Make Connections

WordPress makes a lot of dreams come true.  But it’s not the magic bullet. The WordPress community is.

Yesterday, the ever-inspiring Sue-Anne Sweeney (@MadonnaUAging) showed me this Tedx video by Barbara Sher.  She makes a powerful point. It’s not bad attitude or some other supposed personal character weakness that keeps you from your dreams. It’s isolation.  Isolation is the dream killer.

The remedy for isolation, of course, is to make connections. Meet people. Share your dreams.

So I’ve got a couple suggestions.  Find a WordCamp near you. Find a WordPress group near you.  Join. Share. You’ll meet a people that just might be able you help you. And you just might be able to get the warm feeling that comes from helping somebody else.

If you’re anywhere near the western metro Detroit area this Tuesday, January 9, come join us. Our first meetup is Tuesday, January 9, 2018 in Plymouth, Michigan. RSVP on Eventbrite so we know you’re coming! Bookmark the new site for the group:

WPCampus Online – Ten Plus Ways to Teach With WordPress, a.k.a Open Education

Please join me today at the first WPCampus Online conference. It’s free. If you’re involved with higher education you’ll find it helpful – regardless of whether you’re experienced or new to WordPress.   I’ll be talking about examples of using WordPress to engage students and create an open education.  Here’s the full description:

All times are listed in Central Standard Time.

Date: Monday, January 23, 2017 Time: 2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Location: Room 2

The Magic of Teaching Using WordPress: 10+ Ways to Easily Transform Classes & Excite Students

Open Learning means no more boring disposable assignments and no more locked-down closed LMS’s. In Open Learning, students become to become creators and publishers, instead of passive receptacles for lecture. WordPress is the magic that enables professors to create open learning experiences such as student portfolios, writing-for-public assignments, collaborative open texts, and more. In this session, I will describe ten (or more) ideas and designs for how to customize a WordPress site for a particular instructional use case. For each, I will provide ideas for how faculty can get started themselves – regardless of whether their institution has a formal blogs or domains program. All examples are based on our experiences at the Lansing Community College Open Learn Lab or at some other Domains-of-One’s-Own hosting universities.

Here’s a link to my slides in case this viewer doesn’t display them or you want to download.  Links to all examples are in the slides.

Running Errands for Open Learning Ideas

This is my presentation for Open Ed 2016 in Richmond, VA.   It’s kind of a progress report on the LCC Open Learning Lab project.  It’s very much a work-in-progress (the Lab project, not the presentation).   Assuming the universe cooperates, I’ll follow-up on this posting of the slides with a few long-form posts explaining what I said and going into some more detail.

If perchance your browser or Internet connection takes too long to load the above presentation, you can download the file here.


Coming Out Party for OpenLCC

So the journey that started with creating this blog back in 2008 is taking another big step.  Today I’m launching and announcing the OpenLCC network (  Let me retrace a few steps and explain.

I started this blog with two purposes: teach myself what this “blogging” bru-ha-ha was all about and to see if putting my thoughts about economic news in public might be of interest or use in teaching my classes. Please keep in mind that back in 2008 the economic world was collapsing and we here in Michigan were at ground zero. The textbooks didn’t really have much to say about it. Well it was a rousing success. Students liked it. I liked it. I was hooked. And hooked is probably the right term. I kept going for bigger and bigger fixes. Next it was a self-hosted teaching portfolio & syllabus site at Then it was trying to create a mini-MOOC (Little Open Online Course?) for my principles courses. Student success rose. Engagement rose. It was easier to manage. Then it was getting the students in on the fun.  I let them blog and write in public for my two gen ed -oriented courses.

All this led to an opportunity this year to take some “re-assign time” to create an Open Learn Lab here at Lansing Community College. By the way, for the non-academics, “re-assign time” is a polite way of saying the school lets you cut back your teaching load by the equivalent of approximately a day a week in return for you devoting 2-3 days per week working on some additional project.  Anyway, I did it. And now we’re doing it.  The Open Learn Lab is modeled after the Domains Of One’s Own programs that were pioneered at University of Mary Washington and now at several (20-30?) major universities.  We’re the first community college.  I’m really excited.

Of course this means I’ll likely be blogging about some teaching, higher ed, and open learning topics now. But I hope to also keep blogging about economics (I still do teach some classes!).  Anyway, here’s the presentation for the “coming out” party informational presentation on campus. Like most of my stuff, it’s Creative Commons licensed, BY-SA (attribution and share-alike).  If you want to download the PPT or speaker notes, click on the little gear.


Building a Community of Academics Using Multi-Sites & Multi-Networks – WordCamp A2 2014

I’m speaking this Saturday, Oct 4, 2104, at WordCamp Ann Arbor 2014.  Here’s the teaser from the schedule:

In developing an online voice, higher education faculty face many challenges and a distinct lack of institutional support. Yet there is an enormous opportunity to improve student learning, improve faculty productivity, and reduce costs for faculty through WordPress and related technologies.

Malartu Inc is a non-profit project launched in Michigan to help provide WordPress sites and technologies to higher ed faculty. After a couple of years of planning and experimentation, the project is launching its first sites in summer 2014 using a WP multi-site/multi-network installation. A BuddyPress/Commons-in-a-Box implementation is added to develop a social network space for collaboration within and between schools.

This session will explore the challenges, benefits, and risks of creating a multi-user / mulit-site community with social network features. The presentation is oriented towards: anyone in higher education and power users/developers interested in multi-site.

I’m talking about my recent experiences with my new project, Malartu Inc., a non-profit organization for creating social and web-based technology to help higher education professors be more effective and more productive – especially the legions of professors at teaching schools or that are adjunct.

Here are the slides: