WP Campus Online talk proposal

Earlier this year a new WordPress group, WPCampus, was formed. Their focus is WordPress in Education and they held their first national conference at the University of South Florida in July. They’ll have another physical conference in Summer ’17. And they’ve announced an “online conference” where the speakers and audience will all be around the country and the globe. WPCampus Online will be Monday 23 January 2017. I’ve submitted a proposal for a talk. The content of my application is below:

Photo of the University of South Florida with superimposed text for the WP Campus meeting in July 2016

WP Campus Online Call for Speakers

Proposal Form

Biography

Tell us about yourself.

I teach Art at CSU Long Beach and also am the provost of 2 virtual and alternative universities, one for avatars and one for international students. From these experiences I’ve come to believe in as much student self-determination as possible. The university is the repository of tremendous knowledge, but when it comes top-down like tablets coming down from a mountain, it tends to promote extrinsic motivation and a focus on things like points and grades. I’m convinced that the deepest, richest learning must be active learning experiences designed by the student.

BA, Psychology, University of Hawaii, MFA, Intermedia Art, Long Beach State. Host of American Public Media’s “Border Patrol.” Host of KBeach Radio’s “Strange Angels.” Interested in Identity Art that explores our Oracle-at-Delphi-like straddling of corporeal and virtual realms in our new media century. Civil rights in online space. 10 years of radio conversations with art & culture creators.

  • Do you work at a Higher Education institution? Yes
  • Where do you work? California State University, Long Beach
  • Will your presentation have a 2nd speaker? No

Session Information

Session Description

Describe your session in detail.

My university doesn’t have an ePortfolio requirement, but I wish we did. The idea that on graduation a student gets a handshake from the president, a nice, if expensive, piece of paper, and hopefully a lot of knowledge and ability, but no online documentation of these abilities and achievements, is nuts! It’s 2016 and every job or internship you apply for is likely to Google you. Or Bing or Yahoo you. Letting future employers and colleagues find party photos on Facebook instead of an elegant presentation of your work is also nuts. I have all my students create WordPress websites to “turn in” their activities which consist of 2-3 experiences that they blog about each week. As we wrap up the semester and their familiarity with the platform has grown, I try to facilitate their transforming these sites into ePortfolios.

In this talk I’ll briefly review the many online tools I’ve tried with my students: blogs, vlogs, wikis, and more. Then I’ll look at how WordPress is ideally suited both to the weekly activity reports students write during the semester, and for my longer-term hope that they’ll make these websites their CV in cyberspace.

Session Summary

If you had to summarize your talk in a few sentences, describe the key takeaways for the audience. Not required, but will help us greatly process your submission.

Using WordPress for student ePortfolios. By using WordPress to turn in 2-3 activity reports per week, students become familiar with the platform. Before the semester ends I encourage students to modify their WordPress websites to be ePortfolios documenting their achievements in and out of school.

Who do you feel is the best audience for your topic?

Who (types of people in higher ed) do you think would most likely benefit from hearing your talk?

Faculty and students. I’d like to inspire other faculty to explore similar projects, or if they’re already doing so, then to discuss results and implementation options. For any students in the audience I’d love to motivate and empower them to stake out a compelling online presence before they graduate.

  • What is the technical level of your presentation? All skill levels

Tell us about your experience in the subject and past speaking engagements.

Professional speaking experience isn’t required, but pass along any recent or relevant history.

In the past 11 years I’ve taught 4,558 students at CSU Long Beach. From 2006-2011 my students made wikis. From 2011-2016 my students have been creating personal sites, predominantly using WordPress. I’ve personally made about 70 WordPress websites. I spoke about “Sustainable WordPress” at WordCamp Los Angeles 2015:

At MMWCON ’15 (Mobility & Modern Web Conference) I spoke about “EDU Mobile: Using mobile apps like Slack, WordPress, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and others to reinvent university general education for the 21st century.”

Mobility & Modern Web

Is there anything else we should know to make a good decision about your proposal?

Over the years I’ve come to believe that top-down education, where university catalogs dictate roadmaps to students, can never engage students at the deepest level. I’ve become an advocate for self-directed, activity-based, curriculum. For students developing and documenting compelling, 21st century programs, WordPress is a powerful tool for students to archive their process for their own records, and present their investigation to future employers, clients, and colleagues.

  • Do you need any special accommodation to participate in WPCampus? No

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