1b) Technical knowledge and ability in the use of learning technology

In this section I will focus on the use of WordPress and WordPress SPLOT themes to facilitate teaching, learning and the dissemination of open practice in a range of different contexts including Higher Education and community networks.  

WordPress is an important learning technology tool owing to its flexibility, ubiquity, minimal cost, and low barrier to use.  As an open source technology with an extensive community of developers and users, it is also ideally suited to supporting open practice.  SPLOTs are open source themes developed by Alan Levine, @cogdog, to create simple collaborative WordPress sites for teaching and learning. 

Open.Ed [1]

Open.Ed is the website of the OER Service at the University of Edinburgh.  The website is a simple WordPress site with a custom theme that runs on servers maintained by colleagues in Digital Learning Applications and Media (DLAM).  Choosing to use WordPress as the platform for the University’s OER Service was a strategic choice based on recommendations I made in the Technology Approaches to OER Management [2] consultancy I undertook, outlined in section 1a.  WordPress provides the University with a solution that is much more flexible and cost effective than a dedicated OER repository.  In addition, the site can be easily customised as the requirements and activities of the service evolve.  WordPress also allows us to pull in syndicated content from other blogs across the University and beyond, to ensure that our home page is regularly refreshed with new content from colleagues who are engaged with and support open practice.  Together with my OER Service colleague, I am responsible for overseeing all content on the Open.Ed website, ensuring it is current, engaging and fit for purpose. 

Screen cap of Open.Ed website

The website of the University of Edinburgh’s OER Service, which I manage.

Blogging to Build Your Professional Profile [3] 

Blogging to Build Your Professional Profile is a digital skills resource I developed, built and maintain to support the University of Edinburgh’s Academic Blogging Service, which was launched in 2018.  The  resources are hosted on a WordPress site that uses the Splotpoint theme for creating rich media slides.  I designed this site to accompany a digital skills workshop, which I also teach, and which I’ll cover in section 1c. The SPLOT format enables workshop participants to access all course materials at a single URL, work through them at their leisure, and refer back to them as they require.  Splotpoint also allows these digital skills resources to be shared under Creative Commons licence on the open web where they can be reused and adapted by others.   All the workshop materials are CC BY licensed, and every page is illustrated with open licensed header images from University of Edinburgh’s Image Collections.  

Screen cap of Academic Blogging site.

Blogging to Build your Professional Profile SPLOTpoint site, which I built and maintain.

In order to disseminate the benefits of using the SPLOT Point WordPress theme, I wrote a blog post about this approach, Blogging to Build your Professional Profile [4].  And in 2020, together with colleagues from the Academic Blogging Service,  I presented a paper called “Blog All About It: Lessons learned from creating a University wide blogging service” [5] at the Hey Pressto! WordPress twitter Conference, which highlighted our use of SPLOT templates to share digital skills resources. 

Screencap of a tweet from the Hey!Pressto Conference

A tweet from our Hey!Pressto Conference presentation

femedtech.net [6]  

femedtech is a reflexive network of people learning, researching and practising in educational technology.  As an informal group with no funding, our resources are our passion, kindness, knowledge, enthusiasm and volunteer time.  Together with Frances Bell,  I developed and built femedtech.net for an Open Space session at the OER19 Conference to explore themes around power, marginality, equality, diversity and inclusion, and to highlight voices that are missing from dominant narratives of “open”.  femedtech.net is a WordPress site that uses the SPLOT TRU Writer theme which makes it easy to post writing and content on the open web without collecting user data. All writing contributed to femedtech.net  is moderated, but to mitigate the power dynamics that exist on the open web,  TRU Writer allows writers to post anonymously if they choose. This enables the femedtch network to be equitable, accessible and inclusive.   I have shared our experience of the effectiveness of using WordPress and TRU Writer SPLOT through a number of conference presentations: 

Screencap of the TRUWriter interface on femedtech.net

The TRUWriter interface on femedtech.net

Open World [10] 

Open World is my professional blog, which I have maintained since 2013. I use my WordPress blog to share my reflections on learning technology, open education practice, politics and feminism, to curate and share my professional practice, to keep a record of my publications, awards and presentations, to share links to other blogs I contribute to and to host my open CMALT portfolio.  


