Using WordPress Blogs for Teaching and Learning

What are easy tools to create personal or professional blogs and portfolios online? WordPress is a ready-to-use self-hosting blogging tool with numerous plugins and themes available.

First, blogs enable both faculty and students to publish thoughts, comments, images, links to other sites and multimedia through a blog post, which consists of a title, a publication timestamp, an article body and is often tagged by one or more categories (Rollett, Lux, Strohmaier, Dösinger & Tochtermann, 2007). Blogs have frequent updates (at least once a month) and posts that are displayed in descending chronological order.

Second, why use blogs for teaching and learning? Blogs have the potential to 1) increase online social interaction (Beldarrain, 2006); 2) promote students’ analytical skills and critical thinking (Oravec, 2002); and 3) improve student-teacher relationships (Ferdig & Trammel, 2004) in both small and large classrooms.

Last, Purdue supports two blog platforms. Bb Blog is embedded within the BlackBoard Learning Management System. The other one is WordPress. Here is a detailed comparison between WordPress and Blackboard Learn Blog: http://www.itap.purdue.edu/learning/innovate/hdiseries/bbvwp.html

Here are some use cases of WordPress for teaching and learning on campus:

  • Students set up WordPress blogs/Portfolios to write reflections on seven cases in the class and provide comments. – Professor Abdelfattah Nour in Basic Medical Sciences 
  • Display and archive students’ projects. – Associate Professor John Lumkes in Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Students set up WordPress blogs/Portfolios to document scientific investigation in the discovery learning activities. – Associate Professor Kari Clase in Technology, Leadership and Innovation

If you are interested in more information about integrating WordPress blogs into teaching and learning, please contact us at tlt-consulting@purdue.edu.

References:

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139–53.

Ferdig, R. E. & Trammell, K. D. (2004). Content delivery in the ‘Blogosphere’. Technological Horizons in Education.

Oravec, J. (2002). Bookmarking the world: Weblog applications in education. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 45(7), 616-621.

Rollett, H., Lux, M., Strohmaier, M., Dösinger, G., & Tochtermann, K. (2007). The web 2.0 way of learning with technologies. International Journal of Learning Technology, 3(1), 87–107.

Wei Liu Zakharov, PhD
Educational Technologist

About Wei Zakharov

Wei Liu Zakharov is a Senior Educational Technologist from Instructional Development Center at Purdue University. I received my Ph.D in Learning Design & Technology and have over 10 years of experience in: educational uses of instructional media and emerging technologies, flipped/hybrid/online courses design and development, faculty professional development, research and grant writing.
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