If you want to embed the RSS feed for a website, blog, or news source, you can use the fantastic Feed2JS tool published by Alan Levine. It can be used to create an embed code for any RSS feed, which can then be used within your D2L course (or any other web page, really). We host an instance of Feed2JS on campus, so that we can provide it via secure HTTPS in order to embed it in other secure web pages such as D2L.

This can be used to embed the latest posts on a blog (say, from the handy UCalgaryBlogs.ca service, or any other blog host) in a widget or page for your D2L course. For this howto, I’ll be embedding the RSS feed for the Teaching and Learning Connections blog which is published by the EDU.

To embed the feed:

Create the Feed2JS embed code

Go to https://itsotlcweb01.ucalgary.ca/feed2js and click “Get Started”. In the first text field (URL), enter the address for the RSS feed (not the web page – typically, append the blog address with /feed or look for a link that says “RSS” on the blog. For the Teaching and Learning Connections blog, the feed is at:

http://connections.ucalgaryblogs.ca/feed

Then, answer the questions about how you want the embedded feed to behave. For this example, I configured the feed like this:

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Test the feed by clicking “Preview Feed” – which will open a new window to show what the embedded RSS feed will look like. When you’re happy with the basic configuration, click “Generate Javascript”, and the embed code will be created for you. Copy that, and store it someplace handy (I paste it into a text file in BBEdit, but any plain-text editor will work – be careful of Word, though, as it does funky things to quotes and apostrophes)

Here’s the generated javascript:

<script language="JavaScript" src="https://itsotlcweb01.ucalgary.ca/feed2js/feed2js.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fconnections.ucalgaryblogs.ca%2Ffeed&chan=title&au=y&date=y&targ=y&utf=y" charset="UTF-8" type="text/javascript"></script>

<noscript> <a href="https://itsotlcweb01.ucalgary.ca/feed2js/feed2js.php?src=https%3A%2F%2Fconnections.ucalgaryblogs.ca%2Ffeed&chan=title&au=y&date=y&targ=y&utf=y&html=y">View RSS feed</a> </noscript>

Here’s the embedded feed (which should update automatically):

Add it to your D2L course

The feed can be embedded in a page in the content area, in a news item, in a widget, or anyplace that lets you edit the content in your course. For this example, we’ll set it up in a widget.

First, you need to create a copy of the homepage used by your course. Note that once you do this, you’ll be using your own private copy of the homepage layout, so any changes made at the faculty level will no longer be automatically used in your course. For this example, I’ll copy the Science Course Homepage:

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Give the copy a name if you’d like, so you know it’s yours. Then, click on Edit Course > Homepages > Widgets:

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Edit the content of your new custom widget, and click the </> button at the bottom right corner:

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Paste the Feed2JS embed code into the text editor window that pops up:

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Then, click “Save” to close the text editor window. Click “Save and Close” for the new custom widget. It’s now available to add to your custom course homepage. Select your homepage by clicking on Edit Course > Homepages and clicking on the new homepage you created. This will show you a wireframe of the homepage layout. Click “Add Widgets” in the area you want to add the RSS widget (I’ll add it to the right column, beneath “Updates”):

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A dialog will be displayed, listing any widgets that are available to you. Click on the “Custom Widget” tab, and select your new widget (I called mine RSS):

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The widget will now be displayed in the homepage wireframe layout:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.33.17 AM

Click “Save and Close”, then be sure your custom homepage is set to be active in your course (the dropdown menu at the top of the Homepages page – click “Apply” after selecting your custom course homepage). Then, click on “Course Home”, and your RSS feed should be displayed as a widget on the course homepage:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.33.46 AM