Sites@Duke: How to re-use course sites from a previous semester

Because of the special URLs Duke WordPress course sites creates (course_section_term – for example, environ300_10_f2011), it usually makes more sense to start a new course site each semester. However, some sites might contain content or conversations that a faculty member wants to share with a new set of students. The following options might help with re-using WP content:

Option 1: Create a new course site and copy the material over

  • Follow the instructions to create a course site for this semester-now. Leave that site alone for a moment.
  • In your ‘old’ course site, go to the Dashboard view, click Tools and then ‘Export’. Choose ‘All Content’ and click Download Export File. This should drop an XML file on your computer (in a downloads folder, on your desktop, or wherever your browser is set to download files to).
  • In your NEW site, go to the Dashboard, click Tools and click Import. Choose ‘WordPress‘. Choose your file that you just downloaded to your computer and click ‘Upload file and import’.

Caveats: WordPress doesn’t really make an exact copy of everything from your previous site -it only brings over the text, images and links. You’ll have to do some housekeeping on your new site. For example, you’ll probably want to change the theme to the same one you previously used, and probably check your ‘widgets’ to make sure you have the same ones.

Option 2: Add your new students to the current course (even though it has last year’s URL, etc)

This would be the simpler option. Faculty can actually add other student enrollments to an existing course site using the Duke Toolkits tool. See the page on combining multiple enrollments to learn how.

Caveats: you’ll have the same URL with the old term designation. Your students from the previous semester will also still have access to the site. If you don’t want your students from last semester to add anything to the site – just make them all ‘subscribers’ in the site prior to adding the new students. That way the posts your previous students wrote will still be properly attributed – and they’ll still be able to see them – but they won’t be able to write new posts on your site.

Article number: KB0025517

Valid to: July 9, 2025