (URLs) should begin with http://. If you wish to open the web page in a new window, go to the Target pull-down menu and select Open in new window (_blank). (Note: It is a good idea to include "(opens in a new window)" in your text link.) Do not adjust any of the other settings. Most of the settings in the Popup, Events, and Advanced tabs create behaviors which may be inaccessible to some users. To edit a link, select the link text and click the Chain (Insert/Edit link) icon. To delete a link, click the Broken Chain (Unlink) icon.
  7. Anchors are invisible markers on the page to which you can link from elsewhere on the page. They are particularly useful for navigating around single web pages. If you have a particularly long page, you may wish to place at the top a list of links to anchors further down the page. To place an anchor, position the cursor at the point where you wish the anchor to be and click the Anchor (Insert/Edit anchor) icon. Give the anchor a name (normally something short with no spaces) and click Insert. A small anchor icon will appear in your text in the editor. However, it will not be visible on the published page (as you can see if you click Preview). Next select the text you wish to link to the anchor. Click the Chain (Insert/Edit link) icon. In the dialog box, select the name of the anchor from the Anchors menu and click Insert or Update. That link will now go directly to the point in your text where the anchor is placed.

List of Toolbar Icons and Their Functions

Button Name Function
Bold Bold Makes text appear in boldface.
Italic Italic Makes text appear in italics.
Underline Underline Underlines text. Note: Do not use for titles; use italics instead.
Format Format Provides a number of pre-set formats, including headings.
Cut Cut Cuts text to the computer's clipboard.
Copy Copy Copies text to the computer's clipboard.
Paste Paste Pastes text from the computer's clipboard to the editor. Keyboard shortcut is Control/Command+V.
Paste as Plain Text Paste as Plain Text Pastes text from the computer's clipboard to the editor without formatting codes.
Paste from Word Paste from Word Pastes Microsoft Word text from the computer's clipboard to the editor, converting Word's formatting to HTML.
Undo Undo Undoes the last action. Keyboard shortcut is Control/Command+Z.
Redo Redo Redoes an undone action. Keyboard shortcut is Control/Command+Y.
Find/Replace Find/Replace Searches for text and performs text replacement actions.
Unordered List Unordered (Bulleted) List Creates an unordered (bulleted) list.
Ordered List Ordered (Numbered) List Creates an ordered (numbered) list.
Subscript Subscript Subscripts the text.
Superscript Superscript Superscripts the text.
Indent Indent Indents the text to the right.
Outdent Outdent Outdents the text to the left.
Blockquote Blockquote Indents the text to the right. Blockquote should be used instead of Indent if the indented text is a quotation.
Insert/Edit Link Insert/Edit Link Opens a dialog box to insert or edit a link attached to the selected text.
Unlink Unlink Removes a link from the selected text.
Insert/Edit Anchor Insert/Edit Anchor Inserts an anchor.
Cleanup Messy Code Cleanup Messy Code Makes HTML Source Code Easier to Read
Edit HTML Source Edit HTML Source Toggles the editor between text and code views. Note: Edit the HTML source code only if you know what you are doing.
Select Text Color Select Text Color Selects the text color. Note: Use colors very sparingly. Using color to indicate meaning is not considered accessible.
Select Background Color Select Background Color Selects the text background color (highlights text). Note: Use colors very sparingly. Using color to indicate meaning is not considered accessible.
Remove Formatting Remove Formatting Removes all formatting from the selected text.
Insert Custom Character Insert Custom Character Opens a dialog box to insert non-keyboard characters (such as diacritics).
Horizontal Rule Horizontal Rule Inserts a horizontal rule (horizontal bar).
Toggle Fullscreen Mode Toggle Fullscreen Mode Toggles the editor between normal and fullscreen mode.
Preview Preview Opens a new window with a view of the edited text.
Visual Control Characters On/Off Visual Control Characters On/Off Highlights extra spaces, which should be removed.

Guidelines for Publication on the English Department Web Site menu

The English Department web site is a public web site; therefore, all material on the English Department web site is a publication. As an English Department, we have a mission to teach our students the importance of adhering to editing and formatting conventions in published writing, and this principle should also apply to our own web site. In the case of a web publication, failure to adhere to certain conventions may render the text inacessible to persons with disabilities, leaving the Department vulnerable to legal action. Beyond such considerations, adherence to a set of standard editing and formatting conventions provides the web site with a consistent look, creating a more attractive user experience.

The amount of content on the English Department web site is now so large that the web administrator can no longer serve as the editor for all material available. Allowing individual faculty and staff to post their own material to the web site makes the problem worse. Hence it is vitally important that each individual perform an editor's role for the material they submit by adhering to the guidelines below. In order to ensure that quality and consistency is maintained on the public web site, the web administrator reserves the right to delete material submitted by faculty or staff with or without informing them. You may avoid such circumstances by following the three principles below:

  1. Proofread all your materials and make sure they conform to standard English spelling, punctuation, and capitalization conventions. Treat your materials as professional publications. Observe other materials on the public web site and attempt to create a consistent look with them.
  2. Use a minimal amount of formatting. The more formatting you use, the less your materials will be consistent with the rest of the web site and the more you risk your content being inaccessible.
  3. Think vertical. Do not format things horizontally on the screen. In general, you may indent text to one level of indentation. Avoid centering text. If you have a lot of material, place at the top of your material a list of links to anchors further down the page.

