ITS has added a WordPress server to the arsenal of tools available for enhancing education here at UIS. WordPress is a popular blog publishing system that gives bloggers the power to have multiple contributors, control over the theme and layout, and many other great features. Check out the Instructional Support and Training team’s blog for an idea of how this new tool can be used.
Creating a Blog [Available for faculty and staff]
- Open the WordPress blog sign-up form, and login with your NetID and pssword.
- Once you have logged in, read the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources and accept the policy by clicking the Agree button.
- You will now be prompted to select a URL by typing your choice in the box after the standard http://blogs.uis.edu/[your choice will be here]
- Next, type the title of your blog in the Title box.
- Select whether or not you would like your blog indexed by search engines so that it is easily found by selecting True or False.
- Click Create to finalize your choices and create your blog.
- Once the system has processed your requeest, you will be presented with a page that lists your login information, the URL to your blog, the administration URL to your blog, and the ability to add other people to administer your blog.
- You now have all the basic information to login and start customizing your blog.
A quicksheet is available for instructions on multiple ways to post a blog entry as well as RSS feed options for reading the blog in a feed reader. An in-depth, detailed handout is available as well. Each blog has a 10MB quota; the Dashboard indicates how much space is being used and how much remains.
- Creating a WordPress Blog
- Editing and Adding Permissions
- Adding a Theme
- Adding a Post
- Adding Media to a Post
- Commenting on Posts
- Checking Storage Space Quota on the Dashboard
Contact the Instructional Support and Training team at ITSTraining@uis.edu or 217/206-8237 for assistance.
Why Use a Blog in Your Course
- Students are online so blogging is a great way to maintain communication even when they are out of the classroom.
- Blogging can be motivating to students and help to engage them in discussion, especially for those students who otherwise might not become active participants in the classroom.
- Blogs can be effective forums for collaboration and discussion.
Examples of How Blogs Might Be Used in Your Course
Collaboration: One of the best ways to incorporate blogs into the classroom is for collaborative discussions and projects.
Students and instructors can post ideas
Students and instructors can add comments to a discussion
Students and instructions can share reflections on assignments or lectures
Instructors can guide discussions and provide prompts for critical thinking
Reflection: Use blogs as a space to share reflections on readings or other critical-thinking assignments.
Educators can pose questions for consideration.
Students can provide open-ended responses on how they felt about what they read or questions that it caused them to consider.
Instead of typing up responses and turning them in as homework, students can submit them via a blog where they are visible for the whole class to see and respond to.
Writing: Journaling possibilities are open-ended with a blog, which is essentially an online journal.
Students can maintain individual blogs used to post classroom writing assignments.
A classroom blog can be kept to compare writings and share ideas.
Tutoring: Instructors can create blogs to share supplementary materials/resources, including:
Extra readings and exercises to give students the extra help that they need.
Videos, readings, podcasts, and more can be posted for students to use as needed.
Classroom Management: Blogs are an easy way to coordinate classroom assignments and announcements.
Instructors can use them to post homework assignments, to provide feedback, and even to make announcements about upcoming classroom activities or other requirements.
Share news of awards or pictures from special events.
Students can create an online portfolio of work through blogs that can then be used to measure progress over the course of a semester or a year, or can be used for long-term projects that require revision or building upon a foundation of earlier projects. They are also useful to help students see what they have created and how they have progressed.