Hello Emerson! I am excited to be writing my first blog as the newest member of ITG. Last month I attended NERCOMP’s conference on WordPress. Panelists, including ITG’s own Monty Kaplan, shared their college’s WordPress initiatives.
Although there was a lot of tech jargon, there were also great examples of effective pedagogy using WordPress. Here are a few key points that resonated with me from Baynard Bailey’s presentation, “WordPress in Teaching and Learning”:
- Blogs are a great way to support active learning. In addition to discovering how a widely-used blogging platform works, students are also reflecting on their individual learning process and making the content their own.
- Grading blogs can be an easy way to get students motivated and engaged—just be sure that you are clear about your expectations. If this is a direction you’d like to go in, you may want to check out Mark Sample’s ProfHacker post, “A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs.”
- Vary posts and comments. In addition to encouraging students to comment on each others’ posts, choose a few posts each week that you will comment on. This shows students that you are engaged and interested in what they have to say.
- Consider alternating when students submit their posts so that not everyone is posting at once. If you have a large course or are covering a lot of content, this allows you and your students more time to read posts and write more meaningful comments.
- If it makes sense for your class content, have students write for a broader audience. Students tend to get excited and more aware of their writing when they know the outside world is reading it. It also builds awareness around how to write for different audiences and how to establish an online presence. See Educause‘s “7 Things You Should Know about WordPress.”
- WordPress is an extremely powerful tool. Don’t feel limited to a generic blog. There are a variety of genres to choose from – travel blogs, personal blogs, review blog, news blogs, etc. WordPress can also be a great tool for digital portfolios, collective research logs, or a basic Web site.
For more tips on Word Press in Teaching and Learning, check out Baynard Bailey’s “10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Blog.”
Baynard Bailey, “10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Blog.”
Educause, “7 Things You Should Know about WordPress.”
Mark Sample, “A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs.”