While 25% of new websites registered in the USA use WordPress , its uptake at universities isn’t anywhere near as high. Yet WordPress, used almost always as a synonym for blogging, does offer the academy, and academics in general, a route into new, unexplored online territories. For starters, we see mention of WordPress to run MOOCs and for Digital Humanities projects and in the wider world, open access publishing. These innovative uses of WordPress continue to this day. As WordPress remains ever-present across the web and its use in academia grows, how do we create a community or a culture around this software which is so flexible? With WordPress being so flexible, how would anyone know where to start?
Many WordPress.com links provide the basis for funded projects and personal websites, however self-hosted wordpress.org sites don’t have to WordPress in the URL, and so remain discoverable to those largely in the know. Consequently best practice, or even guidance on WordPress is hard to find, especially when compared to the abundance of support and information for services such as twitter. Whereas in the modern age we expect everything internet to go viral, does WordPress still travel by word of mouth? What unlocked potential is there for WordPress in higher education?
To start to bridge these gaps and help foster an educationally focussed WordPress community of practice Natalie Lafferty and Pat Lockley are working to develop PressED. PressED is a twitter conference on the use of WordPress in teaching, learning and research being held on 29th March. Over two years ago, a plan for a WordPress conference was mooted (and whilst many WordCamps exist) nothing with an “educational” focus existed (wpcampus now runs as well). To overcome issues with funding, finding a venue and a time to suit an ever-busy academy, PressED is holding the conference on twitter (very much borrowing this idea from the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference whose website is, you’ve guessed it, is on WordPress.Com)
You may have seen WordPress dot com links over twitter bios and personal profiles, you may have seen or heard of “Domain of one’s own” amongst many of the WordPress projects currently running in the academy.
Join us to discuss how learning happens outside the Virtual Learning Environment and Learning Management System.