We launched WordPress.viu.ca as a blogging/website service for faculty at Vancouver Island University in early 2012. The site is set up as a WordPress multisite network, so we maintain one version of the software/code and faculty can login and create blogs which exist within the VIU WordPress network of sites. WordPress sites have been created for courses, departments, projects, faculty profiles, and for community engagement and communication.
We currently have quite a number of active blogs on wordpress.viu.ca. The measure of ‘active’ for blogs is a tough one, as some blogs are updated once a semester, some are active during certain times of the year, and some have been created as faculty profile pages which do not get updated too often. Furthermore, making this measure difficult is that at wordpress.viu.ca the active blogs list only shows sites which have recent posts, and does not show blogs with recently updated pages (posts and pages are the two basic types of content on WordPress, pages are generally more static such as an about me or contact page, whereas posts are more like news articles which are frequently added and listed by date) Complicating the issue even further is that sites on wordpress.viu.ca can be hidden from search engines and made private, so some active blogs will not show up in the active blogs list.
We have been asked if WordPress is the preferred or most popular platform for faculty/staff blogs. In my opinion, I believe faculty appreciate that it is linked to their institutional user account, so they do not have to create a separate account and remember another password. Furthermore wordpress.viu.ca is hosted on our campus, so the data is on our servers and maintained by our Information Technology department. I also believe faculty like having their blog in the VIU domain, so that the URL shows wordpress.viu.ca/myblog!
In terms of growth, I did a quick analysis early this summer, since we launched in 2012 we have had a total of 241 blogs created in our network. We now have 199 registered users in the network; as some faculty have multiple blogs. A large part of these numbers are non active blogs, as we did a great deal of training on WordPress in 2012 and faculty set up a blog then did not continue blogging. Of the 241 total blogs 80 have been updated within 2014; 53 were updated last in 2013; and 108 were updated last in 2012.
WordPress runs over 18% of the websites on the internet. It is probably the most sophisticated and active open source software project in the world. The software is constantly evolving and is highly adaptable/flexible for the creation of a variety of websites. The project is committed to open standards which makes embedding content from other sources quite simple, so you can integrate YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and other social channels quite easily into your content.
If you are interested in using WordPress at VIU for a blog, website or project please contact the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning.