Teaching with WordPress & the CUNY Academic Commons

Join staff from the Teaching and Learning Center for a workshop on how to teach with WordPress. WordPress is a web-based publishing platform that, when used in college courses, can facilitate a variety of writing and multi-modal assignments and can help faculty harness the power of networks in and across their teaching. WordPress seamlessly integrates a variety of web applications in ways that empower students and instructors to take full advantage of the open web, while also offering granular privacy and design controls that allow educators to build the kinds of digital teaching and learning spaces they want.

The CUNY Academic Commons, a WordPress teaching and learning platform based at the Graduate Center, is being used by faculty in a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses across CUNY. Courses can be hosted on the Commons via a course website, a course group, or both. Sites and groups offer varying affordances that will facilitate different pedagogical approaches. Faculty have used WordPress/CUNY Commons in place of and in conjunction with Blackboard.

The workshop will cover the basics of setting up a site and a BuddyPress group, and introduce several examples of how courses have leveraged the flexibility of WordPress and Commons in the past. The workshop will also include time to brainstorm ways to engage the core functionality of WordPress in our own classes to create assignments that can stimulate richer classroom discussion, more lively writing from students, and deeper engagement with course concepts.

This workshop is geared towards all levels of WordPress skill and experience. Although we encourage both WordPress novices to attend, some knowledge of the platform will be beneficial to the workshop experience.  If you’re new to WordPress or the Commons, you can consult the robust help section on the Commons, watch their video tour, or sign up for an account.

If you’re interested in learning more about approaches to educational technology, please review the TLC’s Handbook and Educational Technology Guide. If you need more hands-on technical assistance with WordPress, you’ll have the opportunity to follow up with TLC and CUNY Academic Commons staff in the weeks after the workshop.

Teaching with WordPress and CUNY Academic Commons workshops were offered in the Fall of 2016 and the Spring of 2018 and 2020. These workshops were developed Laurie Hurson (2018-2020) and Andrew Mckinney (2016).

Workshop Materials

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans and slides, and CUNY Academic Commons Documentation.

Materials: Teaching with WordPress and the CUNY Academic Commons Folder

Fall 2016 Workshop Plan

6:30:-6:45 Introductions of participants and staff,  getting set-up with laptops, basic questions about participant’s familiarity with WordPress and using blogging or web-based technology in their classrooms.

6::45-:7:00 Basic overview of core WP functionality pages/posts, categories and tags, custom menus, widgets. Explanation of what a plug-in is. If group is mainly familiar with WP, then this can be skipped.

7:00-7:30 Discussion of why one would use WordPress as a platform for teaching, examples of basic WordPress functionality being used for innovative assignment design

  • Discussion one to many or many to many types of communication, what to keep in mind when you’re using your wordpress as a static site, examples of interesting uses of one to many sites that don’t just serve as material dumps
  • Discussion of many to many communication
    • Issues to discuss include: privacy, low stakes vs. high stakes, the need for clear goals, scaffolding, putting students in roles, having appropriate expectations depending on your own expertise, copyright

7:30-7:45 The Game

7:45-8:15 Sayback & discussion of how to implement

8:15-8:30 Wrap-up, survey, next steps