Is there a useful website that you would like your students to keep up-to-date with? Or a discipline-specific publication that often has articles relevant to your topic? Then an RSS feed in SyD could be just the thing you need. Once a feed has been added to a site a block will appear with the latest headlines/updates from the chosen publication or website. For example, you can see an RSS feed from THE (Times Higher Education) on the Preparing to Teach SyD site. It brings the 5 most recent headlines from that publication into the SyD site and is automatically updated.
RSS feeds are a great way of bringing dynamic content to your SyD site, engaging and supporting students, encouraging them to read more widely around a topic and highlighting the ‘real world’ relevance of course content.
If the feed you want has already been used by someone at Sussex it will probably appear in the list on SyD and adding it to your site is just a matter of a few clicks. If the feed you want is not in the list it is easy to add it. The current list includes feeds from websites, blogs, newspapers, journals, internal Sussex news, twitter, bookmarks etc. across a range of disciplines. For example: New Scientist, Guardian Education, IT services, Nature, Guardian Technology, BBC Business News, Le Monde, Journal of Sociology, ASA Globalog, The Economist, Media Guardian, S3 current topics, Sussex Global on Twitter, and of course RUSTLE.
To see the full list of available feeds and add one to your site just follow these three steps:
- Login to your SyD site and click on the editing icon (pencil) at the top of the main page.
- Go to ‘Blocks’ and from the drop-down menu choose ‘Remote RSS feeds’. That will add a small, empty block called ‘Remote News Feed’ to your page.
- To choose the feed you want, click on the pencil icon under ‘Remote News Feed’ and a window will open called ‘Configuring a Remote RSS Feeds Block’. Just tick the feed you want and click ‘save changes’ – you can leave all the other settings as they are.
That is all there is to it! If you want to, you can then move the block up or down, over to the left or right. If you want more than one feed you can add more blocks, or combine feeds into a single block by ticking multiple feeds (in which case you will also want to add a title to your block).
Adding a new feed to the list takes a few more steps, but is easy to do and the Study Direct team is always willing to help you get started.
- First, you need to find the feed you want. Look out for the orange RSS icon on web pages. Some bigger sites like the BBC may have a list of RSS feeds.
- Copy the URL from the RSS feed and go back to SyD.
- Set up you blank RSS block as before, then click on the pencil icon and choose ‘manage my feeds’.
- Paste the URL into the ‘add a news feed URL’ box.
- Click on ‘validate feed’. If the congratulations box appears you are ready to click on ‘Add’. If you also tick ‘shared feed’ your feed will be added to the main list for other colleagues to use in future.
- You can then go to ‘configure this block’ and choose your feed from the list.
If you have any experiences of using RSS feeds with your students please share them in the comments box. And if there is a SyD activity or resource type you would like to know more about just add a comment and it might be the subject of the next ‘What else can we do with SyD?’ post.
In the meantime, you can get support using SyD from the Help on Study Direct pages and at drop-in sessions every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 2pm and 4pm by visiting the ITS helpdesk in Shawcross.