Social Media & Blogging: WordPress

WordPress allows you to create open, connected spaces for student learning and engagement, beyond the confines of the VLE. WordPress can be used to support teaching, learning and assessment in face-to-face, blended, and online modules.

Digital communication, collaboration and creation are core elements of the Digital Capability framework, and YSJ now has an updated installation of WordPress, meaning all staff and students have the ability to (individually or collaboratively) create websites and blogs!

Visit our WordPress webpage (https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/add/tel/wordpress/) to read up on our WordPress Terms of Use, as well as how to request a blog/site for academics, students, schools, departments, and research groups. Learn how to create and publish posts and pages; customise your site with themes, widgets, and custom menus; and extend WordPress even further with plugins.

Some of the ways in which blogs can be used in Teaching, Learning & Assessment include:

  • Online learning spaces – as a supplement or even alternative (ooh, controversial) to Moodle
  • Collaborative class websites & blogs
  • Online textbooks / class publications
  • Online Portfolios / reflective writing
  • Collaborative authoring or assessment
  • Placement journals
  • Commentary and Expert Analysis
  • News and Announcements
  • Supporting Research Projects
  • Soft marketing tool – share course insights to prospective students & parents
  • Create websites for clubs, students groups, events, sports teams or just about any other type of group

Technology Enhanced Learning Quality Framework

Below are some examples of how WordPress can be used in conjunction with the 3E element of the TEL Quality Framework:

Enhance

Adopting technology in simple and effective ways to actively support students and increase their activity and self-responsibility.

Extend

Further use of technology that facilitates key aspects of students’ individual and collaborative learning and assessment through increasing their choice and control.

Empower

Developed use of technology that requires higher order individual and collaborative learning that reflect how knowledge is created and used in professional environments.

Ask students to create a blog to reflect on their learning journey, or on their work placement. Have students write guest posts for a collaborative class blog, and encourage students to comment on or peer review posts. Allow students to plan, create, and share a website or blog related to their specific research questions, interests, or projects.

Using Themes and Plugins

Themes control the appearance of your WordPress site on the front-end, so what people see when they visit your site. At YSJ, WordPress websites come with certain pre-installed Themes available for any sites to use.

Themes decide how your content is presented on the front end of your WordPress site. Plugins are extensions that quite literally plug in to WordPress to add new features and new functionality. While WordPress is great and powerful out of the box, with plugins, you can make WordPress into so much more. They range from simple, like adding image galleries, to the complex like turning WordPress into a social network.

The downside to plugins is that there are so many of them and many plugins do the exact same thing just in slightly different ways. So, here at YSJ, WordPress websites come with certain pre-installed Plugins available for any sites to use (see our WordPress webpages for help with each one: https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/add/tel/wordpress/).

Getting Help with WordPress

If you’re new to WordPress or the University blogs, there are a few ways that you can find help and support:

Online

Lynda.com Videos

In Person

  • Support, and basic training in the use of Blogs, for students and professional services, will be provided by DigitalTraining@yorksj.ac.uk.
  • Pedagogic advice and guidance for academics on using Blogs for learning, teaching and assessment, will be provided by TEL@yorksj.ac.uk.
  • University Website Policies & Guidelines, including Branding Guidelines, also apply to Blogs, relevant support and customisation is available from website@yorksj.ac.uk.

Do you use WordPress (or another blogging platform) for teaching, learning and assessment? What about for sharing your research? Would you like help in getting started? Contact TEL@yorksj.ac.uk or leave a reply in the comments below!

Phil

Phil Vincent

Phil’s focus is to work across Faculties to support the implementation of the Academic Strategy, and in particular contribute to the effective development and implementation of technology enhanced learning.

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