I've been thinking about using WordPress in Higher Education - namely, in my new job. Not right away of course - we won't be running RGU's MSc in Digital Marketing until next year September.
The point is that Digital Marketers need to practise what they preach, and know what they're talking about - and running your own blog or website is a surefire way to engineer your digital DNA. It also helps developing a voice - plus, you need build your personal brand sooner rather than later!
When researching WordPress in Higher Education, I did find some good content about the use of the free blogs on WordPress.com with students.
Since you can't really expect all students to get their own website AND install WP etc. straight away, the free version is a good halfway house.
It's how I started blogging (in 2006) and while it's not ideal as you can't have plugins, template customisation and so on, it's at least going to teach familiarity with the interface, as well as help building your digital voice and brand - crucial to getting a job in digital marketing or PR these days (at least if I have anything to do with it 😛 )
WordPress in Higher Education - Yes or No?
Thinking about the WP.com option (free blogs), here are some Pros and Cons:
- Easy way to get started
- Choose from various free themes
- Free hosting (yoururl.wordpress.com)
- Automatic upgrade / back-up
- Premium features available (e.g. you can use your own domain name should you so desire)
- Limited list of themes available, little / no customisation
- No plug-ins to extend site functionality (e.g. Yoast's excellent WordPress SEO) -
- No custom coding
- Ads shown on site
- No full 'marketing ownership' (i.e. branding, design, digital analytics, SEO, etc.)
If you're interested in finding out more about the difference between the free version at wordpress.com and the paid wordpress.org, check out this useful differentiation in a neat table compiled by WordPress themselves.
To sum up, I think it's very valuable to use WordPress in Higher Education via the wordpress.com platform, and I definitely will start using it for my teaching next year. Naturally I can complement it with student guest blogging on socialscotland 🙂