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WordPress

You can carve out a little space of the Internet for your own use without Web design coding skills. WordPress enables you to create a website or blog with a minimum amount of effort.

wordpress logo
What is WordPress? There are actually TWO versions of WordPress:

  1. WordPress.com: A place to create a blog. No coding or Web design needed. Sign up. Start blogging.
  2. WordPress.org: A global organization of developers who support an open source set of code that can be downloaded and used to design and publish your own custom-made website. Which is the one you need? If you are just starting out, then go for the first one: WordPress.com

Why would you need WordPress? WordPress enables your students’ learning experience to overflow the containers of your course into the public sphere. Your blog is available to be seen by anyone on the Internet. It is the single most popular platform for blogging and websites. It is easy to learn and there are zillions of resources you can find online if you need help. WordPress is the foundation for PressBooks.com, an eBook platform. If you can learn how to use WordPress, you can make your own eBooks!

How are faculty using WordPress? A blog that accompanies a course (or series of courses) can add a sense of community to the participants of a given program and help emerging practitioners form their identity within a communitty of practice.


The WordPress.com Recipe

  1. Go to WordPress.com and sign up for a blog.
  2. Go to the dashboard and click on the Posts menu item. Type content into a post, style it, and publish it.
  3. Want to add more contributors? Just add more Users. All you need is their email address. You can set limits to what they can do in your blog.

There is a wide variety of themes, or “skins”, that you can select in the Appearance menu so that your content displays in a nice layout. Changing themes is non-destructive, so you can change your mind and try different themes until your heart is content.

The Bottom Line: Learning how to use WordPress opens up a wide range of possibilities for you to publish content online for your teaching and learning needs. At some point, you may wish to do a more customized version of a blog where you have more control over the features, functions, designs, and plugins.

When WordPress.com becomes too limited for your needs, you can migrate your blog to a self-hosted blog using the core WordPress.org system. Every major website hosting service offers WordPress support to get you started, including “one-click” installation features. Your old WordPress.com content can be easily migrated into your self-hosted blog.

Considerations to ask about:  WordPress offers a very wide range of add-on capabilities and setup options. While it is easy to open a WordPress.com account, be sure to bring in an experienced person to help set it up so that your content is presented with the best visual appeal and the right account settings for sharing.

From the teaching kitchen of Steve Covello, Granite State College (USNH)

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