WordPress is an open-source content management system for blogging and website creation. WordPress is part of Colgate Domains, which provides faculty with a hosted space on the web and as well as digital tools for creating websites. Blog “posts” are published to the site in chronological order, but blogging as a genre can take many narrative forms (personal reflection, synthesis of online resources, scholarly writing and other creative work). Blogs can be spaces for informal or formal writing, and the capacity of blogs to support multiple forms of media (images, videos, links) can help bring creativity to communication.
- Blogs can provide faculty with flexible opportunities for publishing to the web, and they can engage students in generating content related to course projects and activities.
- Using already designed themes within WordPress, you can create elegant sites that allow you to focus on creating the content.
- Sites created with WordPress are extensible through the use of a variety of plug-ins to customize functionality of the site (e.g. using TimelineJS to create interactive timelines).
- Think of WordPress as an academic publishing platform that provides faculty and students with a space to connect their thinking to other resources found on the web and to integrate various media (e.g. images, video) into their writing.
- Blogs include the option for including commenting and discussion, enabling students to engage their ideas in conversation with others, either within their local learning communities or on the open web. (Commenting and discussion can be disabled if desired).
- Showcase student work and projects.
- Create a platform for engaging audiences in the student work and ideas.
- Design an assignment that encourages meta-cognitive thinking, or “thinking about thinking,” in which students write blog posts to help them reflect on their learning journey in your course.
- Use a course blog as an alternative form of academic publishing by leveraging the functionality of a blog post. Have students publish their academic research as “posts” to the blog. Invite scholars or colleagues in a relevant field to comment on students’ work.
Example course blogs from Colgate faculty
- SOCI 369: Women, Health & Medicine (Professor Meika Loe): After the transition to remote teaching in spring 2020, students wrote reflective blog posts about their quarantine experience. Students were encouraged to share the course blog with family and friends. Former students in the course, and public health students from SUNY Albany also contributed to the site. (View the “Caring for Eachother Under Quarantine” site and read more about the course blog).
- ECON 233: Economics of Immigration (Professor Nicole Simpson): Over the course of the semester, students wrote three media reports connecting current news articles about immigration to topics covered in class. Students integrated feedback before Professor Simpson posted their media reports to the course site. Students were encouraged to share their published posts in their social media networks. (Check out the “Economics of Immigration” course blog).
- PSYC 342: Close Relationships (Professor Jen Tomlinson): Students wrote blog posts in the style of popular magazine articles that synthesized scientific research on “Close Relationships” for a public audience. Students were also required to comment on their peers’ posts. (View the “Close Relationships” blog).
- THEA/ENGL 349: Global Theater (Professor Christian DuComb): Students published their research papers as “posts” on the shared course site. The site includes student research from multiple semesters and serves as a public resource on the web of performing artists and performance traditions that aren’t covered in detail elsewhere on the web. (View the “Global Theater” site and read more about the assignment).
- Read The Public Necessity of Student Blogging by T. Holland, in Hybrid Pedagogy, or A. Galarza’s Develop and Implement a Course Blog, from Inside Higher Ed..
- A. Levine’s How to Blog Like a Digital Alchemy Champion offers guidance on how to craft a good blog post.