Displaying RSS Feeds in WebCT

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Above is a screenshot of three live RSS feeds displayed within a WebCT course in Geology — one of LOs, one of industry white papers, and a third of general science news from New Scientist.

It was assembled by Michelle Lamberson and myself in about an hour (and would have been much quicker had we the faintest notion of what we were doing), and it demonstrates just how easily RSS allows dynamic content to be imported and rendered. It’s safe to say that when it comes to code that both of us are more hacks than hackers.

The script required was built using Adam Curry’s RSS Box Viewer, which was found via a very handy RSS workshop from the Utah State Library Division. (Curry’s parser was just the first one we tried, many more can be found here.)

As Michelle said to me this morning, assembling and packaging these feeds could be an invaluable service that librarians or support staff could provide to developers.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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6 Responses to Displaying RSS Feeds in WebCT

  1. Michelle Lamberson says:

    To link this into my WebCT course, I simply created a table in the Upper Text Block of an Organizer Page, and cut and pasted the code into the cells. If you are not a design conscious freak (OK, Guilty!) it would be really easy. Simply add each of the feeds into a Text Block on the Organizer Page.

    Just think – a librarian could create an RSS feed for new collections relevant to specfic courses….

    If you are teaching a course on the Olympics, you could set up a query to pull News stories in on the Olympics…
    Students could link feeds from their their blogs into the Student Presentation area…

    This is SO COOL!!!

  2. Cyprien Lomas says:


    I use Michelle’s instructions to take my ‘Course News’ page (at http://www.sitegeist.com/biol112)(managed in Radio Userland) and make it available to those students that were looking for updated news in WebCT. This was a very easy solution, and because Radio Userland supports in browser editing, it makes updating content in WebCT a ‘one click’ process!

    I guess this is the reason that everyone should have a blog (or at least something that generates RSS).

    The next step is to get WebCT to generate RSS channels.

    Keep up the good work!


  3. Andy says:

    Of Course!

    I was just in a demonstration for a Portal and the presenter mentioned the ability to add RSS feeds as channels and my mind started racing. I wish I’d been so clever to figure this out. We can use this in WebCT right now even without a portal. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Paul Leman says:

    What code do I “just paste” into my text block please?

  5. Mo Hencmann says:

    How do I get more information?

  6. Cyprien Lomas says:

    I just posted a ‘how to’ at

    feedback greatly appreciated!


Comments are closed.