We know WordPress is a great CMS for businesses, bloggers, and nonprofit organizations. But it’s also a great option for education, and specifically higher education. The affordability and customization of WordPress makes it an excellent option for universities, school clubs, or even elementary schools. There is an entire ecosystem that could be using WordPress but isn’t. That’s where WPCampus comes in.
WPCampus is a conference that will be held in July in Sarasota, Fla. The idea came to Rachel Carden after reading a misspelled tweet.
“Twitter was all abuzz because a big WordCamp U.S. announcement had been made and when Chris Lema tweeted about how WordCamp looked like “word campus,” the light bulb flipped on,” Carden said.
Ooh. Dream with me: “#WordCampus: A WordCamp for folks using #WordPress in Higher Education.” I like it. #hewebhttps://t.co/m1zEkpkP4B
— Rachel Carden (@bamadesigner) August 3, 2015
From there it was about figuring out how to make the idea into a reality. So Carden set up a Slack channel and website and began planning.
Carden never expected to find herself working in higher education. The first job she got as a graphic designer right after graduating was at a college in Mississippi. It didn’t take long for Carden to realize that’s where she always wanted to be.
“Whether it’s with students or fellow faculty/staff, there’s always opportunity for collaboration and education. And your purpose is so fulfilling. No matter your role, you’re a part of, and investing in, the well being and future of others,” Carden said.
It wasn’t long before Carden found WordPress and realized it is the perfect option for universities and colleges. A campus needs a wide variety of websites, from course lists to research blogs. Because WordPress can be changed with plugins, different departments can get exactly what they need.
Another appealing feature of the CMS is the affordability, which is huge for educational organizations everywhere.
“Higher ed is definitely one of the biggest markets for content management systems,” Carden said “There are so many needs for a wide variety of websites, with usually limited resources, so an extendible, adaptive, and easy to use environment is key.”
Though it seems like a perfect option, not many educators know about WordPress and how to use it. WPCampus will cover the basics of managing a CMS as well as higher education specific topics.
“For faculty, how to use WordPress to manage your courses and interact with students is important,” Carden said. “And for the content managers and administrators, discussing web governance is key. Other topics important to higher ed include accessibility, multisite, security, and scalability.”
The conference is targeted at everyone from faculty to devs. If you aren’t involved in education, but want to participate, you can attend. It is also open to anyone from the K-12 community, looking to create a web presence. Though not many students are signed up right now, Carden hopes to grow their attendance in the future.
Bringing students into the conference could be a great way to involve children in coding at a young age, which can mold the next generation of coders. Bringing educators in general into the community, will spread the reach of WordPress.
“It will be the first opportunity to meet a lot of our members in person and to learn more about them and learn from them for valuable professional development,” Carden said. “Networking and socializing are key elements to community and it never hurts that they’re also tons of fun.”
If you’re interested in attending the conference, early bird tickets go on sale today.
Do you think WordPresss and education are a good mix? Let us know in the comments below.
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