Blocks

Coursewide RSS feeds

 
 
Picture of Rick Danielson
Coursewide RSS feeds
 
The following appeared in a recent posting on the AAHE list:
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Below is a short description of his contribution and also the URLs for both the old and new sites.

³Course Management Systems (CMS) have become a very prominent tool on college and university campuses. These tools (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT,
eCollege) provide faculty with a ready-to-use platform for creating online and hybrid courses. Faculty can post and collect assignments, conduct online synchronous and asynchronous discussions, and conduct online assessments.
These features are all available from one location (one URL), anytime, and anywhere Internet access is available.
RSS (Real Simple Syndication) allows web sites and blogs to be "broadcast"
across the Internet using XML, a descendant of HTML .  These broadcast signals¹ are picked up by programs called aggregators where you can read a collection of RSS Feeds to which you have subscribed. RSS Feeds are set up to transmit new postings or information on a specified cycle, typically at least once per day, providing the feed subscribers with an up-to-date news/information source.  At present no CMS offers the ability to aggregate RSS Feeds, but one can see how a constant stream of up-to-date information would be beneficial to many courses. Until the CMS manufacturers adds aggregator functionality, we can use programs like those described in this LTA to convert an RSS Feed into a format that can be used by a CMS.²
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I am not using RSS in my moodle system, but am interested in doing so.  The section in the AAHE posting which perked my attention was the phrase "At present no CMS offers the ability to aggregate RSS Feeds..."  Is that true for Moodle as well?  I was just interested.  Thanks.
Rick Danielson
 
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Picture of Mark Stevens
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holders
Moodle has RSS smile When you create a forum, you have several options regarding RSS including how many postings to include in the feed. You can see it all over the Moodle.org site smile It's been around for quite some time now... can anyone elaborate?

Can you give more information about the AAHE list you are referring to?  Any links?  Thanks, Mark
 
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Picture of Rick Danielson
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
Yes, I know Moodle has RSS.  I just wasn't sure about the aggregate comment (see in bold below).  Anyway, the entire post from the list is included below.  Sorry for all the text.  I couldn't figure out a way of forwarding the AAHE post to the Moodle list.
Rick Danielson

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(2/2/2005) TLT-SWG #L1:  Approx. one page from Chas. Ansorge of the University of Nebraska <cansorge@unl.edu>

This is the first posting of 2005 regarding Low Threshold Applications.  And it is an extra special posting because in addition to announcing a new LTA, we are also announcing the changing of the guard from an old-style website to one that is brand new and uses the latest technology.

The process of moving the LTA collection from one server to another and putting the old LTAs in the new format began nearly six months ago.  Credit for doing this and for the time involved in this project goes to Alan Levine, technologist at Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona.  Alan is a ³once geologist turned technologist.²  Alan, among the many other things that occupies his time, is very interested in weblogs or BLOGS.  In fact, I think he is downright passionate about them and what they may be able to offer.

The idea of a new format for the LTA collection first came up in the spring of 2004.  A good deal of thought has been given to how much time it was taking to prepare the LTAs and making them available to interested viewers of the site.  Was there a better way to present the information?  Could a site be created that would make it possible for comments to easily be offered regarding the LTAs?  Is there a way to search the collection to find LTAs?  This is only a sample of the questions we asked.

The short of the story is that we now have the new site ready.  And as we pass the torch from the old to the new, both the URLs will be listed.  Take a test drive around the new site and see all of the features that it has.

Alan has agreed to send information to me that I¹ll post about his thoughts regarding the development of the site.  He knows best of all the many new features that are being offered.

What is also special about this posting is announcing LTA #44, ³Integrating
RSS Feeds into Your Course Management System.²   Author for this LTA is
Kristopher Wiemer, Instructional Technology Specialist, Philadelphia University.

Below is a short description of his contribution and also the URLs for both the old and new sites.

