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Teaching Online Journalism

Teaching online with WordPress.com

In the fall semester of 2010, I taught a graduate course called New Media and a Democratic Society using a WordPress.com blog as both syllabus and the means of delivering all assignments. The class did meet face to face once a week for presentations and discussions, but otherwise, everything about the course was connected through the blog. The students were required to set up and maintain their own individual WordPress.com blogs.

> See the blog for the course

I had a very good experience with this, and I would encourage other university educators to give it a try.

It doesn’t replace a course management system such as Moodle or Sakai, but it worked really well as a way to get students to interact with one another through blog comments and also to experience social media directly (see for example the Twitter assignment).

Feel free to borrow, copy or adapt anything you like about the course I delivered.


Categories: blogging, examples, participation, teaching, training


5 Comments

  1. im having a problem with wordpress. how do you exactly change a template in wordpress if you didn’t buy a plan in changing a wordpress theme? can you help me???

  2. Bryan Murley says:

    I have used WordPress.com previously, and last semester I tried tumblr. I liked the ability to add everyone to the course blog and also keep it password protected. However, it was somewhat less useful when figuring out how many posts each student had entered. So, back to WordPress this year.

  3. @chamberlain 7th – You need to look that up at WordPress.com – Support.

  4. Bryan Murley says:

    @chamberlain 7th – you can’t change the template unless you buy the upgrade.

  5. I used WordPress to teach three courses in 2010 and will be using again in Spring 2011. Rather than have the students create their own blogs, I asked them to use the course blog to post about assigned topics.

    When I started this approach, few students used WordPress so it seemed easier to teach from the central, class-focused blog. Using the single blog also made participation and assessment easier because I could easily sort and review student posts and comments and students could easily locate and comment on posts by classmates.

    Principles of PR: http://jmc492pr.wordpress.com

    Media of Religion: http://mediareligion.wordpress.com

    JMC300Stories: http://jmc300stories.wordpress.com (Password protected, so not publicly-available)

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