This is just making sure there’s a post in the category in the feed that connects to the Teaching with WordPress thing going on at UBC, being led by good colleagues and friends there.

I’ve been using WordPress since April 2005, when it was version. Why do I know that? Because I have a blog post marking the migration from a few years of running a blog on MovableType. Here is how snazzy it looked (thanks Internet Archive Wayback Machine):

The styling dog blog in 2006...
The styling dog blog in 2006…

Admission. I do code. And I like it. I am not a super sophisticated programmer and am sure many on StackExchange would rip my code to shreds. But I can do stuff to make WordPress do what I want it to do, rather than me having to figure out what it will let me do.

I bet in 2005-2006 I was mostly publishing and doing a bit of trying plugins, but once I started working for NMC in 2006 I was already starting to bend themes. One of the prouder ones I did was a hacking of a theme to build a site for the NMC Pachyderm Project— this one standing out in mind because I was showing it in a (Moosecamp?) session on it at Northern Voice in 2006, and this guy named Matt Mullenweg was in the audience.

That probably led to be invited in 2008 to talk about WordPress in Education at the main Wordcamp in San Francisco.

And so on.

I would like perhaps the focus not to be so much “Making a Course Site” in WordPress which sort of leads to LMS like thinking. There’s a lot more broader things one can build that are not just course sites, not just reverse listed chronological posts adjacent to a sidebar. In fact, I think I’ve only done a handful of course sites.

I’ve been more interested in using WordPress as a tool to help people make other tools, this was the focus of my recent time at TRU working on SPLOTs and some of the other not quite documented well projects milling around my github. There are built as WordPress Themes with built in functionality, but also configurability to do things like make your own flavor of a DS106 Assignment Bank (this is somewhat of an update in progress making changes for a new project this summer).

And so on.

WordPress is my HyperCard.

And that is for a later post.

Top / Featured image credit: flickr photo by SoulRider.222 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

The post "Leaving #TWP15 Tracks" was originally cracked open and scrambled from a rotten egg at CogDogBlog ( on June 1, 2015.


  • Lucas Wright

    The CogDogBlog site was my first inspiration into using WordPress. Brian Lamb shared it as part of a workshop that in 2008. It really started me into the who field of Ed Tech and a love for WordPress.

    And yes to hypercard–where I learned to connect things.

  • Ken Bauer

    My current blogging fun project is migrating my personal blog to a static site with Jekyll. I have been wanting to do that for awhile as a “take back the code” desire as well as the way it matches my work flow writing say in LaTeX.

    I noticed that Audrey Watters used Jekyll for her blog and that got me started.

    I plan to fix my category specific RSS feeds tonight to patch up the feed that broke with the move as well as providing a feed for #twp15

    Perhaps later I can work on the #FeedWordpress equivalent for a jekyll setup.

  • Cindy Underhill

    Glad you’ve joined in on #twp15, Alan! You have done such amazing things with WP over the years and we continue to learn from your great work (and awesome open practice in blogging about it). But I’d like to challenge your statement that making a course in WordPress leads to LMS thinking. I think people are coming to WordPress as a teaching platform because they are tired of how the LMS structures their thinking (in a sense). But people still have their constraints to deal with – and, in some cases, will opt for a little more structure in their course design. The preference for structure may prompt some people to design a website (in WordPress) rather than a web – focusing on the interactions and explorations of participants. But it begs the question: is there a difference between an open course and an open learning resource and (if there is) what is it? Hmmmm….

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog

      Ok, that was a bit of an over-generalizing, overly-sweeping statement. Let’s say I’ve seen people with that enthusiasm to do something beyond the LMS (which I celebrate) come in to WordPress and expect that blank admin screen full of things to provide the structure or guidance. But it’s an empty space. And it takes a longer span of commitment to understand the affordances – why use posts versus pages? how to use categories and tags together? why create a static landing page? why figure out how to use conditional logic for widgets?

      These are things that came to me over longer periods of using as first a writing / thinking out loud space. Maybe its the idea that WordPress is a solution to a problem (how to go beyond LMS, how to publish in open), but as an environment it offers no more on its own than say MS Word does to help you write better papers.

      You gotta spend some time in the water, IMHO, to appreciate the potential of it.

      • Cindy Underhill

        Thanks, Alan – totally agree on the longer span of commitment thing. I like like your list of questions as things worth investigating to start to build that understanding of affordances.

  • John

    Hi Alan,
    Stack exchange may rip you to shreds but the rest of us stand slack jawed as you knock out another SPLOT.
    One. If the wonderful things about WordPress is that it provides an easy on ramp to coding. A wee bit of CSS or a couple of lines of my baby steps php can give a lot of satisfaction and fun. WordPress seems step up to invite such things, just like HyperCard.

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