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Session 9: Blogs and RSS Feeds

Page history last edited by mary.mcglasson@... 14 years, 8 months ago

What's a Blog? 


A "Blog," short for "weblog," is . . . . well, just watch this video, Blogs in Plain English:


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How are Blogs Useful for teaching?

Blogs about teaching:


Blogs for teaching (actual class/course sites):


THINKING QUESTION: How might you use a blog for teaching?

Create Your Own Blog!

Like the Wiki Tools we covered in Workshop#2, there are a dizzying array of blogging tools (if you'd like to investigate some blogging resources outside of the one we'll be using in this session, see Baffled aBout Blogs). 


For today, we're going to stick with Blogger -- we decided on Blogger because it "plays well with others" (i.e., lots of Web 2.0 tools dovetail nicely with this tool) and because it's a bit easier for the first-time user.


How to Create a Blog with Blogger:

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PLAY TIME:  Tinker with the look of your Blogger page:

  • Choose a theme (click here for "How to Change Your Blogger Theme" reference handout)
  • Add a profile image
  • Play with the available elements; rearrange the elements on your page for a look that you like (click here for a "Customize Your Blogger Blog" reference handout)
  • Add a poll to your blog (Click here for a "How to Use WebsitePolls with Blogger" reference handout):



Other tools to try: Add the Gadget of your choice to your blog! 

Adding a Gadget to Your Blog:

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Note: If you are using Blogger as a course site and want to limit access just to your students, you can view this video on privacy settings.


Did you know that you can post to your blog without even having access to a computer?  

If you can send a text with your cellphone, then you can post to your blog. How great is that if you have to be out of town, or an afterthought occurs to you that your students really should know?


  • Add a text entry via cell phone.
  • Add a photo via cell phone or upload.
  • Create a blog from your cell phone -- you can add it to your existing blog later.
  • Click here for a "Start Your Own Mobile Blog" reference sheet.



How to Use Blogger Mobile:

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What's an RSS Feed?


RSS in Plain English:

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Why would I need an RSS feed? Well, two reasons, really:


  1. If you want to "subscribe" to someone else's blog so that you can always see their latest posts. Try it! Add an RSS feed from another site that you like, e.g., news, tech help, a blog from your teaching discipline, or someone else's blog from this workshop.


  1. If students "subscribe" to your feed, then updates will be sent to them as you post them -- the students won't have to visit your class site to see if there's something new, instead they will be notified when there's something new. 
  • Video demo: Set up an RSS feed for your own blog in Blogger
  • Show students how to subscribe to your feed (this may be easier for participants to grasp if they have each subscribed to a feed themselves in the previous section of the workshop)



Educause*:     7 Things You Should Know About Blogs

                    7 Things You Should Know About Videoblogging

                    7 Things You Should Know About RSS



* The "7 Things" about any given topic are:

  1. What is it?
  2. Who's doing it?
  3. How does it work?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning? 



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