Saturday, April 30, 2016

Live Content in Canvas: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Diigo, more

So, after a bumpy start (Canvas rejects Twitter widgets), I finally got a good set of dynamic content pages set up in my practice Canvas course. I made it public, so this link will take you there: Growth Mindset Playground. I found a hack to make the Twitter work after all (weird, but functional), plus it's easy to do YouTube, Flickr, Diigo, Blogger, and (my personal favorite!) Inoreader.

I don't really have any interest in using Canvas for a "course," and I don't have any interest in creating content in there, but these live content pages are different. Instead of creating content inside Canvas (I far prefer other publishing platforms), I am creating and curating content in real spaces on the Internet, and that content is then automatically displayed in Canvas. I don't have to do anything: it's automatic!

So, when I use Twitter, the tweets show up in Canvas. When I add a new video to the YouTube playlist, the playlist is updated. When I add new images to the Flickr album, they show up in Canvas. When I bookmark with Diigo, it's in Canvas. New Blogger blog post? It's in Canvas. New RSS items? Inoreader will display them in Canvas, along with other social network content, including Google+ and Facebook.

Some other formats I tried did not work because Canvas rejects javascript. That is frustrating (one of the main reasons I like Blogger is that it is very javascript-friendly), but I'm still very pleased with the live content sources that do work! And, of course, I am very happy that I can make the course pages public so that everybody can see how it works and decide what might be useful for their own Canvas courses.

Why live content?

To me, live content is something extremely important to include in an online course. Using live pages, you give the students a steady stream of new content to explore. This might be content that the instructor(s) create/curate, or you can have the students also participate in creating and/or curating the content as well. It all depends on the goals you have for your course!

In future posts, I'll have more to say about these specific content sources and also about content creation and curation. For now, though, I am really happy that I was able to get all this live content up and running. Even better: I am so glad to be able to share the pages with everybody... that was never possible in D2L!

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