RSS is an acronym which stands for Really Simple Syndication.
In simple terms, RSS is a simple and effective way of keeping in touch when new information is added to a website without having to visit the website to check for new updates.
How it works is you subscribe to your favorite website using the RSS feed in a RSS feed reader such as Google Reader. Whenever new information is added to the website it is automatically sent to your RSS feed reader where you can read it at your convenience.
For example, whenever your favorite blogger publishes a new post it is automatically sent to your Feed reader.
Sites with RSS feeds are normally indicated with the word RSS and/or the orange RSS icon.
For more information, watch RSS in Plain English
Important facts about RSS
- Blogs on all standard blogging platforms automatically include RSS feeds and don’t necessarily use words or an icon to indicate the presence of the RSS feed.
- For all Edublogs, the rss feed is found by going to yourblog.edublogs.org/feed. RSS feed readers like Google Reader automatically detect your RSS feed from your blog URL so there is no need to know the feed URL.
- RSS is automatically disabled on all private blogs to ensure only people who should be able to view the content of your blog are able to.
- To use RSS your privacy settings in Settings > Privacy or My Class > Settings need to be “Allow search engines to index this site.”, ”Ask search engines not to index this site.” or “Block search engines from all blogs, but allow normal visitors to see all blogs”.
Posts > Add New. i.e. you need to have another published post besides the Hello World post for your RSS feed to be created.
- Pages don’t appear in RSS feeds so readers need to visit your blog to view latest page updates.
- RSS lets you do lots of cool stuff including adding latest updates from your favorite blog(s) or news website(s) to your own site using RSS widgets like FeedWind’s RSS widget
Besides providing a feed for your post content, Edublogs.org also provides the other feeds:
Main post content - yourblog.edublogs.org/feed/
Comment feed - yourblog.edublogs.org/comments/feed/
Category feed - yourblog.edublogs.org/category/categoryname/feed/
Tag Feed - yourblog.edublogs.org/tag/tagname/feed/
Author Feed - yourblog.edublogs.org/author/name/feed/
Setting up and using Google Reader
The most commonly used RSS Feed Reader is Google Reader.
Setting up Google reader is as easy as:
1. Create a Gmail account (if you don’t have one)
2. Go to Google Reader and sign in with your Google Account
3. Add the blog to your Google Reader account by:
- Clicking on Subscribe
- Entering their blog URL
- Now click Add
You can also subscribe to all the comments published on student blogs by adding their student comment feed by:
- Clicking on Subscribe
- Entering their comment feed URL. For Edublogs blog you add comments/feed/ to the end of the blog URL. For example it should look like this http://theedublogger.com/comments/feed/
- Now click Add
You follow the exact same steps to subscribe to any other website that has an RSS feed. However, you’d normally locate the RSS feed you want to add and then paste in the feed URL.
Managing Subscriptions using Folders
Folders in Google Reader are like folders on your computer.
You use them to manage the different types of blogs and websites you read. Folders let you easily prioritise your reading and locate subscriptions.
For example, to manage student blogs you can set up different folders for student blogs from each class or a folder for Student Posts and another folder for Student Comments.
Setting up a folder in Google Reader is a simple as:
1. Hover your mouse over the blog title to display the drop down arrow.
2. Click on the drop down arrow to display the subscription options.
3. Select New Folder.
4. Name your new folder and click OK.
Adding subscriptions to your folder is as simple as:
1. Left mouse click on a blog title.
2. Drag the blog into the folder.
3. Then release your mouse to place it in the folder.
Alternatively, you can bulk add subscriptions to a folder using your subscription page:
1. Go to Options and select Reader Settings.
2. Click on the Subscriptions tab.
3. Select the subscriptions you want to add to a folder.
4. Click on drop down arrow next to More Actions and select the Folder you want to add the subscriptions to.
Reading posts inside Google Reader
Latest posts from the blogs and websites you subscribe are automatically added to your Google Reader when they’re published.
You read them inside Google Reader as follows:
1. Log into your Google Reader account
2. Click on the folder you want to read.
3. Make sure it is set to Expanded view so you see the full post.
3. The number of unread posts is shown in brackets next to the folder name.
4. Just scroll down through the posts in the folder to read all posts.
5. As you scroll the posts will automatically be marked as read and the number of unread posts listed next to the folder name will decrease.
6. Just click on the post’s title to visit a post to add a comment