Student Fellow Partners with Dr. Myron Gutmann to Introduce Wordpress into the Classroom

Published: July 7, 2017

GutmannDr. Myron Gutmann is a professor in the History Department and director of CU’s Institute of Behavioral Science. He describes himself as an interdisciplinary historian, with interests in the history of Europe and the United States, ranging in areas of the environment, economics, and demography. Dr. Gutmann requested assistance from the Teaching Technology Assistance Program for the Spring 2017 semester, and was paired with Student Fellow, Jake Brauchler. At the end of the semester, Jake had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Gutmann to reflect on the successes of the semester and also to discuss some of the areas that were more challenging in teaching his course, HIST 4526 - Recent US Social History. 

One of Dr. Gutmann’s goals for this course was for students to gain an understanding about how to do research using digital resources, and how to present them effectively using the web-based blogging tool, “WordPress.” Dr. Gutmann was pleased to have someone like Jake working with his students to explain how to use this blogging tool. Although many of his students felt that they had a good understanding of technology, he was glad to have Jake’s technical expertise to walk his students through the process of creating an online blog using this tool. 

This was Dr. Gutmann’s 41st year teaching, and he exclaimed that he has seen a lot of changes regarding technology since he first started, including moving away from pencil and paper to an online format. Dr. Gutmann felt that the impact that the TTAP service had on his class was that students learned about a technology in a friendly environment from a student like themselves, while learning a great deal about writing about history. Some of the challenges he faced was that he wished he had had the students start on their projects earlier in the semester, a change he feels will be easy to make for future courses he teaches using this technology. Within WordPress, some of the issues he felt that hindered the project, was the commenting feature: for future projects, he wants the students to use the theme options that allow the commenting to be turned on automatically. When asked if he would recommend the TTAP service to other faculty members, Dr. Gutmann said, “Absolutely! Yes it's been really great. I mean it's one more smart brain helping me figure out these things!”