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For education archives RSS they can be used to very effectively syndicate news about research, learning modules (example of free courses offered by 800 Hispanic universities in Universia), jobs, new publications, scientific works, etc. In general, everything that by its nature could be dynamic for a particular audience. As informational resources, RSS files are the ideal files to create a new generation of portals for students, teachers, managers ... making it easier for them to access developments in their particular areas of interest.

The syndication of RSS content: The new application that will sweep in Education
(excerpted from the article: RSS: The Next Killer App For Education by Mary Harrsch).

Strengths of RSS:

  • Content syndication gives users the ability to communicate information to anyone who is interested in a certain topic, with an emphasis on dynamic content, efficient delivery and customized distribution. Compared to personal pages, it represents a crucial advantage.
  • A simple review of the potential of RSS:
    • The news of your field of interest delivered to the desktop of your computer.
    • Alert about updates of the websites of interest without previously visiting them.
    • Communicator of the information that an educator wants to share with the rest.
  • A very simple implementation of the XML code that feeds the RSS made up of a simple line of code to syndicate any existing html content.
  • Users can easily download readers to receive the news and updates they want to subscribe to without handling complicated mailing lists ...
  • Remarkably simple for non-experts. Weblog services that generate RSS automatically eliminate any need to learn anything new.
  • Other services, such as Moveable Type, can be installed free of charge in the case of non-profit organizations.
  • The RSS world is constantly expanding.

RSS applications for educators:

  • Creation of specific online communities on scientific, teaching, research specialties etc ... the advantage of RSS for this type of communities over other alternatives is the possibility of subscribing to any similar teaching experience and exchanging materials, advances, through the news subscription and publication of results that take advantage of a wide collection of teaching materials on the web. Generally, we all have unique experiences or find solutions that can benefit others. There is no rule that only textbook publishers can create school supplies or suggest how to use them.
  • Subscribe to news and updates from your field of expertise without daily browsing through the hundreds of sites that produce them. You can save time in preparing your class if you subscribe to those specialized media that provide you with the necessary information of any kind for it.
  • Improve connectivity between researchers who do not know each other and take advantage of the specialized knowledge of third parties with their consent.

    RSS syndication allows everyone to share comments, news headlines, links to recent articles, descriptions, and images. This information is available not only to other web content providers, but also to users of a variety of devices such as PDAs, mobile phones, email alerts, voice search ... Such wide dissemination is possible because XML, instead being an html-like language, it is a database tool.

Realize the Potential Benefits of Syndication

As mentioned, RSS offers us a new avenue through which we can quickly identify really valuable information within the huge wave of information and data that characterizes the Internet today. News related to our specialty, job offers, recognitions, new funds for research, etc. Webmasters can review and select news for news portals tailored to the interests of their users, to help them keep up to date with new developments and discoveries within their field of expertise. Stephen Downes (2003) recently defined an RSS format that allows syndication of teaching objects. This format (RSS-LOM) allows the distribution of teaching objects to courses without having to depend on the libraries of teaching resources offered by teaching management systems. It will also allow authors to distribute their new teaching objects without the intermediation of an editorial.

To help develop the benefits of syndication, if I see a site whose news interests me but does not have an XML link, I send an email to the webmaster of the site in question, with information on RSS, links to some resources basics, an explanation on how I would like to apply a news feed to your site, and a link to a news portal from one of my students.

Dave Winer, creator of the My UserLand feed system and one of the major contributors to the RSS specification, cites his virtual newspaper as an example of what syndicated content they can offer. According to Winer, the advantages of RSS can be summarized in three words: Selection, Adaptation and Communication.

The implications of content syndication for the academic community are very important, especially from the point of view of expanding the scope of self-published content. RSS technology manages to create a bridge between isolated web content and consumers interested in the information they offer. By reaching a global audience, syndication transforms the "lonely voice" of a website into an international dialogue with other people interested in the same topic.

This article was originally published in a Technology Source as: Mary Harrsch "RSS: The Next Killer App For Education." The Technology Source, July / August 2003.

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