Author Archives: cindyu

Week 2: Summary

This week brought new participants and more great sharing of examples of courses built on WordPress:
* Chris Lott’s graduate course on Digital Literacy & Intellectual Property.
* Tom Woodward’s examples of making things work with duct tape and bailing wire (or plug-ins and forms of you prefer). Plus an interesting implementation of gravity forms and FacetWP for a course directory.
* Colin Madland’s online faculty development using the Learn Dash plug-in to help create “collections” of lessons and units within sections (hope I have interpreted that right, Colin!)
* Jeff Merrell writes about the design challenges he is grappling with in his course.
* Jan Webb has reflected on her learning experiences with WordPress as preparation for developing a WP backdrop for her english courses this fall.
* other great examples were shared via the Google Hangout for this week. You can view the archive here.

EconProph reminded us in his sign on post that one of the biggest barriers to “the spread of open pedagogy and open teaching is the hierarchical and “silo-ed” nature of higher education. It results in a lot lone wolf’s who all have to reinvent the wheel.”

And, Christina started a discussion around her big question of the week (captured below in Storify).

Ways To Share Your Stuff!

  • Offer your own reflection/summary of Week 2 by tagging your post twpweek2
  • Comment on this page, if you prefer.
  • Add your assignment ideas (for use in a WP course) to the Assignment Bank.
  • Share your work in progress. In week 3 we ask you to share your progress on your course and think about which aspects/elements you’d like TWP15 participants to review and offer feedback on.

Ways to Reflect on Your Learning

Most of us are doing this in an open/sharing way via blog posts. There may be value (for some) in other ways of reflection and perhaps using a rubric or guide as a springboard for this. We offer a guide for reflection/self assessment based on Wiggins and McTighe’s work on designing for understanding. Even if you don’t find it helpful for yourself, we’d love your feedback on whether or not you would find it helpful in your teaching contexts.

Thanks for another great week in TWP15!

Week 1: Summary

It’s been a great start to TWP15 from our perspective! Here’s a brief summary of this week’s activity on the blog hub and Twitter discussion:

Please feel free to add your own summary – tag a post with twpweek1 (see all posts with this tag on our Week 1 discussions page), comment on this page (if you prefer) and (if you like) engage in a personal reflection.

Let’s keep the interactions going in comments on blogs, on Twitter, and here on our site as we move into week 2 soon!

Week 2: Join us for a hangout on June 8th!

computerMonday June 8, 12-1pm Pacific (3pm Eastern, 19:00 UTC): WordPress for teaching webinar. Join Christina Hendricks, Alan Levine, and Tannis Morgan for a deep dive (or shallow wade?) into the WordPress waters to talk about various ways in which we use WordPress for teaching and learning. This will be on Google Hangouts, broadcast live on YouTube. Click here for information and how to sign up.

A bit about designing for open…

Some great discussion during the Open Pedagogy webinar earlier today about learning, design (pedagogy) and open. As soon as we have a link to the archive, we’ll post it on our Week 1 schedule.

I thought this would be a good time to add to the discussion about designing open learning environments. If you managed to make it through the slideshow on this topic – bravo! If not, here’s a bit of an overview of the key ideas.

You are designing a web, not a website.

Stephen Downes, in his description of design elements in a personal learning environment, reminds us that a MOOC (for example) is a web not a website. This statement really resonates with me when I consider that the main focus in our work in developing this site (and other connectivist online learning spaces) focuses on the question “what can we do to support both the connections between participants and the sharing of what we are learning with one another?” And this is no easy task! The most challenging aspect is the careful consideration of the details that go into those interactions so that we can choose the approaches and technologies that best support them.

Here are some of Downes’ key considerations and our additions. Click to enlarge the images.
Open Design[2] images.002

Open Design[2] images.003

The concept of uncoverage is really just another perspective on inquiry – Mark Sample wrote a good piece about it in the Chronicle a couple of years ago: Teaching for Uncoverage Rather Than Coverage. And, while assessment for understanding may seem obvious, McTighe and Seif – explain why they think it is important to put understanding back into focus in our teaching and learning environments: Teaching for Understanding.

In thinking about your own context, is this a useful framework for thinking about the design of an open, online course? Are there other considerations that you would consider important?

Week 1: Launching TWP15!

