Have we put online education in a box?
Many learning management systems are completely closed so that they shut out the rest of the world from entering our virtual classrooms. Participants within a single course can interact with other participants to some degree, but anyone outside that specific section of the box is simply locked out. No experts in the field, no practitioners, no fellow instructors in a program, no past students…no one gets inside the box except the instructor and the students. Nothing gets out either.
The box seems to hold on to our curricular materials and learning artifacts. Once the course is over, students no longer have access to the materials that the instructor has developed. No body of knowledge is built between cohorts, and no knowledge is shared with the rest of the world.
Of course, we have to be very, very careful about issues of security, privacy and FERPA regulations, but what if we could find a way to safely think outside the box?
One possible solution would be to safely incorporate external systems like WordPress as an outside component of an online environment.
As a case in point, undergraduate journalism students at UNLV are using contemporary blogging tools to explore digital-age news gathering and broadcasting techniques with the multisite capabilities of WordPress 3 and the community building features of the BuddyPress plugin.
The combination of these technologies allows communication and collaboration through online chat, blog commenting, peer evaluation, group development and threaded discussion.
Learn how you can develop an open, accessible learning environment by integrate a WordPress blogging system with BuddyPress to encourage a community of learning with a variety of useful educational plug-ins including wikis, group photo albums, assignment management, calendars, gradebook, and more.
Perhaps it’s time to consider thinking outside the box.
- Collaboration across geographical regions and cultures
- Peer evaluation
- Guest speakers/Practitioners
- Learning artifact perseverance
- Long-term community development
- 7 things you should know about blogging (Educause)
Features of WordPress Multiuser blogging and BuddyPress
- Full range of editing tools
- Complete media library
- Image uploading and editing
- Main blog for the course/instructor
- Comments or questions from students
- Individual blogs for students
- Design templates
- Comment moderation
- Adjustable privacy settings
- Spam filters
- Site statistics
- RSS feeds
- Open source development community
- Rapid updates
- Additional functionality through plugins
- Group collaboration through wikis
- Welcome customization
- Social Media Widgets
- BuddyPress plugin
- Profiles with avatars
- Activity streams
- Member lists
- Who’s Online
- Photo albums
- Instant messaging
- Interactive Media Design blogging system
- WordPress Plugins
Who is using WordPress in Higher Education?
- Using blogging for higher order learning in large cohort university teaching: A case study
- Using WordPress: the Perspective of a Novice
- Course Design for Using Weblogs in Higher Education
- WordPress as a Mobile Learning Environment
- Establishing a mobile blog system in a distance education environment
- The Open Ed Tech: Never Mind the Edupunks
- Mobile Blogging System
- The Corkboard – “WordPress as LMS”
- Developing BuddyPress for education
- WordPress as a Learning Management System – Move Over, Blackboard
- Idea for roll-your-own LMS
- Momentum for WP as LMS building
- Alternate Worlds: Teaching with an “Open LMS”
- Alternate Worlds Part 2: The Class Begins
- 100 Best Professors Who Blog
- Open System, Open Learning – WordCamp Chicago 2010
- Crossing Web Boundaries with WordPress
- Using WordPress To Share Research
- Using WordPress for a Course Website
- ScholarPress Presentation at WordCampEd Northeast 2009
- WordPress as a CMS in Education
- Trends and Impacts of E-Learning 2.0
- A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs – Chronicle of Higher Education
- A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs – University of Wisconsin – Stout
WordPress, research, and scholarly publishing
“Use the power of WordPress to transform online content into an electronic book.”
- Scholarly publishing with WordPress
Please feel free to offer your comments on the use of WordPress and the BuddyPress plugin for education below.
Additional resources relevant to these topics are extremely welcome! 🙂