Feedback on Possible BC WordPress in Education Summer Camp

Wordpress Schawg by Peregrino Will Reign

Last February, in the run up to Northern Voice, a bunch of us in BC post-secondary got together on the UBC campus to meet and discuss the various ways in which we were starting to use WordPress (and WPMU) on our campuses. I had some high (unrealistic) ambitions for the meeting, and while I felt like we didn’t necessarily meet those, it did feel like it was a good start to the conversation here in BC that allowed people to meet each other, see what they were doing, get inspired & encouraged about their own work, and share some of the issues we face in common.

I’ve been wanting to do a follow up, and since this year’s ETUG Spring Workshop is happening June 7-8 at the University of Victoria, some of us thought we’d try to organize another “WordCampEd” around that event, given that it typically brings together many of the interested folks.

So, three questions in this informal poll, which you can reply to in the comments below (and please circulate this as widely as you like; we’re not “exclusive” though it is likely to be mostly folks from BC post-secondary attending.)

  1. Does this sound like something you’d like to attend? We’re not asking for you to sign up yet (it will be free), just a show of hands to help us figure out what size/type of venue we need to find
  2. The ETUG event is on a Monday June 7th and Tuesday June 8th. Yes, I know, weird. In terms of doing this kind of session, should we be looking at:
    • full day session? half-day? less?
    • Sunday the 6th? (might have to be off campus.) During the ETUG meetings (potentially as a proposed session)? Afterhours on either the 7th or 8th? Or the day after, Wednesday the 9th?
  3. What would you like to focus on? Do you want scheduled talks? Unorganized collaboration time? Self-forming interest groups? Something else? Think about what we can usefully do in a face to face session that we couldn’t just do online (and the answer might be “nothing,” which is ok too.)

Let us know. I’m not “leading” anything, just starting a discussion. So far I know there is interest from UVic, the hosts of the ETUG conference, and a few others who were instrumental in the earlier gathering have also indicated interest. You should all consider yourselves part of the organizing committee. Indeed, somebody please jump in and take over, I’m happy to help but would much prefer those with a bigger stake in their WP installations to lead the charge. – SWL

24 thoughts on “Feedback on Possible BC WordPress in Education Summer Camp”

  1. Q1. Definitely something I’ll attend.

    Q2. I’m up for a full-day session, but would go for a half-day if that’s what everyone else wants. Any of the options are fine with me. I just would like to see it happen.

    Q3. Not sure yet about the focus, will post follow-up.


  2. Q1. This is something I’d like to attend…although I’m not sure I can because of the dates if it’s scheduled on June 6 or 9

    Q2. Part of ETUG event, but mostly for selfish reasons 🙂 Really I’d like a full day.

    Q3. This is an interesting question because I wonder if this is something we should organize online. I’d really like to see lots of examples of what people are doing.

  3. 1) I’ll be there.

    2) I think a day or half day on Sunday is a good idea but we should include a session or two during ETUG to spread the word (even if it’s too late to attend the Sunday session).

    3) Some sessions that gravitate around some specific topic and a few others in a retreat suitable for spontaneous theorizing. A mixture of physical and virtual presence should increase numbers and diversity.

  4. Sylvia, I am certain there are a lot of things we can effectively do online, and share examples is one of them. D’Arcy threw together a nice site for the last one we ran in Vancouver; not sure we should reuse it as the name is misleading ( but it shouldn’t be hard to do something similar. We have a fair bit of time, so we’ll see who else steps up and maybe takes this on, and there may also be some role for SCoPE here.

  5. 1. I’m in.

    2. I agree with Keith that having a session during ETUG would be a great way to increase the exposure of WP. I would be happy to participate in that session. The Camosun pilot will be over by then and I’ll have some feedback from our faculty participants to share and some lessons learned from our experience. I am also completely open to doing something outside of the conference.

    3. Let me think about this, but off the top of my head my thoughts are revolving less around technical sessions and more about the pedagogical use of the platform. Right now our WP install is primarily being used in a very content-centric way (really as a content management system for faculty to have a web presence), but my hope is that in the future we would be able to extend the platform out and show people ways in which it is more than just a place where learners can access course notes and presentations.

  6. Hey Scott, not really an answer to your questions but an FYI… we had our SCETUG meeting today & I believe somebody mentioned the possibility (or maybe stronger than that) of an afternoon session on “Just Instructional Design” on Sunday the 6th so arranging a WordPress session for the same time could allow all of us to benefit from coordinated promotion. We could call it ‘ETUG Pre-Conference Workshops’ & make it look like a conference planning strategy 😉

  7. Gina, good suggestion – I had heard about this internally but hadn’t approached the organizers yet. I agree, it could work really well – my one hesitation was in not being sure a Sunday session was desirable for folks, hence why I put this query out there. But it is definitely a possibility.

  8. Q1. Great idea – I’m in.

    Q2. Full day would be great.

    Q3. I’d like to see:

    a) A top 5 list of suggested do’s & dont’s when implementing WPMu at a UNI – I learned a great deal from last year’s event and from following the discourse online, but I still made my fair share of mistakes and learned from them.

    b) A hands-on, how-to session on implementing domain-mapping – the domain mapping plugins and approaches when using WPMu are a great start in giving faculty and students that important understanding that WordPress access isn’t about having a ‘blog’, but a personal publishing space – in my experience their own mapped URL seems to be an important marker.

