Author Archives: cindyu

Thinking About Learning Webs

Why webs for learning? In designing the Teaching With WordPress course, we ran across a notion proposed by Stephen Downes that open course design should be more about creating a web than a website. The idea, as I understand it, is to create opportunities for cross connections between ideas, resources, people and their networks. The […]

Hackathon for Blended Learning 101

Lately, the big question[s], I am grappling with have to do with notions of learning community or learning webs: what conditions are necessary for learning webs or communities to work? why do we care about webs, networks and communities for learning, and how do we make that explicit to learners? why would learners care about […]

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.

Learning Wrapper for Video

Learning wrappers take many forms (exam wrappers, homework wrappers, metacognitive wrappers). Their purpose is generally to provide learners with framework for reflection on their learning: what did they learn, what confusions surfaced and what do they need to explore further, change or seek clarification on as a result of what they learned? The use of […]