What are RSS feeds?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed is a tool that allows websites and other online media services to regularly and automatically share their most recent content with their viewers. The feeds are especially helpful for sites that post a lot of content such as news publications and blogs.
What are RSS readers?
RSS readers (such as Google Reader, My Yahoo, and Feedly) allow users to add multiple feeds to one website. Readers make it easier to stay up-to-date with any favorite websites and publications.
How can you use RSS feeds in your course?
Some possibilities include:
- Sharing your favorite online resources and publications with students
- Encouraging students to stay current in their discipline
- Using key websites as required readings
- Asking students to incorporate timely articles into course discussions or group activities
- Creating feeds for keywords related to course units or topics
- Incorporating your blog entries (created outside of Blackboard) into your course
Two Ways to Add RSS Feeds to Your Blackboard Course
The items below include step-by-step instructions for two ways that you can add RSS feeds to your course. It may seem like there are a lot of steps, but after you try it once or twice, the process will become more straightforward.
- How to add a single RSS feed for a website or blog (PDF)
- How to add a feed of the latest Google News results related to a keyword in your discipline (PDF)
Video Tutorial: How to Add RSS Feeds to Blackboard
Important Tips for Using RSS Feeds in Your Course
- The content will update automatically, so make sure that you only select websites that will update with material that will be appropriate for your course. (For example, you may not want to add a feed to a YouTube channel that may include inappropriate videos.)
- Since the feed calls to external websites, regularly check your feed to make sure it is working and that none of the links are broken.
- If the feed does break, re-generate the code for the feed and copy and paste over the existing code in the Blackboard item.
- Provide students with clear expectations and instructions for how they should use the course feeds. Are they required or optional? Do they relate to a specific assignment or activity? Is there a preferred venue for notifying others in the class if one of the articles is especially relevant?
Do you have other ideas for how you can use RSS feeds in your course? Let us know in the comments!