I'm getting a little ahead of myself here by writing about Inoreader tags versus folders (this post is part of my InoreaderTutorials series), but I wanted to do this now in order to answer Michelle Pacansky-Brock's questions and to explain what I did in creating this Canvas Feed page for the Reflective Writing Canvas course space:
The live feed that you see displayed there contains items with the cccwritepost tag in my Inoreader files. In this post, I will explain how tags work in Inoreader, and how you can make good use of both tags and folders to share content in Canvas or anywhere that you can embed HTML clippings.
FEEDS IN FOLDERS. The main way to organize content in Inoreader is to put feeds (blog feeds, other RSS feeds, other social media feeds) into folders. So, for example, I created a folder for CCCWrite. At the moment, it has 19 live blog feeds, and I will be adding to that as more people join the class and share their blog addresses. And yes, you can put a feed in more than one folder; for example, I was already subscribed to Michael Berman's blog in my EdBlogs folder, and now I have included his blog in the CCCWrite folder also. Here's a screenshot of that folder view in my Inoreader:
POSTS WITH TAGS. In addition to organizing content in folders, you can also organize content by tags, which are assigned post by post. These tags can be automatically assigned by Inoreader and you can also manually add/remove tags from any item. You can view content by tags in Inoreader; in a sense, they are like folders, but instead of containing feeds, they contain individual posts:
Why use tags? Using tags gives you an added level of control that you do not have with folders. When you use folders, all the content from all the feeds in that folder will be labeled as being inside that folder; you can add and remove feeds in a folder, but you cannot manage individual posts. With tags, you are working on the post-by-post level, and you can add and remove the tag label for any post from any feed. You can also use Inoreader to assign tags automatically to all the posts in a feed or even all the posts in a folder, and then edit those tags as needed. I'll say more about Inoreader's amazing rule system in a future post. Rules are the reason why I use the "pro" version of Inoreader: unlimited rules! I need them!
CCCWrite Folder versus CCCWritePost Tag. Here's how the difference between folders and tags is important for the CCCWrite project. Some people are using blogs that are totally dedicated to CCCWrite, or else they are using tags within their own blog to designate the CCCWrite posts. Other people are using blogs that have lots of other posts in addition to the CCCWrite posts. By using a folder for all the blogs and then also a tag for the specifically CCCWrite posts, I can create two kinds of content streams, both of which are useful, each in their own way.
In the Canvas Feed page, I embedded the stream of just the CCCWrite posts, and you can also view that stream here:
CCCWrite Posts only: full view.
Those are the posts that people are going to be writing for the Reflective Writing experience. My guess is that many participants will be focusing on those posts exclusively as we read and comment on each other's writing.
But it is also possible that people will want to get to know each other beyond those posts, and visiting people's other blog posts (if they have other blog posts) will be a great way to make those connections. That's what we can use the full blog stream for, so I included links in the Canvas Feed page to the complete blog stream of the participants' blogs. You can see that stream here:
That blog stream is actually already full of good stuff, while the CCCWrite post stream is very small right now; that's because the course does not actually start until January 26 — there are just some early birds (like me) who have begun using the #CCCWrite tag in their blogs.
So, I will have more to say about tags and folders and subscribing to feeds in later posts here, but I wanted to provide an explanation for what you see there on the Canvas Feed page for CCCWrite as things get going!
And... one more thing:
Folders and Tags in my class network. For another example of how folders and tags work, 'll also quickly explain how the folders-and-tags distinction is helpful in managing a student blog network.
Folders: I have four folders for my blog networks.
Myth-Folklore student blogs
Indian Epics student blogs
Both classes: blogs
Both classes: comments (yes, there is a separate stream for all the blog comments, which is so helpful; I will say more about that in a post of its own later!)
I use those folder-based streams to create the class-based blog streams in Canvas — Myth and India — and the combined classes blog stream at the class directory. (Click and look: the blogs are up and running for Spring 2018!)
Tags: I have about 20 different tags for my classes, and they are assignment-specific. They are assigned automatically by Inoreader based on the keywords I ask the students to use; I can also adjust those if students don't use the keywords... but it's a big help to have almost all of the tags assigned automatically. Having assignment-specific tags lets me share with the students all the posts for a specific assignment, like here:
It's also a big help for me when I want to see how students are doing with a particular assignment.
... I'm really getting ahead of myself here, though, so I will backtrack and write something next time about subscribing to content in Inoreader. Still, I hope this post can be useful as a way to answer Michelle's questions and to provide some nitty-gritty detail for people who might be visiting the Feed page in our Canvas course in the coming week. :-)