The Office of Faculty Development

Teaching with Wordpress

Wordpress and other content management systems (CMS) are powerful tools for moving beyond the confines of traditional university LMS (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas). While they require some forethought and proper planning to be used successfully, they can help make online learning more dynamic and engaging for students. 

Depending on class design and teaching goals, standalone websites can also provide a way for students to share their work with a public audience. Having a class website can also help offer prospective students a sense of the type of work they may be doing in your class, which is a great way to boost course enrollment. 

This guide will help interested faculty with the basics of setting up their own online class website using the free, open-source Wordpress software, which is hosted online for free with your custom url (e.g. No prior experience with website creation or advanced computer skills are needed for this guide. A simple how to video tutorial is also included in the Watch resources for interested faculty. As a reminder, faculty should ensure their use of external platforms meet all of the campus digital technology requirements, including accessibility, privacy, and data security, as outlined in Executive Memorandum 20-020(opens in new window).

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    Examine selected research on using Wordpress in the classroom: 

    Landrum, J. (2018, July 26). The Best Ways of Using WordPress in the Classroom. Kevin Muldoon. in new window)

    Morris, K. (2020, February 11). The Top 10 Ways Blogs And WordPress Are Used In Schools. The Edublogger. in new window)

    Customer Showcase. CampusPress

    How to Run a Virtual Classroom Online with WordPress (Tools). WPBeginner.

    Avila, J., Sostmann, K., Breckwoldt, J., & Peters, H. (2016). Evaluation of the free, open source software WordPress as electronic portfolio system in undergraduate medical education. BMC medical education16(1), 1-10. in new window)

    Cornwall, A. (2020). Decolonizing Development Studies. The Radical Teacher, (116), 37-46.

    Find content you can share, use and remix. Creative Commons. in new window)

    WordPress, Your Way.


    Ready to use Wordpress in your teaching? Here are some ideas and strategies to get you started:

    Before you decide to develop your own class website, you need to decide how student engagement will take place. You don't want a website that becomes a second online platform competing with your LMS (Blackboard, Canvas), so you may want to move other aspects of class work to the website, rather than solely relying on the LMS. 

    If you are ready to use your own course website, be sure to devote time to walking your students through how to use the website, from logging into their account to editing, revising, and publishing posts. This can be done with a step-by-step tutorial (such as a sample blog post showing how to create a blog post) or through a short video. Make sure these resources are pointed out to the students and are linked clearly on the course website or main menu area (e.g. FAQ or Help page).

    Another important consideration is whether you want your site to be a public-facing site or a private one that only you and your students can access. Wordpress makes it easy to do either, and to change between them, but this is another issue to consider.

    Having students add featured photos and post tags can engage student's creativity while creating class posts that feel more dynamic and personal. One thing to keep in mind is ensuring students provide attribution for images used, and this can be made easy by directing students to creative commons photo resources online.

    Another way faculty can use Wordpress websites is to have students create their own blog. Students can then use it as a space for collecting materials on a research project or as a portfolio, with the finished website graded as a research project.






Check out this Academic Technology post(opens in new window) for lots of helpful Wordpress tips, tricks & web links.

Learn how to integrate your class podcast(opens in new window) into Wordpress.

Listen to the WP Tonic podcast(opens in new window) for tips and advice on running your own Wordpress LMS.

Want to delve more in depth into Wordpress? Then check out the WP Builds podcast(opens in new window).

Watch this easy faculty how to guide(opens in new window) on creating and setting up a free Wordpress class website.

Learn how to do basic edits and customize(opens in new window) your Wordpress site.

Read Wordpress for Education(opens in new window) by Adam Scott (Packt Publishing, 2012) for more details on using Wordpress in the classroom.

Check out the official Wordpress Learn site(opens in new window) for more great resources.