Welcome to Teaching with WordPress! We are a small, but mighty group for our first run at this and we’re looking forward to learning with you! Here are a few things that we think you might find helpful:

Collaborative learning and lasting connections

This is an open, online course for anyone who wants to connect and share ideas about teaching and learning with WordPress, in any context. Whether you have no experience teaching with WordPress or quite a bit, we all have something to contribute and can all learn from each other.

Indeed, we expect that you will get as much or more out of your interactions with other participants than you do from what we have provided through the readings, videos and other resources. And we hope that your connections and discussions with other participants will last beyond the official end of the course. Ideally you would finish the course with a few people to add to your own learning network!

Find your own path through the course

For each week we have provided suggested readings and activities, but we would like to stress that you should feel free to read, discuss and do what you find most useful, even if it’s very different from what we have suggested. In fact, please contribute links to resources that you find useful, informative or provocative. You can share them in our Resources section.Focus on your learning goals and do what you need to fulfill them, and invite others to discuss and collaborate with you. We encourage you, therefore, to raise your own questions or topics for discussion on your blog posts and on Twitter if you feel that would be useful. Others might find it useful too!

Get help

We have put together a bit of a guide to help with setting up a blog on WordPress, with using Twitter if you’re new to it and want to start, and with creating videos (which you may want to do later in the course).

Check out the blog hub

We have set up a blog hub with all the posts participants are writing relevant to the course. We suggest you read through a few posts each week and comment on them! If you have an RSS reader, you can add all the posts from the blog hub to it just by adding our feed URL:

More feeds…
You can keep up on the activity in the course, by adding any one of the course feeds to your reader. You’ll find them on the lower right column.

And if you don’t know what an RSS feed or reader are, and you want to, why, just ask, whether on Twitter (#TWP15) or on a comment on one of the “weeklies” (discussion pages), or reply back to this email!

Tweet with #TWP15

If you have a Twitter account and want to join us on Twitter, our course hashtag is #TWP15. We hope you’ll tweet at least one “big question” each week to engage all of us (including your own networks) in what your grappling with.

What’s Up in Week 1?

Join us for our kick-off webinar! Monday, June 1, 12:00-13:00 Pacific/ 15:00-16:00 Eastern/ 19:00-20:00 UTC. Amanda Coolidge, Mary Burgess and Tracy Kelly from BCcampus in Canada ( will help us think through what open pedagogy is/isn’t and what it might look like in practice. See the week 1 schedule for a link to join when the session starts and for details about suggested readings, resources, and activities for the week as we focus on Open Pedagogy and Design.

What Is Connectivism?

George Siemens, is an educator and theorist in the field of digital learning and is the author of the article “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” and the book “Knowing Knowledge“. He provides an overview of connectivism in this short interview for the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

YouTube Preview Image

More on Connectivism:
Stephen Downes: Connectivism as a Learning Theory.

Design Question

We could use this page as the default for posts (weekly). Add category pages for feeds from blogs related to weekly themes? (users categorize their posts with category for the week and we pull in via feed shortcode?). Challenge: all posts for assignment bank will show here as well. Any work arounds?

Fishbone diagram about being late for work

Fishbone Collaboration

Fishbone diagram about being late for work

Fishbone diagram

Fishbone diagrams (sometimes called Ishikawa diagrams) are often used in analysis of problems for cause and effect relationships.  The basic structure, however, is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of uses. Effects (or problems) may be re-cast as goals and causes as contributers or enablers to achieving goals.

Riffing off an activity that was designed by D’Arcy Norman (U of Calgary) and posted online, we’re asking you to invite collaborators to create a fishbone diagram to think about a teaching challenge or goal that is meaningful to you.

Your challenge

Create a fishbone diagram that addresses a teaching goal (like improving engagement, for example). You can frame this as a problem or challenge if you like (students are not engaged, as an example). You may:

  • consider main spines or bones as major components of the learning environment: content creation, assessment, learner interactions. You may choose others.
  • add/ brainstorm as many elements in each of those components as you can think of
  • draw a line through any you have no control over.

You will need:

  • an online collaborative drawing tool like Flockdraw or Twiddla
  • people to collaborate with online

Share your experience:

  • In the comments below, share the link to your fishbone diagram when you have done as much as you can – along with your collective feedback about the process.
  • OR post about it on your WordPress site and tag your post with collaboration and whiteboard to have it appear with this post (at least we think that’s what will happen?)

Would you use this with your students?  How?

Intended learning outcome:

Collaborative problem analysis for cause/effect relationships.