  9. @grant now THAT’S what I’m talking about and why I posted this question, for people to step up with creative ideas like that. I am definitely having the sense (still, same as last time) that there are 2 distinct groups, technical and pedagogical, for lack of better words, and that unlike last year, we would all benefit more from self-selecting early on (or maybe along different lines, someone else make a suggestion). But these two suggestions are fantastic! I totally agree with 3b having struggled through this myself, and 3a sounds like a fantastic group discussion session out of which could be produced a really useful heuristic for other schools trying the same. Awesome! Come on folks, let’s hear some other ideas too! It’s YOUR camp, decide what you want to bring and what you hope to take away and let others know!

  10. There are two topics I would be interested in and both could be approached from a technical or pedagogical angle.

    One is syndication for courses using or hosted on a blog. Bringing student posts into one course blog – the various tools that support this (including the minutae of settings etc.) and the issues around how you decide what student work should be brought in and what should stay at the student blog. Should commenting happen on the course blog or in the student blog. How does the prominence or background nature of a course blog impact the way students use their own blog or the way they come together (where?) to discuss issues in the course.

    The second issue is using WP blogs with an LMS (Moodle in my case). What are the technical thresholds of being able to integrate these tools (I know some tricks but could use more) and what are the pedagogical implications and trade-offs for a dual tool approach.

    These are my questions now. They may change by spring. Hope this helps.

  11. @keith awesome! great suggestions. As more of these come in it starts to make sense to get a site together, I will talk to Katy and figure out which server it makes sense to use and will slowly move the organizing/discussion over there.

  12. Love Grant’s idea of mapping multple domains. I’d find that useful.

    I’d love a session about backups and data recovery (oooohhhh, sexy). I’ve had a heck of a time coming up with a comprehensive backup strategy and set of plugins that will do the kinds of backups I want to see happen on our install.

    I don’t know if it’s a full session, but not sure many know that with a few simple plugins WP blogs can be set up to expose metadata that can be used by citation software (RefWorks and Zotero). Darn handy for students wanting to reference content posted on our blogs. Maybe this could be rolled into a bigger session on essential plugins for academic blogs?

  13. Not sure about the Sunday, Wednesday may be better. I know quite a few of the OLT WordPress crew would not be able to attend if on Sunday.

  14. @scott I know, I am really torn about this, hence the reason I posted the query. I live in Victoria and *I’m* not even sure I could make one on Sunday. My strong inclination is not to do stuff on Sundays, but I am only one person. Hopefully others will chime in too.

  15. 1) yes
    2) full day, please not during weekend!
    3) if we are up for this we should start inventorying what people want and we could have detailed program well in advance. It could lead to anything you mentioned – scheduled tqalks, smaller groupd or something in between!

  16. Hey Scott…I know we touched base on this awhile ago. Let me know if we can help or put forward to the program folks. FYI the “Just Instructional Design” is a networking event planned for Sunday June 6th 1:30 – 4:30 pm (venue to be determined). I posted a note from the organizers in the ETUG online community yesterday and it will be in our newsletter going out this week. They are still finalizing planning around this. For the ETUG workshop meet & greet we were going to do a pub social on Sunday nightand I wasn’t sure if people would come out for a beer or not, being a weekend night, but we didn’t have much choice for dates. Maybe Friday or Sat. for the Wordcamp? (I know tough on weekend.) Cheers

  17. Hi Scott,

    I am very interested in this workshop and have many of the same questions as Keith. We are using WP as a modified LMS and would love to discuss ways to make it all more seamless. We have implemented a forum this time through and I am a bit underwhelmed with the functionality, so am also interested in finding ways in centralizing some of the discussions.

  18. I’m also very interested in this workshop, particularly since Michelle H. has been starting to use WPMu for some online courses here at TRU-OL. I’d like to learn more about the functionality (plug-ins, etc.) for using WordPress as a CMS/LMS.

    Timing: I could probably accommodate whatever works for most.

    Thanks for initiating the conversation!

  19. So based on the comments here’s what I’m thinking the options are:

    1. submit 1 or 2 proposals to do this as a session during ETUG (I’m thinking one technical, one more about teaching with it.) These would obviously be short

    2. do something “afterhours” during ETUG, most likely on the Monday evening

    3. do a half-day Wednesday morning; unfortunately this would mean staying an extra day for those folks from away, but it is the option that represents the most concentrated block of time

    4. self-organize during ETUG (this is what happened at Open Ed ’09 in the hallway) and simply jam on whatever comes up for as long as we like. this is possibly the most ‘camp’-like approach, but people might have to forsake proper ‘sessions’ to do this

    Personally, I am leaning towards #1 and #2 – while it would need to be accepted as a proposal, if we could get 2x 1 hr sessions early in the conference, it would allow people to meet and connect, and then maybe carry that on in the evening at the pub. It’s the least disruptive to the conference and to people’s travel schedules, and I think it makes good use of f2f time to do things we can’t do as well online – i.e. make the personal connections and start the conversations that we can then keep going online.

    Those are just my thoughts. If others agree, we’d need to get proposals in to ETUG PDQ! Ideally they would come from someone *other* than me – one person to convene a session on “pedagogical uses” and another on “wpmu geekery” (or not, just my suggestions). Let me know your thoughts, cheers, Scott

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