As promised this post is to explain how to follow a set of blogs in your Google Reader. This is a handy technique when following a MOOC or when following a class you are teaching. It works via RSS. Blogs and many other URLs on the Internet (our Yahoo Groups messages for example) are set up to generate RSS code. When you subscribe to a blog or other RSS-enabled site online, you can tell your feed reader to go to its URL, read the code, and display the contents (or play any mp3 found there) in the FEED READER you are using.
To give the more familiar example, if you ask your class to create blogs and assign your students to post in them or just want to see when they update them, you don’t have to visit each blog individually. You can just add them to your feed reader, and group them in a folder so you can open a class set to see them at once, or hide them to avoid clutter. When you open the folder, you will see all the blogs listed,but the ones who have added content that you haven’t seen will appear in bold. So you can just click on the listings in bold to see what the latest content is (no need to open each blog one by one).
All you need is a Google Account (if you have one of those then you must already have a browser and an Internet connection :-). Find READER in the Google menus or go directly to http://reader.google.com
You also need a list of blogs. For our EVO class they are listed here:
Get the process started by adding one to your feed reader. I’ll start with this one:
The trick is to add a subscription. This means, tell READER to track the FEED of this blog or podcast.
Once subscribed, you can create a folder where you can then direct the subscriptions you wish to add to that group.
Here’s how to subscribe to an RSS feed in Google Reader.
Now we need to create a folder for the blog just added (or place it in an existing folder)
Give the folder a name
And the blog you just subscribed to is added to your reader in that folder. You can see there is unread content there.
If you click on the item in bold you can view all the unread content. If you want to set it to alert you to let you know when new content is added, then mark all the items as “read” already.
To add another blog or feed, this time store it in the folder you just created. This screencast shows how:
By using this technique you can easily follow a large number of blogs at once, and by clicking on the bold links, see at a glance the nature of the content added to that blog. You can read the new material in Google Reader, or follow its link to the original post, where you can leave a comment if you wish.