When we think about WordPress, it usually brings to mind business sites, portfolios, and blogs, but as a fully fledged content management system, WordPress is flexible enough to be put to all sorts of different uses, including as a powerful educational tool.
With the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets, not to mention the explosion in online learning among people of all ages, teachers should seriously consider integrating a website into their educational workflows, both as a central location for course materials and as an educational tool that can be used by students to publish and collaborate. Educators who don’t embrace the preferred communication platforms of their students limit their potential and that of their students.
WordPress is the perfect foundation for building an education site, and developers in the WordPress community have created a number of plugins that make it straightforward to deploy education-focused features. I’d like to highlight five of them today.
Sensei, from WooCommerce, provides a complete coursework solution that allows for the creation and publishing of courses, lessons, and quizzes. It integrates well with WooCommerce, so education entrepreneurs can charge for access to their content.
Other features include quick user registration, testing, quiz grading, and course analytics.
This is also a course management system, but more suited to higher education and specifically designed to meet the needs of research groups, but it has useful features for any higher-level academic teaching. TeachPress is focused on academic publishing and provides comprehensive BibTeX integration for citation importing and exporting, as well as an integrated course enrollment system, and a variety of shortcodes for displaying publication lists, publication searches, and course overviews.
There are any number of quiz plugins for WordPress, but I’m highlighting this one because it’s designed with touch interfaces in mind, so students can take multi choice quizzes from their tablets and phones.
This is a premium plugin from WPMUDev, so it isn’t free, but it can save a huge amount of time for educators who need to create lots of blogs or sites for their students to publish on. Doing it manually would be very time consuming, but with Batch Create, educators using WordPress Multisite can upload a CSV or XLS file exported from their enrollment records and the plugin will add users or create new sites.
I’ve only got space here to share a few educational plugins, but there are many more that I could have included. Instead, I’d like to open the floor to the educators out there: what are your favorite WordPress plugins and how have they contributed to your teaching?
About Graeme Caldwell – Graeme works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog, /blog/.