Above all, remember that, if you do not take a little extra time to attend to the editing and formatting of your materials, you are transfering that burden to the web administrator. The small amount of time it takes you to edit your materials is miniscule compared to what happens when the web administrator has to do that for over a hundred people without reassigned time or compensation.

A list of more specific guidelines appears below:

Fonts, Styles, and Formatting

Word processors and the TinyMCE editor follow a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) principle. That is, text appears on the screen fully formatted. However, the text is stored and sent to the screen in the form of text enclosed in tags called markup tags. For instance, a word that appears in bold will may be stored as <b>bold</b>. Most word processors have their own sets of markup tags. Web browsers use a set of tags called HTML. When you view a web page, the tagged text is sent to your browser, which interprets the tagging and displays the formatted text according to pre-defined rules contained in something called a stylesheet. The English Department web site has its own stylesheet which determines the formatting of certain HTML tags. The most important are the font types and font sizes. In general, you should not try to adjust these. Letting the stylesheet determine the font type and size will ensure a consistent look on the web site.

Using Headings

Ideally, the markup on a web page will be semantic. That is, the markup tags will describe the meaning or function of the content they display. This is a basic principle for accessibility and an important one for keep the web site in compliance with the law. When using word processors, we often indicate section titles in our text by formatting the titles in bold, increasing the size, or both. These section titles are properly called headings, and there are special semantic HTML codes for them: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. Most stylesheets make the heading display in decreasing sizes from level 1. Where appropropiate, you should use headings in your text by selecting Heading 2, Heading 3, etc, instead of Paragraph from the Format menu in TinyMCE. The Department web site stylesheet uses Heading 1 and Heading 2, so choosing Heading 3 is a good place to start for your sub-sections. If you are pasting from a Word Processor, make sure that you make the appropriate changes.

Using Lists

Items that form part of a list should be coded as ordered (numbered) or unordered (bulleted) lists rather than separated by line breaks.

Bold, Italics, and Underline Formatting

Text should be put in boldface only for special emphasis, not for section headings. Italics should be used for regular emphasis, foreign words, and book titles. Never use underlining for titles (even the MLA has finally abandoned this legacy of the typewriter era). Underlining should be use sparingly, if at all. Using all capitals should be avoided (it is normally interpreted by the internet community as the equivalent of screaming).


You should rarely, if at all, change the color of your text, as this will adversely affect the consistency of the web site. Using colors can also render our content inaccessible.

Horizontal and Vertical Orientation

On the public English Department web site, your materials will appear in a narrow area which may get re-sized. As a result, it is a bad idea to try to space your text horizontally on the page. It is much better to lay it out vertically and let the user scroll down. This is also very important for accessibility, as it forces your content to read in a linear manner, as screen readers and other assistive technologies do.


A single space in HTML appears on the screen as a single space. So do two spaces. If you type five billion spaces into your text, it will only appear as a single space. This means that it is pointless to try to indent your text by typing multiple spaces. Use the indentation button on the toolbar in the editor instead. If you are pasting from a word processor, it is better not to indent at all and then take care of this after you have pasted your text. If you have been taught to type two spaces after the end of a sentence, you are wasting your time and finger energy, since only one space will appear. In fact, you should convert to using only a single space after the end of a sentence because this will provide consistency across the web site, decrease the amount of storage space needed in the database, and potentially make it easier to perform automatic changes to the text.

In HTML, it is possible to have two spaces in a row by inserting a "non-breaking space entity". This appears in the HTML code as &nbsp;. If you have pasted text which has two or more consecutive spaces into the TinyMCE editor, these may be interpreted as multiple non-breaking space entities and they should be eliminated. You can see if you have multiple consecutive spaces by clicking the Paragraph (Visual control characters on/off) icon in the TinyMCE toolbar.

Bibliographic References

References to publications (such as on the Publications panel of your profile) should be formatted according to the guidelines of an established style guide such as MLA, Chicago, APA, etc. The Department Guidelines do not prescribe which style you should use.


Generally, materials you post to the English Department web site should be no longer than one or two paragraphs. Profiles and course descriptions on the web site are intended to be general public access information. More detailed information should be placed on individuals' private web sites, course home pages, etc.


Repeated reference has been made to the necessity of ensuring that material published on the English Department web site is accessible to persons with disabilities. This is a legal requirement. Individuals submitting content to the English Department web site are personally responsible for ensuring that it is accessible prior to submission. Any materials not found to be accessible will be removed by the the web administrator. For more information on ensuring that your content is accessible, see the University's Accessible Technology Initiative Web Best Practices page.

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