November 2, 2014

A New Homepage... and it's ALIVE!!!

So, I did something HUGE today that I have needed to do for a long time, and the secret sauce of Inoreader RSS is what finally helped me figure out what I want to do: I changed the content at my webpage, which is more or less my "landing page" on the Internet. But... true confession: I have not done anything but tinker with it over the past 10 years; I rarely even looked at the page and the list of links and project descriptions it contained was badly out of date (see the old homepage here).

So, I have changed it. And it is ALIVE. That was really my goal here, to take a page that was totally static and bring it to life with the power of RSS. The problem was, though, that until this weekend, RSS was not enough to really capture my life online. Sure, I could get RSS for my blogs, but my life online is much more than my blogs. The blogs are important, yes, but the social networking at Google+ and also at Twitter is the glue that holds every day together, making every day such a great learning experience. If I want to show the curriculum vitae, the racecourse of my life (curriculum is from Latin currere, to run), then I need feeds from those different services, combined.

Well, thanks to Inoreader, I now have RSS for my Twitter feeds and for my Google+ feed (Twitter integration happened about two weeks ago, and Google+ just a few days ago), plus I discovered much to my own surprise that there is RSS for Pinterest Boards too. So, what my homepage now shows is the combined RSS clipping feed for all that online activity, plus a column of static links to my active projects. I'm especially happy that it is displaying the images too; images are a big part of what I share online, and I am also a believer in the power of images to enhance the meaning of text and make it more memorable:

The Inoreader RSS clippings feed is there in the left-hand frame, and it displays 10 items at a time, with a link at the bottom of the frame to pull the next 10 items, and so on and so on.

Here are the feeds that it pulls from:

Google+. This is my main hangout online; when I find good things to read/reference online, I post them here, and I also reshare a lot from my G+ friends.

Twitter: OnlineCrsLady. I sometimes post here, but mostly I retweet, especially items related to the University of Oklahoma (where I teach).

Twitter: OnlineMythIndia. I both tweet and retweet here, sharing items about books, language, reading, writing, and all kinds of intriguing art images.

Pinterest: I use Pinterest Boards in conjunction with my classes, pinning student Storybook stories to the boards, and sometimes also pinning websites that could be useful as class resources.

Blogs: My active blogs are the Class Announcements (daily), Bestiaria Latina (every other day), OU Digital Tools (a couple of times a week), Anatomy of an Online Course (once a week, more if I can find time).

Next step: Diigo. Diigo has some powerful RSS features too and now I have such an incentive to start using those too!

I'll have more to say about all this in a follow-up post, but I just wanted to share this much for now, with a BIG THANK YOU to the guys at Inoreader who are building a tool that really is like magic for me. I am enjoying it so much!


  1. This is really interesting. And motivating. I am going to try this with my own long-running and fairly static web site devoted to a bridge building contest for physics students.

  2. Thanks, Peter! I have nothing but good things to say about Inoreader. They are SO GREAT. I am brainstorming right now some ways I can use their software to make my classes more connected and productive next semester; I only discovered Inoreader right as fall semester started this year, but for spring, I can do advance planning. This homepage was just an experiment to test out the new features, and I am so happy with how it went!

  3. Laura, this is great... but it's a bit sad that this is inoreader-centric. Of course Ino is great, but I use another feed reader and I wish it was easy to add your feed in there too.

  4. Hi Julien, I know what you mean: I had really given up on finding a feed reader that was truly powerful. I started out using Inoreader just for my classes because I needed its rules/tags to keep up with my students' blogs. But then I enjoyed using it so much that I migrated all my Feedly stuff and started using just Inoreader. THEN they added the Twitter integration, and now the Google+ integration, so I feel lucky that I had already switched over to take advantage of all that too. And I never really liked Feedly all that much; I found Inoreader because Feedly would not work for my classes, and I put out a plea for help at Google+, saying that I was looking for something that had Google Reader's bundle feature. Inoreader has that... and all this other great stuff too. :-)

  5. this is fantastic and I am jealous!

  6. Thanks, Susan! I am having way too much fun with this!!! :-)


If the comment form misbehaves, you can also find me at Twitter: @OnlineCrsLady. (Sometimes convos are faster and easier there in fact.)