Learning Spaces is a new pilot that will explore how we can deliver WordPress blogs to our learning and teaching community. Where many professional services across the university already exploit a supported WordPress environment to communicate online (UoDIT, Business Transformation), schools have previously been unable to access this service and have needed to make their own arrangements if they wanted to use WordPress with all the inherent security and data protection risks. To address this, we have purchased a 1 year trial of a service that will now allow schools, disciplines, courses and academic projects to request their own sites.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is an open source blogging and website building tool used across the internet by individuals, private companies and in education. A WordPress area gives you the ability to build a website without need for specialist programming skills and is used by across both private and education sectors. These sites can then be enhanced using community created themes and plugins, giving the user a great deal of flexibility about how your content looks and what activities your site can support.
Read more general information at the WordPress.org site.
How does it work?
We have purchased an initial 1 year license of a service called CampusPress. CampusPress will manage the hosting, updates and security of our WordPress sites, while we in CTIL will allocate sites, manage user accounts and more importantly, support the community in using the service. This will allow us to provide the flexibility of WordPress with the security of a managed service.
People can request sites from CTIL who will process the request and create the site e.g. learningspaces.dundee.ac.uk/mysite. Sites are the responsibility of the requester who can control who access and otherwise develop it according to their needs, abiding by specified terms and conditions.
CampusPress runs an open blogging, eportfolio and website service called EduBlogs, which is well worth a look.
What can i do with my Learning Space?
Because this service is based on WordPress, users have a lot of options with what they can do with their spaces. The most frequent purpose in education is probably blogging and e-portfolios, shared with either a class group or more widely, but using themes and plugins, users can create wiki’s, collaboration sites or even whole websites like this one. A big part of this pilot is to find out what people might might do with their own site. What would you do?
Here are a few examples of universities using the CampusPress service in the UK:
At this stage, we’re running Learning Spaces as a 1-year pilot, so we’re asking academics to request sites using the form below so we can ensure everything has appropriate over-site. This will allow us to explore how Learning Spaces can support the community, while figuring the best way to implement and support the service effectively and securely in the future. We’re also looking for interesting use cases as there is potential to start developing bespoke site themes to support whatever activities the community needs.
If you are interested in exploring this service then please read the information below then fill in the request form.
- Support will be limited to best efforts on CTIL’s part as it will take time for us to build up our knowledge of the service. You can however, access CampusPress’ extensive support site.
- WordPress does require a certain level of ability when it comes to creating and managing a site. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the platform before moving forward.
- Use of the service must conform to all relevant University policies governing online content.
- Site will only be allowed for Learning & Teaching purposes. The Web Team manage a WordPress platform for non-learning and teaching purposes and should be contacted directly.
- This is a 1-year pilot. If we decide not to continue Learning Spaces after that period, you will be informed well in advance. WordPress is open source and so your sites can be saved and exported to a different host if required.
- As a user during the pilot year, you will be asked for feedback on what works, what doesn’t and what’s missing from the service. You will also be invited to join our Slack channel where you can ask for help and discuss the service with other users.
- We are developing a detailed set of terms and conditions for using this service that we’ll discuss with you when we setup your site.
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