Avatars are used along with nicknames to identify users of the site. Students need to only set up a Gravatar once and it follows them around whenever they register with the same email address. Students may add multiple email addresses and avatars.
Avatars are cropped into a circle on the site, but should be uploaded as a rectangle.
Wordpress puts a lot of default widgets into Sidebar 1 after installation. Go to Appearance>Widgets to customize. The Categories widget is useful in Sidebar 1, most others can go in Sidebar2 or not be used.
This is the tagline in the Settings>General Settings area in the Wordpress backend. Write something about your course.
Text Widget in Sidebar 2
There are two sidebars in the theme. Sidebar 2 appears at bottom and takes up to 5 widgets.