Tag Archives: WordPress

What I learned at WordCamp 2011: Messages for eLearning

Last weekend I attended WordCamp Miami. This was my second year at this event and I highly recommend it if you use WordPress or are interested in blogging. WordCamp is…

“…a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users…. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.” – WordCamp Central

This one-day event featured three tracks – beginner/blogger, marketing/design, and development/coding. I felt like I fell a little in between the tracks – not a beginning blogger, but also not a skilled programmer. That being said, I really enjoyed the sessions I attended and left with a list of ideas that will keep me busy for some time to come.

Getting started with WordPress:

If you aren’t familiar but want to find out more, take a look at this Introduction to WordPress presentation from Adam Warner. It’s a nice place to start.

Take-aways for eLearning:

I found that many of the presentations spoke not only to bloggers and WordPress users, but also to designers and developers of online education experiences. We’re concerned about a lot of the same things. The ideas and tips described below could be adapted for use in instructional design and development.

  • Keep mobile development in mind – “The mobile web is growing”, says Steven Mautone. Check out this presentation: WordPress for Mobile. Kevin Zurawel’s presentation on Responsive Web Design recommends developers plan for mobile delivery first, then look at the rest.
  • Let data drive your decisions – In a session on analytics, the stress was on gathering data about blog members and visitors. What data do we collect about online students? How can we better leverage the existing information to improve learning and the online experience? For WordPress users, several presenters mentioned WP SEO by Yost.
  • Improve user experience – We know we don’t ask our students and faculty enough about their experiences with our online courses. How can we get better at this? A user experience checklist might help. Jeremy Harrington presented a User Experience Flight Checklist for a WordPress site that could be adapted for use in eLearning.
  • Prepare to hand-off to your client – In this case I think we could consider both instructor and student “clients”. Too often we complete course development, upload the course pages, then more or less walk away. What can we do to make the transition easier? Tammy Hart discussed future proofing and tips for simplification.
  • WordPress as an LMS – I have friends at the University of Hawaii who are using WordPress to develop and deliver online courses. They are not alone in taking WordPress beyond the blog. Take a look at this presentation by Josh Guffey about using WordPress as a CMS to create a portfolio site. How could students do this for study and/or career portfolios? This plug-in was lauded for making the admin side a lot easier – CMS Tree Page View.
  • Take a long-term approach – It takes time to develop a quality product of any kind. Multiple presenters, especially those talking about the art and science of blogging, stressed this point. It takes time…and practice. And you get better.

Thanks to all:

Thanks to the organizers and speakers for a great event! Lost of positive energy and ideas, all at an affordable price. Visit the WordCamp Miami website for more information about the event and additional links to presentations. If you are at all interested in blogging, social media, or the WordPress platform, find a WordCamp in your area and go!

See you in 2012, WordCamp Miami!

What I Learned at WordCamp

Yesterday I attended Wordcamp Miami 2010 – one of the best conference-type experiences I’ve had in a while. In summary: very well organized, motivating speakers, friendly people, comfortable venue, and a nice lunch.  There were three program tracks: 1) developer, 2) social media, and 3) beginner.  I moved around a bit across the tracks and found all of the speakers and presentations to be helpful and encouraging. Other participants were also willing to share their insights.

I’ll be working on ideas I got at this event for some time, but here are a couple of items to share right now:

  • Jess Jurick’s Findng Your Blogging Voice was well attended and well received. Jess was also one of the organizers. Check out her presentation slides and her blog. Her presentation includes some other blog examples worth exploring.
  • WordPress SEO with John Carcutt helped even a non-programmer type like myself understand the importance of search engine optimization and how I can get started. He also previewed some changes on the way from Google.
  • Jim Turner’s From Daddy Blogger to Business Blogger explored the entrepreneurial side of blogging. Just Google ‘Genuine’ or ‘Hire a Blogger’ to find out more.
  • Tammy Hart is a self-taught developer. Her presentation, WordPress & Working with Clients, was full of tips and lessons learned. She introduced a number of resources, such as page.ly, and had down-to-earth suggestions for getting the work done.

There were many other speakers and more about each of them can be found on the WordCamp Miami website speakers page. By the way, there are WordCamps across the U.S. and the globe. Check out this calendar to find one near you. I think you’ll find a lot to learn and be motivated by, even if you don’t blog with WordPress.

Thanks to all organizers, speakers and participants for a great event. See you in 2011, WordCamp Miami!

image credit: WordCamp Miami