WordPress University

Image by Tom Woodward: WordPress RevolutionThe NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) is hosting an all day conference on April 6th that is entirely dedicated to WordPress in Higher Ed brilliantly titled “WordPress University.” The conference features a range of speakers dealing with everything from WordPress for libraries, college web sites, academic networks, and teaching and learning spaces. It’s a pretty comprehensive program and covers a lot of ground, and I’m definitely interested in Jay Collier’s work with Bates College, their main site is run on WordPress, and given UMW is currently thinking about a new CMS for their website, Jerry Slezak and I are going to make the pitch for WPMu being the hub for the umw.edu site. And I have some interesting ideas for the architecture, syndication, and deep integration with UMW Blogs, so Jay’s session is of particular interest to me right now.

What’s more, Matt Gold and Boone Gorges will be featuring their awesome work with the CUNY Academic Commons and the cutting edge work they are doing with Buddypress. Their approach to the social network for faculty and graduate students at CUNY should be of pressing interest to just about every college and university out there right now—they are making a social network that respects people’s pre-existing spaces online while simultaneously providing an essential network for the folks of CUNY.

And while unlike the WordCampEd events this one isn’t free, I hope they figure out a way to stream and/or capture these sessions because I for one am dying to see them.

And on a broader note, it is fascinating to see a professional organization like NERCOMP devote an entire conference to WordPress, I think it is more than warranted and a sign of things to come. More campuses exploring and hacking on open source applications like WordPress to start re-imagining the social implications of web-based communities for publishing, research, teaching, and learning. It points to one possible future of how colleges and universities can start re-imagining their web presence as more than a brochure, but an open, dynamic space that exposes and shares the thinking happening at these institutions, and the next logical step is for us to start making more meaningful connections between individuals at the distributed learning institutions. Something as simple as a new platform, provides something as beautifully powerful and complex as a rich network of teaching, learning, and scholarship.  We need to explore these possibilities together. NERCOMP’s “WordPress University” seems like an excellent step in that direction.

Image credit: Bionic Teaching’s “WordPress Revolution”

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8 Responses to WordPress University

  1. kyle says:

    too bad I’ve got an instruction session that day.



  2. Randy says:

    Thanks for the mention and kind words. As far as audio/video is concerned, the short answer is YES. I won’t make any promises on quality, but we’ll have quantity. I’ll post once we know where things are to be hosted, but WordPress TV has been mentioned as a possibility.

    NERCOMP is an almost entirely volunteer-run organization and the SIG workshop series is a fantastic resource, planned and run by NERCOMP members. We are always looking for fellow university professionals interested in organizing a session. We’re in the process of collecting proposals for next year — if interested visit http://nercomp.org .

  3. Matt says:

    Thanks for covering this, Jim, and thanks for your kind words about the Commons. As I’ve said many times and as I’ll say to anyone who will listen, our work on the Commons was directly inspired by UMW Blogs and, more importantly, by your trailblazing leadership in the edtech community.

    And this is great:

    “It points to one possible future of how colleges and universities can start re-imagining their web presence as more than a brochure, but an open, dynamic space that exposes and shares the thinking happening at these institutions”

    Yes, yes, yes.

  4. Boone Gorges says:

    Jim’s great, Matt’s great, I’m great, Randy’s great, we’re all great.

  5. Boone Gorges says:

    I was only being half sarcastic.

  6. Jay’s an awesome fellow, Jim. Some great work at Bates.

    I wonder how much academia’s incremental moves towards open source and the open Web are driven by the Great Recession.

  7. Jay Collier says:

    Well said, Jim. I’ve been following your work for a long time, and your posts on MU have been instrumental in our next initiative: using WPMU as a CMS for our official department and office sites. Can BuddyPress be far behind?

    I’m pleased that Randy has convened this event. We’re all converging on a platform that supports these multiple facets of the college online experience and is also integrated with the growing ecosystem out in the cloud.

    Do some of these themes look familiar? 😉


  8. Reverend says:


    Awesome, thanks for those links, you just gave me my reading for next week. I think this is a brilliant road map for bringing UMW into the more general CMS space for our website. I really have no control over this because I’m just an instructional technologist at UMW, but the potential is really powerful, and your going through this so meticulously online in regards to the web presence of a main university site gives me some really powerful resources to make my case.

    You rule, and I look forward to the recording of your talk next month, and I’m no subscribed to your developmental space, glad you linked that here.

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