Laura Gibbs

Fall 2017: Story of a Blog Network (2): live streams in Canvas

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Aug 15, 2017

Here's an update on yesterday's post: it's now Day 2 of Week 0 (the week before classes officially start)... and there are already 15 blogs up and running. So, I set up the first iteration of the Blog Directory at my class wiki and then (drum roll!) I created live blog streams in Canvas!




Here is the first version of the Class Directory:


directory screenshot showing blog links

It's easy to update; I already have the URLs for the blogs in a spreadsheet, plus the students' names, so I just copy-and-paste those two columns into a text file, do a find-and-replace to fill in the HTML, and presto: I can paste the links into my Directory page. It takes just a minute, so I'll keep on updating each day until the blogs are all up and running, which should be on Wednesday of next week.




And here's something really cool: after writing the post yesterday, I got to thinking that it might actually be fun to have the live blog stream in Canvas even though I have not done that before. My guess is the students will get a boost from seeing the live stream, especially when they can look and see their own posts popping up. Since they log on to Canvas to record their grade after each post, that's a way for them to take a peek and see who else might be posting at the same time they are! I need to write up some kind of extra credit thing for them to explore the blog stream this way, leaving comments for people who happen to be posting around the same time they do!


It was very easy to set up the Blog Stream pages in Canvas. One way is super-easy; just use the Redirect Tool to point to my Inoreader stream. But I want to provide a little context for what they are seeing, so I opted for the easy way (as opposed to super-easy). This is what I did, step by step:


1. Inoreader stream. I already have my class folders set up in Inoreader for Myth-Folklore and for Indian Epics, and I already have the syndication option turned on. So I just grabbed the iframe code I need for each class from Inoreader. I actually don't mess with all those customizations; I just need the src code as you'll see in the next step. But the customization options are there:


Inoreader html clippings customization screen


2. Canvas iframe. I tweaked the options a little bit to get the iframe that I've decided works well for displaying magazine-style streams in Canvas. I also changed the Inoreader http to https. Here's the resulting iframe code:


<p><iframe style="float: left;" src="" width="100%" height="5200"></iframe></p>


3. Canvas Page. I created a new page in each course called Blog Stream, with a quick explanatory paragraph up top, a horizontal rule, and then the iframe below. It looks great!


screenshot of blog stream in Canvas


4. Redirect Tool for Canvas navigation. I used the Redirect Tool to add the new Blog Stream page to the navigation.


screenshot of Canvas navigation



So, now I have live blog feeds in all three of my Canvas course spaces. I am guessing the students will in fact get a kick out of that, especially when they see their own post popping up in the stream. As always, you can access my two different courses with a simple URL:


I'm really not sure what use the students might make of the live blog streams, but even if they just take it as a "sign of life" for the class, it was definitely worth 15 minutes of my time to set it up. :-)