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WordPress in HigherEd


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Some brief information about the use of WordPress in higher education, with details about its usage at University of Mary Washington

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WordPress in HigherEd

  1. 1. WHAT IS WORDPRESS• Began in 2003 as a bloggingplatform• Began to be used heavily as aCMS in 2010 (version 3.0)• WordPress 3.5 has beendownloaded more than 11million times• WordPress is used on over 16%of all websites throughout theWeb• WordPress is used on over 50%of websites that use a CMS
  2. 2. WHO USES WORDPRESS?• Many small business and hobby sites• CNN, the New York Times and many other major news outlets• GM, UPS and Sony• TechCrunch, Mashable, TheNextWeb and most major tech blogs
  3. 3. WHO USES WORDPRESS IN HIGHER ED?• UMW was 1 of the first to use WordPress as a blogging platform, and 1of the first to use WordPress as its website CMS• Other institutions currently using WordPress as a CMS include:• University of Florida (• Boise State University (• Southern Arkansas University (• University of Arkansas at Little Rock (• Lafayette College ( – the first known to go full-WordPress• University of Central Arkansas (• Maryville University (• John Carroll University (• …and many, many more (
  4. 4. NEW INSTITUTIONS ALL THE TIMEMany institutions are thinking of moving to WordPress in the near future:• Butler University• Colby College• University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee• Colorado Mountain College• Texas Christian University• UT Health Center – San Antonio• …and many more
  5. 5. IT GREW ON US• UMWBlogs began in WordPress ~2007• Open to all staff, faculty and students• Complete freedom and flexibility• Grew exponentially• UMW website was running on homegrown/Contribute hybrid• New microsites kept getting set up in UMWBlogs
  6. 6. IT MADE SENSE• UMWBlogs created ~5000 existing WP users on campus• UMW is open environment/WordPress is open – Common values• Interactivity• Innovation• Community• Better support than many commercial platforms• Full customization (NSFW?)
  7. 7. REQUISITE KNOWLEDGE• LAMP Environments• PHP• Object-oriented programming• WordPress APIs• HTML/CSS
  8. 8. IS WORDPRESS SCALABLE FOR HIGHER ED? runs on WordPress!UMWBlogs• ~7600 blogs• ~10,000• 51 networks• 288 sites• ~30,000 published content pieces• 10,000 pages• 15,000 posts• ~5,000 miscellaneous content pieces• Avg. 15,000 visits/day
  9. 9. HOW BIG OF A SERVER IS NEEDED? is running on the following hardware:MySQL running on separate serverNginx running as proxy cache in front of Apache (*Scale appropriately based on expected trafficOperating system Ubuntu Linux 10.10Kernel and CPU Linux 3.2.0-32-generic on x86_64Processor informationIntel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5660 @ 2.80GHz,4 coresReal memory 11.74 GB total, 1.44 GB used
  10. 10. HOW IS IT SET UP?At UMW, we use a “multi-network” setupDevelopment, Staging and Production servers (not automatically synced)Lafayette (@mackensen) has a unique way of implementing
  11. 11. SLICES, DICES; DOESN’T JULIENNE FRIES• Won’t write/organize content foryou• Workflow• Asset management• Doesn’t necessarily enforcegood design decisions• User-level permissions
  12. 12. PLUGINS TO IMPROVE INTERFACE• EditFlow – Implements some workflow capabilities• CMS Tree Page View – Allows drag-and-drop re-order of pages• RoleScoper – allows granular permission management• WhiteLabel CMS – rearranges admin area, customizes login screen• Types and WPToolset – implements custom content types, customtaxonomies, custom fields and template manipulation• Document repository – manage all documents in single library, acrossmultisite, with persistent links to latest version• JetPack – adds multiple new features, including spelling/grammarcheck, image carousels, ability to post via email, custom CSS, etc.These are not the only plugins that do this, just some examples
  13. 13. OTHER RECOMMENDED PLUGINS• GravityForms – allows easy creation and management of forms, includingintegration with Akismet, PayPal, MailChimp and more• TablePress – allows easy creation and management of data tables, includingJavaScript features to allow table sorting on front-end• TubePress Pro – implements ability to include dynamic video galleries frommultiple sources (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.)• BackupBuddy – allows backup, export and import of full WordPress sites• Regenerate Thumbnails – recreates all WordPress image sizes after settingschanges• W3 Total Cache – implements multiple layers of caching and performanceoptimization• Page Links To – allows easy redirects• …and more at
  14. 14. WHEEL OF MORALITY, TURN, TURN, TURN;TELL US THE LESSON THAT WE SHOULD LEARN• Don’t do it all at once• Do as much as you can yourself• Don’t expect perfection• Iterate, iterate, iterate• Don’t reinvent the wheel
  15. 15. QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?Twitter: @cgrymalaWebsite(s): (Multi-Network Setup) (SVN Repo) (WP resources for Higher Ed)Email: cgrymala@umw.educurtiss@ten-321.comSpeakerRate: