Random Thoughts on Instructional Design
Would you like to include current thoughts and works of industry professionals into your course? Does your course refer to or rely upon current events? Are you wrestling with ways to include additional guest speakers in online course that cross time zones? One way to address these issues is through the use of RSS feeds.
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Most major news sources, professional journals, broadcasting stations, education journals; and, many faculty, institutions and corporations offer RSS feeds from their websites.
Linking to RSS feeds within your Angel course space can provide multimedia content on a topic pertinent to your course, and allow students get up-to-the-minute content without the confusion of leaving the course space or opening a new browser window.
This tutorial will provide:
Thanks to a simple tool available on the internet RSS feeds can be incorporated into Angel courses in 4 easy steps.
Virtually all major news outlets feature RSS feeds on their websites — although some “bury” them within paragraphs or toward the bottom of the page in small print. Examples include the Washington Post, NY Times, NPR, BBC, Associated Press, and The Economist.
If you are not sure which website will provide the information that you are seeking, you may want to explore search engines like:
Or, look at RSS feed listings service like:
A number of search engines and listing services noted above allow you to view their search results in RSS format, enabling you to monitor topics of interest.
For this tutorial we will assume that a faculty member wants to include interview podcasts from “Science Magazine” in their course lecture materials.
A. Open a browser window and navigate to http://www.sciencemag.org/
B. Click on the Multimedia tab. The “ Science Multimedia Center” page will be displayed.
C. Click on the More podcasts link listed under the SCIENCE PODCAST header. The Science Podcast page will be displayed.
D. Click on the podcast feed link located in the middle of the first paragraph. A popup window will be displayed.
E. Copy the url displayed in the popup window (highlight the url with the cursor then press the ctrl+C keys to copy).
F. Close the popup window and move to the next step.
B. Paste the url copied in Step 1 into the URL field.
C. Select whether to show information about the originator of the feed (show info, show just the title, or show no info)
D. You can use the Number of Items to Display field to indicate how many you want visible on your page. If you enter zero (0), all items are shown. If you enter a number greater than 0, only the latest items up to the number entered will be displayed on the course site.
E. Enter 0, 1, or n>1 (n= the number of description characters to be displayed for each item in course). I suggest that 1 be entered in this field.
F. Indicate whether to show the posting date of the item (default is no). I suggest that this be set to Yes so that the viewer knows when the content was posted to the web.
G. Denote if a new browser window should be opened when the viewer clicks on one of the resource links.
A. Click on the [Preview] button located at the bottom of the Feed2JS form.
D. Move on to step 4. (If you are not going to add this information to your course immediately paste the information into a Notepad document and save the document to local computer.)
A. Log into the Angel and navigate to your course.
B. Add the content to a course page or Section News component.
I hope that some of you find this tutorial useful.