I’ve just added this to the installation info on charrette.ws, but it’s worth repeating: be sure to limit discussions to registered users. This way, you won’t have to worry about comment spam. It also encourages your class to be logged in, which encourages more activity. At right is what my discussion settings look like in the Settings>Discussion area of the WordPress backend:
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.