Here are some of the ways that faculty and students used WordPress during the Pilot Phase from Fall 2009 to Spring 2010. While these use cases at a high level are still typical, the descriptions were very focused on courses and pedagogy. Over time, there’s been a large increase in the creation of more general websites for research projects, new initiatives, groups, and even small departments.
Public blogging: A faculty member administers a public WordPress site based on a course topic. Students participate as authors of public posts or pages. By making pages and posts public, the faculty member can also invite scholars outside of Duke to participate in the conversation.
As an LMS ‘replacement’: Many faculty don’t use LMS functions such as assignment/testing tools and the gradebook, and prefer a simpler solution for sharing resources and announcements. In this case, a faculty member creates a website providing the course syllabus, reading list, calendar and resources for their students. WordPress offers control over different pages – allowing the faculty member to make some of the site public, and some of it private and/or password protected.
Project Teams (aka ‘website projects’): A faculty member creates student groups to work on a semester-long research project. The faculty member asks students to design and create publicly available websites to publish their research findings as their final assignment. Students become administrators of their group WordPress sites – making design and info architecture decisions by selecting appropriate themes and widgets, and publishing multimedia-rich content. Students can keep the sites private until they finish, then make the sites public to get feedback from others on the web.
Student portfolios: Individual students become administrators of their own WordPress sites to collect, organize and publish portfolios of their work for a class or series of courses in a program or department.
Faculty portfolios: Faculty administer site they design and develop to link to publications, recent course materials, display their current work, and blog about current issues.
Research, conference and other miscellaneous sites: Faculty and students often need a quick way to develop and publish a website.