RSS Feeds Into A Widget for D2L

Part of my previous (and current) job was (is) to document and describe how to accomplish tasks in our LMS, Desire2Learn. However, there’s lots of things that I learned from others, but have since forgotten the original source, and moreover, can’t find a simple answer for what I used to know. Networked learning indeed. So, the next few posts (hopefully at a more regular interval) will have links to resources that I should know how to do, and push to document locally in PDF format with nice screenshots and everything.

I can’t believe I didn’t document this, nor kept a copy of the process for this, but The Clever Sheep has already done it via video, so I’ll link here: – there’s a primer on RSS and what it means, which is not entirely useful for my purposes. Typically my usage is in response to a question like: How do I get an RSS feed into my course? I like to use PDFs to document things – people tend to need to see pictures, and like to print out instructions to have next to them as they do the task. Usually my PDFs get spit out as a response to a question I’ve had more than once, and as such, they get the benefit of many iterations of feedback on the writing and how functional the instructions are.

We’re upgraded to 9.4.1 of the D2L Learning Environment, but will be going to Version 10 soon. From my preliminary investigation of version 10 (thanks Matt Teskey and D2L for the early access) the process doesn’t change and pre-existing RSS Feed widgets import into the new course just fine – nothing breaks.

I would also have to acknowledge the great work that Alan Levine did with Feed2Js, and Barry Dahl who’s presentation on Web 2.0 in the LMS was the starting point for where I’ve gone in the last four years.  So here’s my gift back – How to Embed a RSS feed in a D2L Homepage Widget (PDF). Bonus offer: if you would like to edit the original document, I’ll be glad to share that too, drop a comment and I’ll get in touch directly.

8 Replies to “RSS Feeds Into A Widget for D2L”

  1. That’s great Jon, and thanks for the reference to the “Web 2.0 in D2L” from the old days. Are you okay with me highlighting this post in the D2L Community? One of the things that I want to get started (real soon, I promise) is a featured guest post from people like you. Seems like a good one to start with. Cool with you?

  2. Barry of course! Anything I can do to help.

  3. the video referenced is no longer current especially re: google reader. reader replaced the old ‘share’ with google+ sharing a while ago – breaking the old sharing widget. (i’d been showing people the same thing for a long time…)
    since watching the video, i did discover how to create a similar functionality in the ‘new’ version of reader.
    in the new version, to accomplish a similar output, a user must use the tags feature of an individual post and tag the post with a term or terms. (rather than share the post outright. the tag is an intermediate step in the process, but ultimately more powerful than the simple old-style ‘share’)
    in my google reader the left column contains a link: ‘Browse for stuff’. This brings me to a page where i can create a bundle or bundles. a bundle can be created using whole feeds, but for this functionality, we want to use tags. so, create a bundle and drag in the appropriate tag(s).
    once you’ve created a bundle, you can create a ‘bundle clip’ for similar functionality as the old ‘share’. (‘create a bundle clip’ is another link that takes you to a page that creates the .js needed for the clip to work)
    this is actually quite powerful, since you can create several bundle clips and utilize the same tags across several, or mix-and-match, to create a more targeted bundle clip in a given course or blog or whatever, with minimal work in reader. just use your tags, and the content will cascade out through the appropriate bundle clips.
    thanks for pointing this out on the community page, barry!


  4. Thanks for the update – I never knew about bundles, I’ll have to check them out.

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  7. Hi Jon, I’ll add this note in hopes that anyone reading your post will also see this addendum. The browsers (most of them, anyway) have changed the way they handle mixed content on https: sites – so anyone building this widget needs to make sure that the “s” is added to their embed code, resulting in an embed that uses https:
    Cheers, Barry

  8. If they don’t read the comments they’re missing the best part. I think I’ll have to redo this whole thing – with a piece about downloading and installing Cogdog’s Feed2JS. Yet another summer project!

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