Join Chris Mattia for an in-depth discussion in this video Subscribing to student feeds, part of WordPress in the Classroom.
- In the last movie, we saw how to use Google Forms in order to capture a bunch of information from our students about their sites. Now we'll leverage that information by copying the feed addresses that we checked and verified and then we'll go into the back end of our site. Go to the Syndicated Sites section and we'll come over here to the right hand side and click on the link for Add Multiple. Then we'll simply paste in the URLs that we just copied. Now notice, we have one URL per line and the URLs need to be the exact URL for the RSS feed.
They need to include the HTTP, all the way to the /feed or whatever the ending of the URL is for the feed. Now we'll go ahead and click the Add button and FeedWordPress will go out and check each of those different sites and once again, verify that the feeds are there, and it'll start pulling some information about the site. Here we can see the names of each of the different blogs and the URLs. Then click the button that says Subscribe to Selected Sources. When the page refreshes, if you come down a little bit further, you're able to see each of the different feeds that we've subscribed to.
Now we need to set up some custom settings on each of those feeds so that we know how each blog is going to be imported into our site. We'll begin by clicking on the first site's Categories section. The way this page is setup, there's a drop-down menu now that will allow us to make all of the setting changes for each user. Then we have the different tabs of Feed, Posts, Authors, and Categories. The only section that we need to make some changes to is the Category section. So, we'll scroll down a little bit further in the page until we get to the section on Categories.
In our form, each user has told us what type of user that they are. So, we know in this case, the user Blue Bird is really one of our registered students. So, we'll check the registered Students category. This way, any post that's made by this user will be added directly to the Students category in our site and all their posts will flow into the correct locations. We'll scroll down to the bottom and click Save Changes. Now we'll change the user to Jeff's Blog.
Once again, we'll scroll down to the Category section and Jeff is also one of our students. We'll scroll down to the bottom and click Save Changes. Then we'll change to Kim's Blog. Come down to the Category section. She's also a student. We'll scroll to the bottom, click Save Changes. Click the drop-down. Now, Sarah is one of our open participants, so when we scroll down to the Category section, we'll check the box for Open Participants and all of her postings will be added into that separate category.
We'll scroll down to the very bottom and click Save Changes. Now, you may be wondering why we're doing this one by one. This is giving us the opportunity to evaluate each student's site or each open participant's site, verify that the site is a legitimate site, and control the specific settings for how their blog posts are going to come into our site, and are going to be displayed inside of our site. There are many other options that you have inside of these settings, and I encourage you to take some time to go through all of them and look and see if any of them suit your particular needs.
Now that we've made all of these changes, let's go ahead and click back on the Syndicated links site. Now we'll click the Update button that's here at the top. What this is going to do is it's going to go through each of the different sites that we've subscribed to and it's going to grab all of the information for all of the different posts for all of these different users. Now that we've subscribed to all these blogs, let's see what FeedWordPress has done for us. Let's first have a look at our users. Notice that a user account has been created for each blog that we've subscribed to.
The username has been automatically picked up from the blog, including the student's name, their email address, and what role that they have inside of our course. We set this up in our main settings area, where we told every new user is going to be a contributor and FeedWordPress honored that setting when it created all of these accounts. The next place to have a look is inside of our posts. Notice we have a lot of posts in here now. These are all of the individual posts that have come in from all of our different users.
All of the categories and tags have been correctly applied. Now let's go ahead and look at our Media section. Here we can see where FeedWordPress advanced filters grab the URLs from every single one of the images that's embedded inside of the student's site, and it's posted them in here, inside of our page. Now let's go ahead and look at the front end of our site. We refresh our browser. Notice that our site now comes alive with content that's flowing in from all of our different student's sites.
On the left hand side, we can see recent student postings and in the middle of our site, we have many posts that are coming in from all of our different users. If we scroll all the way down to the bottom, we can see that our Bibliography is all filled in for us. Our Reflections are showing up correctly, and at the top, if we come down to Unit 01 and Discussions 01, here we can see postings that are coming into our site, from all of our users related to Unit 01 discussions.
Likewise, if we go to Streams and we check all participants, here we're only seeing the postings that are coming in from our one outside participant. Take a few minutes and navigate around the site and see that all of your content came in as you're expecting it. If you notice on the left hand side, Recent Instructor Posts. Since we didn't add any instructors, there's still no content coming into that site. We'll deal with that in a later movie, but for right now, everything appears to be working exactly how we designed it.
Now that we've verified that all of these posts are coming in and our site appears to be working fine, it's time to turn FeedWordPress to automatically run and update our posts. So, we'll come back into the back end of our site one more time, come down to Syndication, Feeds & Updates. Now we'll want to change the Update Scheduling to automatically check for updates after a page loads. Then click the Save Changes button. That way, FeedWordPress will begin automatically checking on a regular basis to make sure that any new posts that are created get syndicated into our site.
In the next chapter, we'll look at testing and refining some of our settings inside of our class site.
- Improving WordPress accessibility
- Configuring WordPress for a class
- Designing a course site
- Strategies for choosing a theme
- Creating pages, categories, and menus
- Managing the flow of course content
- Subscribing to student blog feeds
- Password-protecting posts