Quick Guide: The Layout Tab
This guide assumes that you have created a Manifold account, have admin access to the backend, and have created a project. If you need to create an account or have your account upgraded, contact Matt Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “Layout” tab is a page in the backend of your Manifold project that allows you to design your project’s homepage. Homepages are composed of one or more “Content Blocks.” The top content block on all homepages is the “Hero Block,” which contains the title, a description, and other calls to action such as a “Start Reading” button. To learn more about the hero block, see the Quick Guide: Customizing Your Project’s Hero Block.
This guide explains what types of content blocks you can include below your Hero Block and how to configure them using the Layout tab. You can include as many or as few content blocks as you wish. After creating your project, the layout tab will be pre-populated with some content blocks based on your answers to the questions that were asked when creating your project. These are the content blocks that we thought would most likely serve the type of project you are creating; however, you can always add or remove any content blocks you wish to have on your home page.
To get to the backend of your project, go to cuny.manifoldapp.org. If you’re not logged in already, log in by clicking on the avatar in the upper right hand corner of the screen, and then click on “Enter Admin Mode” at the top of the screen. If you do not see “Enter Admin Mode,” contact Matt Gold to have your account upgraded. Once you have entered Admin Mode, click on the title of the project whose homepage you would like to design. This will bring you to the backend of your project. Access the Layout tab by clicking on “Layout” in the menu that appears along the left side of the page.
Then, scroll down to the “Content Blocks” section. Below “Blocks,” you can see the different options for the types of blocks that can be added to your homepage. Below “Layout” are the content blocks that will appear on your project’s homepage. You can add and remove content blocks to the Layout area and drag and drop to rearrange their order.
There are six different kinds of content blocks:
- Recent Activity
- Table of Contents
Markdown is a markup language, and a markdown content block allows you to enter in blocks of text. A markdown block can be used to add instructions, an assignment, or other information you would like to include on your home page.
To add a Markdown block, drag and drop the Markdown tile into position in the “Layout” section and click on the plus sign. Enter text into the Body field. This field can be formatted to include headings, italics, and bold text with basic Markdown syntax. You can choose if you would like the block to appear normal or shaded by clicking on the radio dials that appear below Style.
Note that a project can have multiple markdown blocks if desired.
The Metadata block will display the metadata that is entered into your project’s Metadata menu. The project’s metadata cannot be edited from this page, but you can choose whether or not to display it on your homepage by adding or removing it from the Layout section of this page. In most cases, we recommend including the metadata on your homepage.
The Recent Activity block lists the last six activity records for the project. Activities show as tiles indicating when Tweets, Texts, or Resources are added to a project. This block is useful for projects that will change frequently or that you expect to have an active life on social media. If you don’t expect much activity other than annotations on your project once it’s been made, it’s probably best not to include the recent activity block on your homepage.
Activity records can be managed in the project’s Activity menu. If a project contains more than six activity records, users will be shown a button that links to the full, paginated list of activity on a separate screen.
The Resources Block displays a teaser of the ten most recently updated resources on a project, accompanied by a link to the resource library for the project. You can add resources and create resource collections in the Resource menu. There, you can organize resources into resource collections by text, text section, or unit. You can then embed resources into your text as annotated resources, so that each resource will display both in the resources block on your homepage as well as anchored to a place in the text.
If you won’t be adding resources to your project, it’s best not to include the resource block.
Table of Contents
The Table of Contents Block renders the table of contents for a specific text in the project. This block is especially useful for projects that only have one text.
In order for the Table of Contents to display on your homepage, drag and drop the Table of Contents tile into position in the “Layout” section. Then, click the plus sign that appears on the tile. This will open a shelf where you can configure the Table of Contents Block. You will be asked to enter in:
The Title field allows users to customize the name of the content block. By default it will render as Table of Contents.
This dropdown lists all the texts loaded to the project. Select the text whose Table of Contents you want to display in the block. Even if there is only one text loaded to the project, you will still need to select it from the dropdown.
For tables of content that have nested entries, you can decide to which depth of nesting the system should render in the block. The default is six.
- Show Text Title?
Toggling this field on will add the title of the selected text beneath the title of the block. This is unnecessary if your project only has one text.
Note: A project can have multiple tables of contents for each text in a project.
The Text Block lists some or all texts associated with the project. The texts that are included in the list can be filtered to only include texts from one or more categories. The block can be configured to include or exclude author names, subtitles, dates, descriptions, and cover images in the output. The list can also be configured to group texts by category. If your project will only have one text, a Text Block is generally not necessary to include in the project’s homepage.
You can modify the following settings for a Text block in the backend. Depending on which settings are toggled on/off, different elements within the block may move to better serve visual comprehension of the page.
The title of the block as a whole can be customized. If left blank, the text block will default to having Texts as its title.
The text-block description provides a space to contextual the texts being viewed in the block and will be of particular use when more than one text block is being employed, helping distinguish their contents from one another.
- Show Author Names?
When it’s important to surface a text’s author, especially for journals, group student projects, OER, and course packets, toggle this slide to its active state. The names here will mirror those shown on the text’s People menu.
- Show Subtitles?
If this slider is toggled on, any subtitle associated with a text, as shown in the text’s General menu will appear to the right of the main title.
- Show Dates?
A text block can display the date when a particular text was added to the project or last updated on the system. This will be useful in the classroom setting and when working on projects collaboratively. The load/update date is not an editable field and is not to be confused with a text’s publication date.
- Show Uncategorized Texts?
This field depends upon how the texts are grouped. In the text block, uncategorized texts are treated differently from those that are categorized. When this slider is toggled active, uncategorized texts will appear beneath a header reading Uncategorized, regardless of whether you have the Show Category Labels toggle active.
- Show Descriptions?
When toggled on, the Show Descriptions slider will pull the text’s description as entered in the text’s General menu and include it beneath its title listing in the block. These will be especially useful for journals or edited collections.
- Show Cover Images?
For texts loaded in the EPUB format, this toggle allows an editor to control whether the icon for the text in this block list view is the default Manifold icon for texts (a stack of papers) or if the EPUB cover renders. When toggled active, Manifold will show the cover as defined in the EPUB.
- Show Category Labels?
This field depends on how a project’s texts are grouped. When toggled active, texts that are grouped within a category (not counting those grouped as “Uncategorized”) will appear in the text block along with their category name. This field can be further modified by the Categories dropdown.
This field works in tandem with how a project’s texts are grouped. Using the “Add a Category” dropdown, an editor can choose which custom text categories render in the block. Thus instructor can employ more than one text block, each showing only certain categories.