WordPress for Reflecting, Creating, Sharing, and Contributing

Karen Gonzalez Rice demonstrating her students' digital exhibition.
Karen Gonzalez Rice demonstrating her students’ digital exhibition at the visualization wall.

WordPress is an easy-to-use, yet robust, blogging and website development platform. The College now hosts WordPress, giving you and your students the ability to create professional-looking websites on the conncoll.edu domain that have the potential to reach well beyond the classroom.

Last week in our Teaching with Technology workshop we described WordPress’s many functions and provided examples of sites created by students as part of course assignments. We heard from two faculty members, Sufia Uddin and Karen Gonzalez Rice, about their very different pedagogical uses of the platform. Following are examples that demonstrate the wide variety of ways that WordPress has already been used on our campus.

  • Reflecting on and connecting course content.
    A natural fit for WordPress is as a blog, which is how Sufia Uddin used it with her students. Each student’s blog served as a repository of work, class notes, reflections, and ideas. Based on student feedback, she found that the blog pushed students to conduct research on their own outside of class, helped them make connections, and aided in their intellectual growth as they reflected on their work throughout the semester.
  • Creating digital exhibitions.
    Karen Gonzalez Rice uses WordPress as a platform for digital exhibitions, and shared examples of individual student work and a class exhibition. For the class exhibition, project goals were to have students interact with lesser-known works of art and to apply art historical knowledge to unfamiliar artists and works. In moving the exhibition online, she preserved the major goals of the original analog/physical project but the digital exhibit afforded her and her students more time to spend on research, writing (and much re-writing), and exploring the relationships between the works. The result is an online artifact available to the world that also promotes one of the very special and unique collections at Connecticut College.
  • Communicating an argument using multiple media.
    If you read this blog regularly, you’ll remember that Leo Garofalo used WordPress in a Sophomore Research Seminar. Student groups created sites that communicated the argument, using visual and textual evidence, that the Mashantucket-Pequot museum is a decolonized museum. The sites will be used in future seminars as jumping off points for students to continue this work, and to apply it to other museums. Students carefully selected templates in WordPress that allowed them to incorporate the many textual and multimedia components they needed to make their arguments.
  • Demonstrating expertise through digital portfolios.
    Students seeking a Connecticut Teacher Certification must complete digital teaching portfolios. For the third semester, our student teachers used WordPress to create their portfolios. WordPress is flexible enough for students to include the many required components and it also provides visibility options that protect the sites.

You may have also noticed that the Connections and the Mellon Initiative on Global Education sites are both created with WordPress. If you are interested in exploring WordPress as a pedagogical tool or otherwise, contact your instructional technology liaison.


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