I am new to the system and am unclear on how to change the verbage as well as the overall look of the site. I have tried using Dreamweaver, but it’s mainly just code
You need to edit the portal templates. They are PHP and HTML, you can read how to safely modify templates here: http://www.userscape.com/helpdesk/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=9
Dreamweaver is fine to use, but you can’t use the visual editing mode you can only use the code mode. If you know HTML you should be able to find your way around pretty good.