Save this page to your DEL.ICIO.US account and TAG it there
ESL_Home: CALL resources main page | Site Index
About: Vance | Vance's papers and presentations | Blog: AdVANCEducation

How to use RSS

Many educators these days are expressing an interest in, and bemoaning ignorance of, using RSS. This page is an attempt at a straightforward explanation, plus a compilation of resources for further information - Vance

Navigation: How to get started | How educators can use RSS | Where to learn more about RSS

Navigate this page
How to get started

  1. Start an account at
  2. Visit a site you would like to track, such as the postings on the Webheads list
  3. Return to your Bloglines, your account, and click on the FEEDS tab In Feeds, click on ADD In the field, paste the /rss address. You could also past a blog URL here and bloglines will find its feed.
  4. If bloglines turns up a legal feed it will ask you where you want to place that feed. It offers Top Level but here you can choose a folder (in your hierarchy in the left frame) or create one. You can accept the other default displays, etc.
  5. Last step, scroll down and click SUBSCRIBE

Now Bloglines will go out and retrieve posting at your subscribed feeds and display them in your hierarchy of folders. When there is something there you haven't read yet, it appears in bold. If you want to read something, you click on it, and you are taken to the ORIGINAL location, so you can not only read, but interact in sitio if you want.

If you want to make subscribing to feeds even easier (one click) you can install a Sub with Bloglines button on your toolbar. Visit for more information.

Navigate this page
Ok, it works, how do I USE it?

In a properly configured learning network knowledge is distributed and accessible throughout the network and not necessarily in one place. In fact to put it all in one place, or expect it to be in one place, is a backward step as Stephen Downes keeps repeating. In a well configured distributed learning network, you choose where to harvest your information, and through the conversations in those networks, derive knowledge (that being information in its rendered form) through intelligent percolation of this information.

You can use Bloglines to clear out your email inbox. You can follow postings in all your favorite blogs and wikis and even of numerous YahooGroups in Bloglines (or any feed reader) rather than have them flood your inbox IF the moderators have set the mail to be accessible publicly.

You would do this if you are just getting too much mail. To clear up one misconception (that this would open your list to spam) your list can still be moderated for membership. This Webheads list has been set up this way for ages. We have no spam.

This can be really useful in a writing class. Have your class write in blogs. You (and your students if you or they wish) can subscribe to all the blogs in your bloglines. When I do this I create a folder for them of course. Now I can see in bloglines when my students have posted to their blogs because the new posts are in bold. I don't have to go out and rummage through dozens of blogs on the offchance that someone has posted to one.

Hirst, Tony. (2007). We ignore RSS at our peril. OUseful Info.

Here's an interesting post that explains one way this concept might work:
Homework-Casting, posted October 27, 2006 in Quentin D'Souza's Teaching Hacks: There's more:

Navigate this page
Where to learn more about RSS

One very useful feature of blogs is that they are syndicated and shared via RSS streams. To make this work you need the URL of the stream you wish to access and then an aggragator to collect the streams and feed them to you. You can add other peoples streams to yours and see what they're reading. If you tag your blogs and other Web 2.0 Internet artifacts then other people can find them through Web 2.0 tools that locate associated materials through tagging. A bookmark site that lets you share bookmarks in this way is

For comments, suggestions, or further information on this page
contact Vance Stevens, page webmaster.
About Vance | Papers | ESL_Home CALL resources | Index | AdVANCEducation

Page updated: June 30, 2007

Copyright 2007 by Vance Stevens
under Creative Commons License:

January 11, 2007

Mirrors: This page is available at: