I was fortunate enough to present at the CIT Faculty Technology Showcase this past February. My presentation was on how I build WordPress websites for my literature classes as a digital hub for
course materials, reading schedule, close reading blog posts and discussion threads. Students really enjoy having everything they need for the class (minus their books, of course!) in one centralized space.
The key for me when designing the site was to make it as interactive as possible — to look like any user-friendly website they encounter while surfing the web. I can post writing assignments, host online discussions, and have them do real-time peer reviews of their work. I update the syllabus, embed interviews with authors as well as other multi-media and secondary material that enriches their reading. I also use the website as a way to host their digital projects: the digital glossary and multi-media presentation project. The website is hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences and requires a login from the student using their UA Crimson account, thereby ensuring student privacy. I also make sure to provide links to UA Blackboard so they have access to Turn-it-in and grades.
I’m also intrigued by what other software exists that could foster both traditional and digital humanities scholarship. For example, what if students used the collaboration software Basecamp to complete a group project? Or even learned the basics of WordPress itself to create webpages of literary and multimedia content in order to critically think? I feel as though my students and I are just beginning to scratch the surface of the potential WordPress and other software has for digital active learning here in the UA English department.
Duncan M. Yoon is an assistant professor in the UA Department of English.