WordPress provides a free, open-source platform that powers 24% of Internet websites. The architecture of WordPress has been built on PHP and MySQL which allows developers to create free and premium plugins which integrate into the WordPress Core. WordPress also allows developers to create themes that expand the design and functionality of WordPress itself.
Hamilton currently uses 3 installations of WordPress (2 multisite and 1 single site). Using the multisite WordPress functionality, Hamilton has been able to quickly create and theme our public facing websites such as hamiltoncityschools.com, hamiltoncityschools.com/hamiltonhigh, and many other building websites. We also harness the power of a WordPress install for internal usage sites such as tech.hcsdoh.net, branding.hcsdoh.net, and io.hcsdoh.net. WordPress has allowed Hamilton to quickly fire up, brand, and control websites at the click of a button.
At the end of last school year, we decided to implement SSL certificates on all of our WordPress websites. This means that all logins that take place on a Hamilton WordPress environment are now encrypted between the server and the client. This is one method we have used to help alleviate WordPress vulnerabilities. Keeping a secure WordPress environment requires thought, planning, and testing. In addition to SSL protection, we only select regularly updated plugins, update the WordPress Core on a weekly basis, and only choose themes that are fast and responsive.
This year we fired up a new WordPress site which we are using for Hamilton’s staff professional development. After testing, we are rolling out a WordPress site that uses LearnDash, a LMS plugin for WordPress and a Google Apps Login plugin. This will allow Hamilton to provide a “serve yourself” online PD model that allows users to use their district assigned Google Account to login. LearnDash will use their Google Account information to record progress of a course and award open badges that will be recorded for personal and professional purposes. Before rolling out the system, our technology department went through many planning sessions the ensure that the rollout would be smooth and the product would meet our goals. So far, the rollout has been fantastic. Our staff members are enrolling in online professional development courses and earning badges which are tracked by our licensure committee.
More to come on WordPress, LearnDash and SSO.