Based on my experience of using WordPress in a range of educational contexts over the last fifteen years I am firmly convinced of its efficacy as a learning technology application.  I have learned a great deal from WordPress developers and implementers and I am committed to sharing examples of its use with the learning technology community.  For example I have been a regular contributor to the PressED and Hey Pressto! Twitter conferences and in 2019 provided advice to new PressED presenters. 

Screencap of my twitter conference tips

My tips for the PressED Conference

Owing to WordPress’ Open Source origins and the collaboration it facilitates, I also believe that it is an important platform for sustaining ethical open practice at a time when we as learning technologists are increasingly questioning the ethics of many commercial ed tech vendors and voicing concerns about the data that they gather about their users. 

The different implementations and uses of WordPress I have highlighted here have, by and large, all proved to be successful and influential in their own way. 

OpenWorld has enabled me to curate and control my own professional identity and to engage with a wide community of learning technologists and open education practitioners and it continues to be my main channel to reflect on my practice and communicate with my peers. 

femedtech.net has hosted a range of different voluntary projects and initiatives and over 70 writings have been posted by members of the international femedtech community.  Although the vast majority of these contributions have been posted under the authors’ own names, I believe that it is crucially important that we continue to support anonymous posting in order to ensure that femedtech.net is a safe space for all marginalized voices to speak up. femedtech.net has been on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic as community members necessarily focused their energy elsewhere, however I have recently refreshed  the site and we hope to use this space to re-engage with and re-energise the femedtech community over the next 12 months. 

Blogging to Build your Professional Profile remains an important component of the digital skills workshop which I continue to teach on a monthly basis. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic I updated these resources and moved the workshop online.  The Splotpoint site has proved to be an ideal format to support online teaching, learning and professional development. 

WordPress has proved to be a highly effective platform for hosting the Open.Ed website over the last six years, however we are now considering moving the site on to the University’s new Drupal-based web publishing platform which is currently under development. This will enable Open.Ed to be integrated more fully with the University’s main website, and help users to find and access the OER Service.  My OER Service colleague and I will continue to manage and update Open.Ed, while responsibility for maintaining the site will move to the  University’s Website and Communications division.  I am excited to see what this transition will bring and to explore the different affordances of moving Open.Ed from WordPress to Drupal. 


  1. Open.Ed. The website of the University of Edinburgh’s OER Service which I manage and keep up to date. 
  2. Barker, P. and Campbell, L.M. (2015), Technology Approaches to OER Management, a Cetis technical briefing for the University of Edinburgh. 
  3. Blogging to Build Your Professional Profile. A WordPress site running the Splotpoint theme which I built and maintain. 
  4. Campbell, L.M. (2018), Blogging to Build your Professional Profile, Open World. 
  5. Slack, J., Campbell, L.M. and Millington, A., (2020), Blog All About It: Lessons learned from creating a University wide blogging service, Hey Pressto! Conference, online, (transcript). 
  6. Femedtech.net.  A WordPress site running the SPLOT TRU Writer theme which I built and maintain.
  7. Campbell, L.M., and Bell, F., (2020), Supporting Diverse Voices with WordPress SPLOTs, Hey Pressto! Conference, (transcript). 
  8. Campbell, L.M., Bell, F., Deepwell, M., and MacNeill, S., (2019), Reflections on the #femedtech Open Space, 2019 PressED Conference, (transcript). 
  9. Campbell, L.M. and McAndrew, E., (2019), Supporting Digital Skills with SPLOTs!, 2019 PressED Conference, (transcript).
  10. Campbell, L.M., Bell, F., Deepwell, M., and MacNeill, S., (2019), #femedtech Open Space, OER19 Recentering Open Conference, NUI Galway. 
  11. Open World.  My professional WordPress blog.