Last week I attended a Nercomp event on WordPress in the Liberal Arts in Norwood, MA and participated in a panel on WordPress themes and plugins with colleagues from the College of Wooster and Abilene Christian University. About 45 people attended, most from institutions that were already using WordPress. Many of these same institutions were also using Moodle and Drupal.
WordPress is used by many for course sites. Abilene Christian University has integrated it with Banner making it easy for their faculty to create class blogs that automatically include students. The College of Wooster has an instance of WordPress referred to as Voices, that includes BuddyPress and bbPress, popular WordPress plugins and associated platforms that add functionality for creating groups and forums and aggregating activity streams across various sites. Mark Frydenberg from Bentley University teaches his students how to maintain a WordPress site, requiring each student to take on the role of site administrator and tasking them with changing the site theme, adding plugins and managing roles.
Some institutions are using WordPress for e-portfolios. Macaulay Honors College has over 1,500 sites in EPorfolios@Macaulay, which also makes use of BuddyPress to create various groups that they plan to include in their upcoming WordPress student portal, My.Macaulay. Some institutions even use WordPress for the college website including Bates, Lafayette and Wheaton.
The Curricular Technology team has organized a number of workshops on the Course Hub, Moodle and WordPress which have been very well attended and have provided us with great feedback.
We have also just scheduled a number of work sessions next week, specifically for faculty and staff who have already started to create sites in these new platforms and have specific questions or just want to collaborate with colleagues and LIS staff. Here’s the schedule of these new work sessions:
WordPress and Moodle are the primary alternatives to Segue for course sites at Middlebury. A number of workshops have been scheduled on how to use WordPress for course sites and how it is integrated with the Course Hub.
11:00 am -12:00 pm, Wednesday, August 31, Library 105
The Curricular Technology (CT) team will be organizing workshops this summer on new technologies for teaching, learning and research including the new Course Hub and the Moodle learning management system (LMS). The first series of these workshops will be offered next week. Here are details:
Curricular Technology Platforms Overview
1:00 – 2:00 pm, Tues, June 21, Library 105
This workshop will give an overview of the platforms that will be available in the next academic year for creating course websites including the Course Hub, Moodle and WordPress. For more information on the Course Hub, which will become the definitive starting point for all online course resources, see: The Course Hub > About
2-3:30 pm, Weds, June 22, Library 105
This workshop will introduce Moodle, one of the platforms that will replace Segue for creating course sites. For more information on Moodle, see: Moodle @ Middlebury
1-2:30 pm, Fri, June 24, Library 105
This workshop will introduce WordPress, another platform that can be used as a replacement for Segue for creating course sites. For more information on WordPress, see: WordPress @ Middlebury
To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.
To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments. Continue reading →
Today we released a new plugin for WordPress that allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds of private blogs using any RSS reader.
When you are logged in and viewing a private blog, the RSS feed links will now contain a special key unique to you and the blog that gives your reader access to the feed. There is nothing special you need to do, just subscribe as usual and feeds from private blogs will now work without redirecting your reader to the login page.
During the past few years new versions of WordPress have made this system much easier to use — and our community has made use of these new abilities to make a wide range of sites structured in many ways.
Most of the content in WordPress sites are Posts, chronologically ordered entries that make up a ‘blog’ or news site. Pages on the other hand, are non-time-dependent content that can be arranged in a hierarchy. Traditionally, Pages in WordPress sites were used mostly for describing the blog, contact information, or other content that rarely changes and isn’t ‘newsworthy’. (more on Posts vs. Pages)
Recently, a number of sites have been making increasingly large use of Pages, such as to hold curricular resources that are then referenced from Posts describing assignments that use them. For sites that make significant use of Pages, site-owners can now enable the RSS Includes Pages plugin so that new pages are added to your site’s main feed. For course sites in WordPress, enabling this plugin will allow page additions to be fed into the Course Hub as updates.
We still recommend making use of Posts in WordPress sites to share new material with readers rather than heavily using Pages as Pages are still second-class citizens in many ways (such as support for tagging and categorization). With the new RSS Includes Pages plugin, Page-heavy sites can now feed new content to the Course Hub and others subscribed to their feeds.