FeedWordPress is the plugin that allows us to create our “mother blogs.” Consider it an example of the “you are what you eat” concept. The “mother blog” is composed of the consumed feeds. FeedWordPress is our spoon. The mother takes all the student posts from their personal sites and unites them in one place. It helps answer questions like -
- How can students work in their own sites and use them for multiple courses but still provide the class/cohort advantages of a central/standardized community hub?
- How can I allow personalization but not go crazy going to 50 different student sites with different layouts?
- Are there interesting ways I might reconsider the work students do if I can aggregate that work, can provide different lenses of focus, can keep it beyond the narrow confines of a course, and have other students use it in interesting ways?
A Brief Overview of the Mechanics
- The child (source) blog needs to be public for this to work. If a child blog is set to Visible only to registered users of this network, Visible only to registered users of this site, or Visible only to administrators of this site then the feed won’t work. Here is how you change that.
- Add /feed/ to the URLs you’re adding as children in the FeedWordPress panel. This will make your life easier.
- You can use a Gravity Forms form or Google Form to gather the source URLs from students.
- Want to add a list of authors and the number of posts in the sidebar? There’s a widget for that (and a video tutorial).
- This works with posts. Pages don’t syndicate normally. That matters when you consider what you’re asking students to do.
Much More In-Depth FeedWordPress Discussions (from Alan Levine)
- Basic Concepts of Syndication – and what to think about even before you touch that WordPress thing
- Installing and Setting up Feed WordPress – Minimal settings, and planning the way content is sliced, diced, and recombined
- Feeding the Machine – How to get RSS feeds into the aggregator without losing a finger
- Some Feed Magic – Optional ways to improve feeds from sites such as flickr, twitter, etc, creating a twitter archive, RSS Feed TLC
- A Few More Tricks – leveraging categories, adding attribution, setting featured images