³Course Management Systems (CMS) have become a very prominent tool on college and university campuses. These tools (e.g., Blackboard, WebCT,
eCollege) provide faculty with a ready-to-use platform for creating online and hybrid courses. Faculty can post and collect assignments, conduct online synchronous and asynchronous discussions, and conduct online assessments.
These features are all available from one location (one URL), anytime, and anywhere Internet access is available.
RSS (Real Simple Syndication) allows web sites and blogs to be "broadcast"
across the Internet using XML, a descendant of HTML .  These broadcast signals¹ are picked up by programs called aggregators where you can read a collection of RSS Feeds to which you have subscribed. RSS Feeds are set up to transmit new postings or information on a specified cycle, typically at least once per day, providing the feed subscribers with an up-to-date news/information source.  At present no CMS offers the ability to aggregate RSS Feeds, but one can see how a constant stream of up-to-date information would be beneficial to many courses. Until the CMS manufacturers adds aggregator functionality, we can use programs like those described in this LTA to convert an RSS Feed into a format that can be used by a CMS.²

Kris has informed me he has made this LTA available to faculty on his campus and has already had a number who contacted him and said they were successful in adding an RSS Feed to any content section of their CMS site.  It¹s relatively easy.  Try it.

Here are the URLs where you may view this LTA.

First the old:  http://www.tltgroup.org/LTAs/ltaw/

Now the new:  http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/lta/

Please let us know what you think about our new format.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
      Steven W. Gilbert, President, The TLT Group

TLT Group's Events, including Free WebCasts:
http://www.tltgroup.org/events.htm

Please duplicate and/or forward the message above AND this "signature" information to your friends and colleagues who might find it useful.

SEND YOUR PUBLIC REPLY, COMMENT, OR NEW MESSAGE FOR DISTRIBUTION TO THE TLT-SWG LIST TO:
<GILBERT@TLTGROUP.ORG>
To send a private reply or comment to the same address, insert "PRIVATE" in the subject line.

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Hosted by both the John A. Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning and the Office of Information Technologies at the University of Notre Dame.
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Picture of Przemyslaw Stencel
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
Moodle can broadcast RSS feeds, but not aggregate them, AFAIK.

Might be a good idea, though.
 
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Picture of Mark Stevens
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holders
Thanks for the info, and I am sorry I misunderstood your question.

Wouldn't aggregating RSS feeds from courses make forum posts open to anyone not in the course?  Which isn't necessarily bad, but maybe not wanted...
 
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Picture of Jon Bolton
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
It wouldn't as it works currently. Although the title of the post is displayed, clicking on the link takes you to the forum itself, which then requires a login if you're not a member of the course.
 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
Hi Rick!

Have you considered contacting the writer and "enlightening" him/her about the status of RSS and Moodle (VLE)?

WP1

 
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Picture of Rick Danielson
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
Well, seing as how I don't really know what I don't know about RSS, I thought someone else would be a better ambassador in that regard.  That's why I included the whole post from the AAHE list.  smile
Rick
 
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Picture of Daryl Hawes
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
A news aggregator is an application (web based or otherwise) that will read rss feeds (remote or otherwise) and display their key information in some form. RSS feeds contain author info, article title, and entry excerpts for the most part. News aggregators can be used to peruse the top headlines from multiple sources at once allowing you to reach out for the full article of only those things that catch your eye.

Here is a wikipedia link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_aggregator

On Mac OS X Pulp Fiction or NewNewsWire might be used.
Pulp Fiction can be found at http://freshsqueeze.com/products/pulpfiction/
NetNewsWire can be found at http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/

Pulp Fiction's interface:


NetNewsWire's interface:


For Windows users you might try something like Aggreg8 http://www.aggreg8.net or perhaps BlogMatrix http://jaeger.blogmatrix.com/

Aggreg8's interface:


The BlogMatrix interface:
http://jaeger.blogmatrix.com/aboutit/screenshots/

You can also go to some online sites to read news such as http://www.bloglines.com/

Does moodle have a news aggregator?
The answer is yes for 1.4.x and yes for 1.5 when it arrives.

For 1.4 use the RssFeed2 block which can be found posted in this forum http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=13314

Moodle 1.5 has a new rss_client block as part of the base installation. I have not posted any screen shots of this in action yet but you can see it installed at http://test.moodle.com at the moment.
 
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Picture of Marc Dastous
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 

Daryl,

What am I doing incorrectly here?  I have installed a fresh copy of 1.5 Dev and added a valid feed URL.  It shows up in the RSS Feeds list.  However, the block 1) disappears when I log out and 2) continues to show the Add/Edit feeds link instead of the actual links when I am editing.  See images in the attached zip file.

How can I fix this?

Marc

 
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Picture of Daryl Hawes
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
Just to be clear - have you clicked the edit icon in the block header to configure that block instance? In your attached rss.jpg image it's the hand holding the pencil.
Daryl
 
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Picture of Marc Dastous
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 

That did it!  I wasn't clear on that step.

Thank you.

Marc

 
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Me and Ray
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 

Dear  Daryl Hawes

The RSS block is very cool, thank you.

A couple of minor points.

1) The spacing is rather spacey. Could the spaces after the titles and before the spacer bar be removed? (see picture)

2) When one selects to have the feed description then a LONG description is displayed, but on the feed edit page there is a short one. Is it possible to choose to have the short feed description displayed?

3) I made the same mistake as Marc above. I wonder if there need to be two edit screends, one for editing the feeds themselves and one for editing the block display? Could the two be amalgamated? Or are the feeds site-wide and the block just an instance, so they need to be seperate? If so then this is similar to the reason why the quiz is a bit confusing. The second quiz page a question management page. The first quiz edit page shows the settings for the instance of the quiz. Perhaps like the quiz you could have a two teir edit, so that the adding a feed forces the user to see the edit screen for the instance. Or like I think the quiz should become, have a RSS feeds editing button in a complete different place - in the administration screen and block.

4) Putting the whole text of the articles is too long for a block, but having just the titles ends up more like a links list missing the rss magic. Would it be possible to be able choose     'The first x words of the article....

I like it,

Thanks 

Timothy
Thanks to the linguist for the RSS feed on ESL


 
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Picture of Daryl Hawes
Re: Coursewide RSS feeds
 
1) The spacing is rather spacey. Could the spaces after the titles and before the spacer bar be removed? (see picture)
I have uploaded a change. The title had two br tags after its div, I have reduced it to a single break.


2) When one selects to have the feed description then a LONG description is displayed, but on the feed edit page there is a short one. Is it possible to choose to have the short feed description displayed?
I am using the "description" tag from the rss feed. My understanding of rss says that this description should actually be short to begin with - ie. the feed author should not be posting the full text in this field. If you see the test.moodle.com feeds that Martin has chosen such as slashdot and now sfgate.com you'll notice that the descriptions are cut off at a certain point. They were cut off by the feed author, not the client reader. Anoyone else have any thoughts on whether enforcing a certain length for the description is a good idea?


3) I made the same mistake as Marc above. I wonder if there need to be two edit screends, one for editing the feeds themselves and one for editing the block display? Could the two be amalgamated? Or are the feeds site-wide and the block just an instance, so they need to be seperate? [...]
There are two unique editing areas.
The first is the "Add/Edit feeds" page. The add/edit feed page shows all rss feeds defined for your site (and thus cached in a single instance for the site). This page is linked to from the block admin page - visit moodle/admin.php and click blocks then click settings for the "Remote RSS Feeds" block. This page might be also linked to from the block itself - if the person reading the block is allowed to modify feeds defined for the site. To determine who has access to this capability again visit moodle/admin.php and click blocks then click settings for the "Remote RSS Feeds" block and make note of the "block_rss_client_submitters" option.
The second editing area is the list of feeds displayed when you configure an instance of a block. This is the full list of feeds that have been defined on the add/edit feeds page.
The two editing options cannot be combined. Adding a feed does not automatically associate that feed with a block instance. I hope that this explanation helps.


4) Putting the whole text of the articles [...]
Is this the same as your #2 point?
 
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